Unlicensed pyrotechnicians, unappreciated comedians, unemployed animators. Welcome to the world of ‘Oh Yeah Wow’
Oh Yeah Wow are a Melbourne based rag tag group of animators, film-makers and friends who make astoundingly creative music videos for the likes of Bombay Bicycle Club, Gotye and others. We caught up with them to discuss the way they work, their creative outlook and how they survived spending 3 months outdoors meticulously moving and photographing a crocheted octopus.
Can you briefly describe ‘Oh Yeah Wow’ for us? How did you meet and how long have you been working together as Oh Yeah Wow?
I dont even know where to begin with Oh Yeah Wow… I guess we’re a rag tag collective, with a loose business model, a vague plan and a shit tonne of ambition. We’re really just a friendly bunch of peeps hanging out in an old automotive warehouse making things together… We’ve been doing it for years. Hopefully we’ll be doing it for years to come too.
What’s the Melbourne Scene like for independent filmmakers like yourselves?
Melbourne definitely has a tangible creative pulse, but like the rest of the Australian states, carving careers in film is incredibly tough. We’re a small, disconnected island with a small population that can’t really sustain its own film industry on its own. We just keep producing the best work we possibly can for the budgets we have. That’s why we regularly work 100+ hour weeks for 50 cents an hour all in the hope we’re noticed. That some ‘playa’ out there takes notice of us and the back catalogue of work we’ve meticulously curated and reaches for the cheque book. That’s why Australia consistently punches above its weight… because when you’re noticed, you’re a boxer.
So how did it feel spending 3 months with a crocheted octopus?
You’re always so ‘in the zone’ when animating- and occasionally you’ll glance up to notice there is a tiny crowd observing from a safe distance, thinking “What in Christ’s name are these sad little people doing? Are they soft in the head?” It must seem so foreign to someone just clocking off from the office on their way home, seeing this weird cluster of pale folk underneath a bridge with an octopus and coloured bricks. That’s what I kind of love about it. We’re a crew of beautiful little weirdos.Those weirdos make up Oh Yeah Wow and we’re all best friends.
We’ve worked together for years now and going out to animate is like hanging out with your friends everyday. So 3 months with an octopus, or quadropus as we call him as he only has 4 legs… is really quite enjoyable.
How do you come up with the ideas for your videos?
I think so many people with music videos skip the conceptual stage far too quickly- jumping straight into visual wizardry before they’ve got a solid game plan. Some even just go out with a camera and see what comes of it. We however, lock ourselves in a room with the song on repeat and slave over the concept before we go anywhere near production. Every idea is explored, most are ruthlessly shot down. We weed out the bad and keep the gold. Generally our concepts stem from techniques we’ve been wanting to muck around with, or things we think would make a super fun day of shooting.
What do you like about the medium of music videos?
Freedom. No clients breathing down your neck, no advertising execs wanting more product in shot. With the type of artists we collaborate with, we have (for lack of a better word) control. We’ve proven ourselves time and time again. We go above and beyond the call of duty on every project, so we’re largely left to our devices as I guess we’ve earnt a certain level of trust.
Also, music videos pay you to learn. I never went to film school, but I’ve learnt all about live action film making by fumbling my way through, at someone elses expense.
Do you have an idea for a video before you meet a musician or is it a collaborative process?
Music videos are like mathematical equations that need solving. I always sucked at maths, but animation and music excited the hell out of me. For me, I always look to tailor concepts to songs. Very rarely will I try and make a pre-existing idea fit, as I think the best clips are the ones that align with the track perfectly. Two artforms amalgamating and fusing as one, not clashing.
What’s your favourite project you’ve done so far?
Oh, I think Gotye ‘Easy Way Out’ or Wax Tailor/ Aloe Blacc ‘Time To Go’ would be my favourites. I think I’ll always be pretty proud of those, as we slaved to ensure every aspect was as we wanted.
If you has an unlimited budget to make a movie, what would you do and who with?
There would be a lot of explosives. Wild, potentially dangerous animals in suburban/ residential environments. Excessive drinking. There would be plenty of animation in there as well.
On a more realistic level, what do you see for yourselves in the near future?
We’ve got 3 kid’s series concepts in the pipeline with Nickelodeon at various stages of development and I’m trying to allocate the time to get a first draft of my feature out. In the interim, many more music videos…
Finally, you’re trapped on a desert island and you’re having a dinner party. What do you do to entertain the guests?
I dare say the limited supply of flare guns would be misused…
To find out more about Oh Yeah Wow and see more of their amazing videos check out their website here.