If Sumo Cyco's genre-destroying music doesn't steal your attention, then their equally over-stimulating videos probably will. The Canadian alt-metal band fronted by former teen pop star Skye Sweetnam have released some of the most mind-melting music videos in recent memory, and amazingly, they've all been made DIY as hell.
Sweetnam directs or co-directs all of her group's bizarrely tantalizing visuals, including the ones for recent singles "Bystander" and "No Surrender," which will appear on their upcoming album, Initiation. Since Sweetnam comes from the world of pop — where creative visuals and eye-catching videos are absolutely essential to maintaining an engaged fan base — but is also firmly rooted in the punk/metal universe, the 32-year-old has an acute appreciation for stuff that looks great despite not having a titanic budget.
"Making music videos has been a passion of mine since I was kid," Sweetnam tells us. "No matter the budget, I believe you're crazy in this day and age to not embrace visuals to help your music get out there. With a smart concept, using your resources and creativity, anything is possible."
Her video for "Bystander" is a testament to just how ambitious a band can be without breaking the bank. It features tons of colorful outfits, kooky props, psychedelic post-production edits, and a scene where Sweetnam is freefalling through pink skies while flames rise up around her. "'Bystander' was a video we made in hopes of challenging myself with composing some CGI elements," she says. "We filmed most of it in our converted church home studio, using miniatures, green screen and practical sets."
In the spirit of creative independence, and to celebrate the May 7th release of Initiation via Napalm Records, we asked Sweetnam to share six of her favorite DIY music videos. As one would expect given her band's diverse amalgamation of sounds, her choices spanned metal, punk, alt-rap and more, the common ground being that they were all made with a DIY ethos.
OK, this is probably one of the most stunning videos ever, let alone a sick DIY video. It's almost too good. But the musical artist Giovanni Bucci shows the making of a step-by-step process of how they tackled this beast. He's the creative director and cinematographer along with his collaborator Paola, and because he attacks the video with as much vigor as the music, I gotta give it up. Totally inspiring.
Not only did Heidi [Shepherd, Butcher Babies vocalist] produce this video, but her family helped put the video together. Heidi has quite a big family and I think it's awesome that the production and many of the extras were all Shepherds, filmed at Shepherd Grip Lighting studio.
Lauren Tate is a great example of a 360 degree artist. She makes videos for all her singles in true DIY style. Many of the videos are made in her bedroom and I love her colorful punk-rock vibes.
Tim Armstrong is a true DIY king. This video was a blast to film. It was filmed inside the Machete Merch warehouse with Tim's friend Rachel filming us. Hanging with Tim and the Hellcat crew was a huge influence on me on how to keep the DIY punk attitude alive.
The Nova Twins' credits on this video include co-direction, producers, art direction, set design, wardrobe, hair and make-up. If that isn't true DIY spirit then I don't know what is.
The OBGMs are an awesome local punk band. This video was directed, edited and produced by frontman Densil McFarlane. Really proves that you can do a music video with a low budget.