Video mash ups are all over Youtube. Be it ‘Cassetteboy Vs The Bloody Apprentice’ or one of the many tracks created using Songify, like ‘Winning’ a song by Charlie Sheen they all help our lunch breaks / kettle boiling / tube journeys go quicker.
But there’s a heap of time, skill and patience that goes into these videos. The author has to successfully write a catchy song or find a great piece of dialogue, find and edit all the video, and consider the copyright of the videos they are using.
If you haven’t yet seen a video by Swede Mason, you must live on planet Targ. As one of the wonderful breakthrough talents of the mash up world, I thought I’d get in touch with Swede and ask him a few questions.
Firstly, thanks very much for taking the time to be part of my blog.
I guess the first question people may ask when listening to your work is how much time do you put into making one of your tracks? Does it take hours of television watching to find those perfect audio clips?
It takes time to gather the samples, but its an ongoing thing, and ive been collecting them for over ten years. if im watching telly or a film or whatever, I’m always nicking bits and pieces that I think might be interesting to mess with. Putting them together into a track takes time, depending on how ambitious the composition is. Get in the back of the van took 6 hours, whereas magpie music took 6 months.
How do you go about structuring and writing a track?
I usually start with a sample that I think is a hook, and then try to find other samples that fit if it needs to be taken further. The samples inspire the concepts behind the tunes.
It’s quite rare to find a great musician, writer and video editor all in one. Did you start out as a musician or a video editor?
Thanks! It’s just perseverance. If you spend ten years doing something you are gonna get better. I used play in bands but always took a back seat on the writing. When I started making my own stuff I could indulge in some ridiculous ideas which would never have worked in a band. I cant sing, so sampling was a way of getting a lead into the music. I was influenced by White Zombie initially, and Chris Morris
Your work seems to be going from strength to strength, are you now scouting out new ideas for tracks?
Got a few things on the boil yep.
When you watch TV promos, adverts or online videos in a mashup style, do you ever think, ‘I could have done that better’?
Kind of. I dont think I could do it better though. There are so many restrictions when you do commissions, promos and that kind of thing. You’re selling something after all. It’s not easy to make something good when you are on the leash.
Have you ever thought about exploring other avenues with your work like editing audio live or teaching your skills to others?
I’m gonna try and sort out a live A/V set for next year. If anyone wants lessons at swede’s school of mash get in touch with Dental Records.
How did you go about releasing Masterchef Synesthesia on iTunes?
The guys at Dental Records had to strike a deal with the production company that owns the clips. They liked the tune and wanted to make some easy money. Once they’d reached an agreement it as just a case of getting onto online platforms, and starting a campaign online to try and get it in the charts for a laugh.
Lastly, what do you love most about creating your videos?
Finding a great sample. Keeping an open mind about what can be used as music and taking a ridiculous idea through to completion is a buzz.
Masterchef Synesthesia reached number 37 on the iTunes chart. It is still available from iTunes for 79p
Thanks for reading, and see you next time. If you liked this blog, please subscribe :0)
Claire Batchelor, Composer for Television, Film, New Media, Theatre and Live