Chvrches ‘Bury It’ Music Video – An Interview with Mighty Nice
In 2015 Scottish synthpop band Chvrches released their second album Every Open Eye. Bury It was a song from that album and Chvrches; collaborating with Hayley Williams ofParamore, released a Bury It remix – complete with a stunning animated music video co-directed by Mighty Nice and UK comic illustration artist Jamie McKelvie. The music video portrays the band members and Hayley Williams as animated characters, travelling together through a vibrant city skyline and moving objects with their telekinetic powers – which I could describe as Mirror’s Edge meets a much happier version of Akira. The song tells a story about doing the right thing when it is not always an easy thing to do – and ‘rising above’ the urge to take the easy road. Quite brilliantly this message translates literally through the characters’ actions, continuously reiterating that,
Sometimes taking the high road can be a superhero strength in itself.
The synthpop genre has much of its rooting in Japan and interestingly their is something very ‘anime’ about the visuals. I can not describe the music video as anime, but there are certainly visual elements borrowed from this animation style which become apparent when drawing parallels with Akira and Mirror’s Edge (of course, many would say that Mirror’s Edge is not ‘true’ anime, but we can leave that for another article!) Whether or not this was the intention of the Band or the directors it is interesting to observe that the music and the visuals could both stem (at least in part) from Japanese culture.
The music video is animated in 3D with cel shader rendering (or to be accurate, the lighting is rendered through a cel shading technique) and it takes me back to the computer game Jet Set Radio where the term was first coined. At this time, cel shading was really started to boom in popularity. Since then, this rendering style has been used far more in games than in any other form of media. Of course, games are the ideal platform for cel shading as the only way to achieve that ‘cartoony’, ‘hand-drawn’ look in 3D games is through cel shader rendering.
Bury It is fantastic example of this technique done right!
London based animation studio Nexus were introduced to Jamie McKelvie by British record label Virgin EMI. McKelvie had previously created artwork for Chvrches’ posters and albums and the band wanted to retain this artistic theme in their latest music video ‘Bury It’. Nexus director Mighty Nice were commissioned to co-direct the animated music video with McKelvie with the aim of staying true to this theme and essentially ‘bringing McKelvie’s illustrations to life’.