Behold the corpse of radio

By Garth Paulson

Video killed the radio star. Immortalized in our collective conscience as not only a catchy Buggles song, but also as the answer to one of the most widely known pieces of trivia today. The irony was thick when MTV gave birth to itself with the Buggles’ version of “Video Killed the Radio Star”. Who knew how prophetic that song would be. Today, music is more visual than ever, an artist’s look considered more important than their talent–take a brief glimpse at MuchMusic. If video has killed the radio star, what then has it done to those who aren’t yet, or likely ever will be, radio stars? Has video killed the indie star?

Carl Ayling, a local music video producer whose work will be showcased in the upcoming Indie Music Video Festival at Broken City, doesn’t think so. “We’re an isolated community, right?” Ayling asks, “We’re in the middle of nowhere. Not everyone can go on tour, a video is almost like a tour for some bands.”

This kind of attitude is one shared by those involved with the festival. The IMVF is a showcase of some of the biggest, best and most bizarre music videos you’ve never seen and the songs accompaning them. This isn’t a top thirty countdown of choreographed dance moves you lip synch to with aging VJs. The IMVF is something entirely foreign to the MuchMusics and MTVs of the world.

“It’s a package they curate,” explains Ayling. “They put a group of things together and send it from city to city, so it’s not the artist trying to hit every city on their own. It’s another place for your video to land once it goes through all the mainstream crap. It looks better to funders that you have another place where it’s going to go. They just want to see that if they give you money to do something it’s going to have a life and it’s going to do something for them and the artists.”

Ayling’s contribution to the festival is a memorable interpretation of Calgary band Falconhawk’s “Olympia.” Getting the project started was easy for Ayling, he and Falconhawk leader Kara Keith happen to be roommates. Financing the project himself Ayling submitted the finished product to the IMVF which promptly picked it up as one of its touring videos.

“It’s sixteen one offs that all adhere to one timeline,” he says. “There are no edits in each screen and when you fit them together they all work collaboratively.”

With the success of “Olympia” Ayling turns his attention to other projects. Eventually, he hopes producing music videos leads to producing feature length films. For now, he is content at helping out his friend in the local music scene get their music out in a unique way.

“I’d really like to do a full CG video for the Dudes somehow, I have some ideas but I don’t really want to say what it will actually end up being except a really minimal, funny rock video,” he hints. “I’m doing one for Chad [Van Gaalen] that’s kind of a multi-screen metaphorical landscape for the song [“Echo Train” from Infiniheart].

It hardly seems as if video has killed the indie star, in fact it appears to have the capacity to do exactly the opposite and the IMVF is a perfect example of that. The music video medium is a potential untapped goldmine for cult artists to explore, allowing for the chance to not only get their music out to more people, but also to work with other cutting edge peers.

“It’s marketing,” Ayling states. “Marketing is pretty important. If that’s where the audience is then that’s where you’ve got to go.”