When it comes to making music videos, Walk Off The Earth is by far the most innovative band I’ve come across in my young life.
They have an ability to whip up insanely creative, joyful, organic DIY clips in their home studio. Music videos have been around for 30 years—and “song films” before that—but nobody has done them with this much fun and ingenuity.
WOTE is one of the few contemporary bands (which I can count on one foot) that exemplify the traits of successful teams that I outline in my upcoming book—which, coincidentally, has the same title as this blog. (What are the mathematical chances of that?) These traits include creativity, passion, personality, ambition, independent thinking, and the ability to harness conflict. It could be said that great teams take fun—and play—seriously.
But in regard to this band I have been taking some flak for my servile idolatry. All I can say is, watch the clip above and ask yourself, “How many artists could pull this off?”
WOTE has mastered so well the technique of audio "looping"—which, for example, enables the first vocalist (Gianni Luminati) to lay down a kalimba track that automatically repeats after he stops playing it and switches to percussion—that their video performances look effortless (and playfully so). But therein lies their genius.
This self-produced video was made in Gianni's home, directed by Gianni, and filmed by Sarah (while performing in the song!). That's Marshall also on vocals and guitar, Joel (usually the drummer) working the mixing board and computer, and Taylor (usually the keyboard player) making the brief cameo on skateboard during the mirror shot.
"Payphone," you may know, is a Maroon 5 tune released earlier this year. WOTE does its own version of the rap that occurs late in the song.
If you'd prefer the "clean version" (with less colorful language) click the upper right corner of the video once it appears on YouTube.
In answer to my question in the title, payphones do still exist of course, but they won't be around for long thanks to technological innovation. Likewise, almost any business (and business team) won't be around for long unless it's out-innovating the competition to deliver better products or services to its customers. True for telecom, true for rock & roll.
In case you missed my interview with WOTE's Sarah Blackwood, it's here.