Some things just feel good, don’t they? Like Will Wood having a brand new music video to unleash for his song “You Liked This (Okay Computer!).” Over the last couple of years, we’ve gotten to know Wood and his unique, unmistakable oddball charm that makes his music both original, unique, and certainly nonconformist. Wood goes to great lengths to ensure his music videos are just as exceptional as the songs they accompany, and he’s done it again with his new video for “You Liked This (Okay Computer!).” The futuristic, post-modern-looking clip is heavy on social commentary, inspired by the singer and songwriter’s distaste for social media and the negative effects he feels it is having on our collective mental health. It only takes one viewing to know that this is definitively Will Wood operating within his own wheelhouse.
Interestingly enough, the words in “You Liked This (Okay Computer!)” are spoken by voice actress Bev Standing whose voice was utilized by TikTok as its indisputable text-to-speech voice, allegedly without her consent until she launched legal action against the social media giant. Wood took Standing’s voice and integrated it within the song using the whistles and dings that we’ve gotten so used to hearing on our phones and various social media apps we use.
We recently nabbed Will Wood for a Behind the Video interview in which we discussed the nature of music videos, doing your videos DIY style, and the role social media inevitably plays.
How important a role does social media play in sharing videos and increasing exposure?
Will Wood: “There’s, of course, no doubt that social media allows communication and sharing that would otherwise be impossible, especially in the COVID era and the age of streaming wherein vast tours and advertising budgets are either not feasible or not enough. I don’t think that means the good that social media platforms currently allow to happen necessarily outweighs the immense harm they knowingly and often intentionally cause, but in the world of the arts, it’s, unfortunately, a sort of necessary evil at the moment. Hopefully, we won’t need to rely on such corrupt and socially destructive corporations forever.
“I would hope that someday there’s something that replaces it that billionaires, social engineers, and war profiteers can’t use so insidiously or at least there’s some level of accountability for these unbelievably irresponsible and abusive companies. Lord knows I wouldn’t have the career I have without social media, but exposure isn’t really my goal at all. I always saw myself as a bit of a DIY anti-folk road warrior until the pandemic hit. The point was always self-expression and adventure on the road or on stage, not fame or anything, so my focus has mostly only ever been on just making the art that is most fulfilling to make, regardless of exposure or whether or not people like it/want to share it.”
Do you prefer writing a video around the theme of a song or just going to a warehouse and banging out a live performance?
“I sort of try to make it, so my videos say something, add to the song, or are part of a larger work. The live performance video thing can be fun to make and is usually a piece of my videos, but I feel like that alone, without at least some unique take on it, is rarely much to watch. I tend to think of music videos as their own art form and an opportunity to express as much as the song itself can be. Sometimes a performance video can accomplish that, but the first priority for me is always to try and make something that’s uniquely fun, an adventure to make, or in some way emotive, and so I tend to shy away from performance videos on their own.”
Are the benefits worth the costs and effort involved?
“I think it sort of depends on what your goals are and what you put on the line to try and accomplish it. I don’t think spending a ton of money on a video reliably translates to making that money back, so if your goal is to use the video to make ad revenue or to sell records, I wouldn’t personally break the bank on that gamble even if my idea is great. But that’s not really my goal; I choose the songs I put out as singles and create music videos based on the songs I want to create videos for, so I put the amount of cost and effort into it that I feel is worth the artistic gratification of seeing it come together. So it’s sort of intrinsically worth it to me most of the time.”
Is a well-made DIY video just as good or beneficial as a professionally-made/directed video?
“I mean, ultimately, it depends on the video, I think. Sort of goes back to the previous question. Though I’m sure there are ways, you could make a video that’s worse than no video at all. I think it also sort of depends on how you define DIY versus professionally made. The people I work with are professionals, but we’re still doing it ourselves, and there isn’t some big label with a million dollars trying to make me look sexy and cool. But if the concept and execution keep the creators’ limitations in mind, I think a video made for free can be every bit as powerful as a video made for tens of thousands of dollars. It just depends on what you do with the tools you have at your disposal. So I encourage artists to not wait for a budget to come around to start imagining things.”
What are some of your favourite music videos ever, and why?
“I always really enjoyed Radiohead’s videos; they’ve always been really varied in their themes, mediums, and presentation. The artistry and craftsmanship that went into Tool’s video were always really cool to me too. Unique visuals and stories, and artists who treat the music video as its own art form; that’s what I’ve always enjoyed most.”