SF Filmakers Work Part of Grammy Nomination - Albuquerque Journal

SF Filmakers Work Part of Grammy Nomination

When a pair of Santa Fe cult filmmakers met musician Kyp Malone working in a San Francisco cafe in 2000, they never dreamed the friendship would culminate in a Grammy nomination.

Now a member of the indie rock band TV on the Radio, Malone called his old friends Jon Moritsugu and Amy Davis and asked them to direct a video for the song “No Future Shock” from the band’s latest release “Nine Types of Light.”

The Brooklyn-based band’s music spans everything from post-punk to electro, from free jazz to soul music. It was nominated for long-form video for an hourlong piece featuring every song on the album.

The Grammy nod puts them in competition with such pop luminaries as Beyoncé, A Tribe Called Quest, Foo Fighters and Kings of Leon.

Moritsugu and Davis will attend the Grammys in Los Angeles on Feb. 12.

“They had different directors making a different video out of every song on the album,” Moritsugu said.

Moritsugu and his wife Davis cast Malone in their 2002 indie movie “Scumrock.” The film chronicles two characters, one an underground filmmaker and the other a struggling and aging rocker (Davis). Rotten Tomatoes said: “Counterculture/auteur Jon Moritsugu takes potshots at the San Francisco Bay Area underground rock community in this award-winning deadpan comedy.”

“It was about the fragility of people; the fragility of looking at two different characters struggling with the creative process,” Moritsugu said.

Malone played the wannabe filmmaker.

“He had never acted before,” Moritsugu said. “He was a wonderful natural.”

Afterward, Malone moved to New York and joined TV on the Radio. The band has been touring the world ever since signing with the Interscope Records label in 2006.

Malone contacted him about a year ago, Moritsugu said.

“He called us both at the beginning of 2011 and said, ‘Do you want to shoot a video for the band’?” he said. “He gave us the song; it was his idea.”

The video for “No Future Shock” opens with a group of ponytailed and saddle shoe-wearing dancers a la “American Bandstand.”

Malone had requested the square, 1950s-style dress, which later explodes into visual anarchy with the dancers tossing glitter and spewing Silly String.

“By the end, he wanted it to be like street dancing, just everybody grinding,” Moritsugu said. “We wanted to write a catharsis moment where it was just a complete freakout.”

At the end, a grimacing Village Voice gossip guru Michael Musto plays a janitor sweeping up the pop culture detritus.

(Both the “No Future Shock” video and the full hour-long “Nine Types of Light” movie can be seen on YouTube).

In 2004, TV on the Radio won the Shortlist Music Prize, a prestigious music insider award honoring “the most adventurous and creative albums of the year” against Wilco, the Killers, Franz Ferdinand and Loretta Lynn. Afterward, the band performed at the Hollywood Bowl. In 2006, Spin magazine named its “Return to Cookie Mountain” as album of the year. The album features guest appearances by David Bowie, Celebration, Dragons of Zynth and Yeah Yeah Yeah’s Nick Zinner. Bowie contributed backup vocals to the song “Province.” “Nine Types of Light” is the band’s fourth album.

As for Davis and Moritsugu, the couple’s next project, “Pig Death Machine,” a “psychological-horror-screwball comedy,” is still in post-production, Moritsugu said.

It should be ready for release within a couple of months, he added.

Moritsugu and Davis have lived in Santa Fe for three years.


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