“We make videos for artists that inspire us.”
That simple credo comes from the High5Collective. If you don’t know their name yet, you soon will. While music video directors CANADA use the traditional, artist-commissioned model, the High5Collective (or H5C) is trying something different: producing high-quality – but unofficial – videos on spec. Coupled with a low-information mystique and a reliance on social media like Tumblr, H5C is firmly in touch with the zeitgeist.
H5C appeared out of nowhere about a month ago, with a video for The Weeknd’s “The Morning.” Like the song, the clip is a lurid tribute to debauchery, complete with half-dressed club rats and expansive shots of the desert. Straying from form, however, is the video’s dip into darkness: a metaphorical take on the psychic damage that the club lifestyle entails.
The collective has also tackled songs by the Internet driven, crew-of-the-moment, Odd Future. H5C’s video for Frank Ocean’s “We All Believe” continues the visual feel of “The Morning,” even if there isn’t as strong a thread from song to video. Like a better version of Rihanna’s “Man Down,” the clip is a tale of assault, revenge, and murder. Again, H5C opts for a sinister narrative and an unsettling conclusion.
Their recently released video for Tyler, the Creator’s “Transylvania” attempts to capture the spirit of the earliest Odd Future clips (notably “EARL“). “Transylvania,” one of the hardest songs on Goblin, is the perfect soundtrack for some wolf gang-esque mayhem: skateboarding, drug-use, underage drinking, violence, theft, and eventually (and predictably), date rape. Like KIDS, it’s shocking because of its verisimilitude.
Rounding out the collective’s output is a clip for Sander Kleinenberg’s electrohouse anthem “T.I.O.N.” The video is straight-forward but effective: one of those mythic parties of youth, with enough oddly colored drinks and sexual experimentation to go around. Also, body paint.
Will the High5Collective be able to convert unofficial videos into official ones? In an age where Kreayshawn gets a $1 million contract after one video goes viral, the right combination of talent and savvy goes a long way. The High5Collective is blessed with both.