Playlist: Paul La Calandra
The resurgence in promos makes Uppercut editor Paul La Calandra hopeful for humanity and the future of music... but he'd still give it all up for an off-grid existence in the woods.
What’s the best music video you’ve seen recently and why?
Well, I'm going to give a few here - and I'm also going to say that I'm so glad that the medium isn't dead anymore and is back better than ever!
Buzzy Lee Coolhand: apparently Buzzy Lee is the daughter of Steven Spielberg, which makes one want to hate her. However, when you attach yourself to someone this intelligent, it's hard to hate them. Nicolas Jaar is the producer, who is one of my favorite producers in the game these days. I also love his music, but this is about this particular video. It's incredible! It's everything I love in filmmaking. It's hauntingly beautiful, moody, and edgy. Lynch-ian and mysterious. Beautifully composed shots, incredible locations, and unpretentious. It's why music videos are still relevant to people who appreciate the art. It's literally the images I have in my head when I hear this track. Some sweet little edits as well.
Also, giving love to TR/ST Destroyer, a real obscure/esoteric one. But I have to call it out for the sheer mood it creates. Talk about a simple idea executed brilliantly. Maybe because the track is so engaging and hypnotic, but this just works for me. It's really that simple sometimes.
And I can't leave out my boy Porches; he gives me hope for the current state and future of music and just young people in general. He's progressively cool. Like timelessly cool. This video works so well because of the track. I think when you juxtapose sound and visuals like this it works. Gritty filmmaking like something you just shot one afternoon with a friend, but it's so much more than that to me. It's so beautiful. A lot of my personality I feel is represented in it.
What’s the first music video you remember being impressed by?
It has got to be A-ha Take On Me, for obvious reasons. I mean c'mon! This is everything to me. This was the era of the music video and its genius. It had a huge influence on my psyche, especially as a kid because this is all you feel like doing, escaping and wanting things you can't have. And wanting to be an adult.
And Flock Of Seagulls I Ran, because it's my favourite song of all time. These were the first cool guys I ever saw! It opened my world.
And what’s your all-time favourite music video?
It has to be The Blaze Territory. If this doesn't give you hope for humanity and leave you're dead inside, then I don’t know what would. What incredible filmmaking! Also, they directed it. I mean, that's amazing. These guys are truly artists, in my opinion. This is the kind of filmmaking I live for. This shit makes me feel like I'm not alone in the world. Nothing is better. When I first saw this, I cried, and watched it a hundred times over. Truly mesmerizing, inspiring, and humbling. It's a masterpiece.
What other directors/artists do you look to for inspiration?
The Blaze (for aforementioned reasons); Porches; Alex Cameron (the coolest and weirdest cat making some seriously genius jams that even I don't understand sometimes) and Toro Y Moi (musically and for their fashion sense).
What are you listening to at the moment?
The Blaze, Porches, Wild Nothing, George Fitzgerald, Sports Coach, Shame, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, Amen Dunes, Gus Dapperton, The War On Drugs, Future Trends, Future Islands, Kevin Morby, Black Marble.
What’s your favourite bit of tech, whether for professional or personal use?
That would have to be the Sling TV app. Now I can finally watch live soccer without paying through the teeth for cable. I'm not a tech nerd.
What artist(s) would you most like to work with and why?
I think it'd have to be the people I mentioned who inspire me. For that reason alone. I mean, I find these people so intriguing and would love to collaborate and work on their next music video, short film, whatever. I'm down.
How do you feel the music video industry has changed since you started in it?
When I started my professional career as an editor, the music video wasn't very prevalent in general, let alone among the artists I listened to. Now, you can't be “someone” without having one, which is great to me because I love this medium. In particular, I love where the artists I'm interested in and listen to have taken the art form. The whole throwback aesthetic just like the era that made me love music and music videos in general, because I love the 80s man! It's in full force again, but with better production value. Which is a bonus.
Music videos have had a resurgence as of late; where do you see the industry being in five years’ time?
They certainly have. I think we'll be in a very similar spot in five years. The lines are definitely blending more though. Branded content, ads, shorts films, music videos. Maybe they all become one? It's already starting to happen. Pretty soon, we'll be subscribing to a music video service, and artists will put out 10 films for each track of a new record, like they do for a season of television. That'd be pretty sweet, but would probably water down content. But, just like it's done with TV, they'll always be some gems, and more gems. It's an odds thing.
Tell us one thing about yourself that most people won’t know…
That I'd give up all of this. All of this pleasure I get from technology and modern filmmaking and everything we've been talking about, the collaborating with artists, etc… I would give that up to live totally off the grid in a cabin somewhere super-cold, dark and remote, because sometimes I feel super-isolated from society anyway, and that would be a fitting end to it all.