Shynola are interviewed in The Australian. Shynola is a collective of animators that has made its mark with music videos. Since their first professional assignment six years ago, they have worked with everyone from Blur to Beck, and with Radiohead, for whom they made one the band’s best known videos, 2001’s Pyramid Song.
“When we met Thom Yorke he said we were more like a rock group than Radiohead were,” says Richard “Kenny” Kenworthy. Adds Jason Groves: “If we’d been proficient musicians, we probably would have preferred to be in a rock group, but it turned out we could draw better than we could play guitar.”
In general, the collective’s videos are strong on ideas, never cluttered or cliched, which makes them a refreshing change from the slick and overproduced schlock on MTV.
Nowhere is this more striking than in the video for Pyramid Song. The song, which is dominated by a series of solemn and sometimes arrhythmic piano chords, is about a man who is united with his past and his future after jumping into a river. “When we met … Yorke to talk about the song, he said it was based on an apocalyptic dream about the end of the world,” Baws says. “But we didn’t want to just animate his dream. We wanted to distil his vision and make our own story.”
The result is an eerie underwater journey that enhances the ethereal qualities of the song without being excessively literal. “There is definitely a way to make the images and the music marry, and that’s what we strive to do,” Chris Harding says. “People misunderstand music videos and think you’re just there to make an advert for the faces or the sound of the band.”
For those who are interested in Shynola’s work, they have been working on the feature-film version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, for which they have provided a series of animated sequences. The movie will be released this year.