Dancepunks DATAROCK Pick Their Five Favorite Music Videos to Celebrate Their New Album MEDIA CONSUMPTION PYRAMID
Embarking on a rhythmic journey through the digital cosmos with their new album Media Consumption Pyramid, Norwegian electro-rock jammers DATAROCK want answers to the questions of our techno-saturated existence. These dancefloor amp-crankers serve up infectious beats & plunge listeners into a thoughtful meditation on our collective line dance with technology. With the expertise of Steve Dub and an innovative alliance with Norwegian art institute Aldea, DATAROCK leverages A.I., crafting music videos that are more than visual— they’re a contemplation, a dialogue about our media-intertwined lives. DATAROCK’s mastermind and frontman Fredrik Saroea runs down his music video influences and five music videos that inform the DATAROCK aesthetic.
Growing up in the ’80s would probably either leave you with memories of chewing gum, Cherry Coke, neon and happy-go-lucky mainstream pop culture, or – as in our case – with a brain full of the most amazing alternative, counterculture spanning music from intellectual (like Laurie Anderson or The Smiths) and beautiful darkness (like Joy Division or The Cure) to creative re-imaginations like thrash (like early Metallica or Sepultura), skateboarding and all kinds of DIY to hip hop, graffiti and breakdance, or the emerging underground club scene – where innovations in electronic music even gave birth to the wonderful new electro acoustic, guitar driven, beat centric, etheric pop called Manchester rock or Madchester with bands like The Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, The Charlatans, Inspiral Carpets, 808 State and a “Second Summer of Love”. I was just 12 in ’88, but, damn – that stuff blew me away to such a degree that in some ways I’m still partly stuck in that era aesthetically.
But as I’ve always said, DATAROCK’s holy trinity has always been DEVO, Talking Heads & Happy Mondays – and that’s supposedly sums up how we always aspired to be both critical and open minded in the “postmodern” kind of “methodology” of the late ’70s and early ’80s where you don’t stick to the formula, and it’s OK to take inspiration from a huge variety of sources from close and far in time and space.
The same inspiration of course goes for cartoons (like Watchmen or the wonders of Moebius), films (like for instance the trinity of cinéma du look – Diva, Subway and Betty Blue), authors (like Haruki Murakami, Don DeLillo and Paul Auster) and various artists (like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring or Cindy Sherman). Films were, of course, a huge inspiration – in particular wonders by indie directors like Jim Jarmusch, Hal Hartley, David Lynch or Spike Lee – but also skateboard movies (like Ban This produced by Spike Jonze) and all the amazing new music videos aired on for instance MTV’s Alternative Nation and 120 Minutes… which leads us to five videos that “informed our aesthetics and influenced our visuals”.
DEVO -Through Being Cool
Ever since we started DATAROCK, DEVO’s been a major influence, both with their music, their production, their way of working as an all rounded multimedia collective (creating their own artwork, videos, stage outfits and artifacts such as their famous energy domes) and of course their uniformed image – equally far away from both the “True Colors” kind of love-me-for-who-I-am type artists as they were from slightly less humorous characters such as the chameleon David Bowie, Andy Warhols’ buddy Lou Reed, possibly funny guy Klaus Nomi, secretly German style tongue-in-cheek fun crew Kraftwerk, or even image covered profiles such as Alice Cooper’s “kids” in KISS or Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s fashionistas – Sex Pistols. I always thought there was a link to YMO though. DEVO were so good at what they did, but instead of trying to fit in, they turned everything upside down and probably pushed more potential fans away than they attracted with their topics, antics and confusing packaging. But we loved it, and that was the kind of love-it-or-hate-it band we wanted to be; a band for the select nerds in-crowd who got it. I could’ve picked any video pretty much, but this says it all.
Talking Heads – Burning Down The House
With Talking Heads in very much the same situation – both with their music and being hands-on in all aspects of their “artistry”. Again I could’ve chosen among quite a few favorites, but this video pre-dates (yet kinda hints to) David Byrne’s killer film True Stories. It’s also part of the soundtrack of Revenge of the Nerds (released the year after Speaking In Tongues), and as you might know the lyrics of our songs “Computer Camp Love” paraphrase a dialogue between Gilbert, Lewis and Booger (https://youtu.be/qCDDBjdJLjY?si=WglCcRBSfi5xXzR8) – possibly partly thanks to Talking Heads’ contributing to making this a film we saw 50 times minimum.
Happy Mondays – Loose Fit
Every time Happy Mondays were on the front cover of NME you had to get it. These guys weren’t a band. They were a gang, and one of the two front men didn’t even play anything – besides the maracas. I doubt they made any sound as he was dancing about the stage. Yet somehow these guys managed to make music so groovy, I was totally mesmerized. So here’s a guy who sounds like he grew up on Mark E. Smith and The Fall. He clearly cares more about his clothes and hairdo than learning to carry a note, yet he’s the ringleader of the best thing to happen to the European serotonin level since Harvey Ross Ball drew the original smiley. I guess this isn’t their best or most illustrating video – but it gives you an understanding of how they portrayed themselves – and it just happens to be so that the opening guitar riff might’ve been paid tribute to on our new single “Rabbit Hole”.
Beastie Boys – (You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)
When we were kids, this was such a weird video to see. Videos would usually portray artists in a flattering kind of way, but these guys were just moronic, obnoxious teens… obviously taking the piss – as overtly pointed out in the Revisited video from 2011. Sure they were fashionably dressed in NYC “punk” and hip hop attire, but these guys came across as artistic, individualistic, skater boy kind of slackers rather than your average instrument-slinging, attention-seeking pretty boys aspiring to be commercially and financially successful. So kind of like how we perceived young thrash bands – who, like Beastie Boys, didn’t seem to represent politics like punk, new wave and hardcore (although they, in fact, did) – this was a perfect shock to the system for us as innocent, ignorant, kids growing up in a pretty proper and conservative Norway. And perhaps I chose this video because perhaps there’s finally a Beastie Boys tribute as a bonus track on the physical versions of our new album!
Chemical Brothers – Song to the Siren
This isn’t their finest video, but I guess it’s their first example of how a music video can be pure animation not featuring the artist whatsoever – like the case is in all our new videos for Media Consumption Pyramid. It’s also interesting to see and hear how this track (originally from 1992 and released under their original name, The Dust Brothers) to such an extent capture what was to come – both from future Chemical Brothers releases and how electronic music and electro acoustic genres would blend; like how they sampled everything from Dead Can Dance to Coldcut and Meat Beat Manifesto, and use the classic acid house siren in the intro (same as for instance Klaxons revisited in the short lived “new rave” era that DATAROCK somehow was part of). And perhaps most notably, this song was engineered and mixed by the same five -times GRAMMY-winning co-producer Steve Dub who helped us with eight of the tracks on our upcoming album, and it’s mastered by the same legend that mastered Media Consumption Pyramid, Mike Marsh.
Check out DATAROCK’s latest album Media Consumption Pyramid and all their latest videos too! https://www.youtube.com/@DatarockOfficial