Check out our interview with electronic storytellers The M Machine.
Last we heard from San Francisco electronic outfit The M Machine, they were flirting with post-apocalyptic dubstep on their track “The Palace.” Now, their new video for “Tiny Anthem,” off their concept album Metropolis Pt. II, pairs that futuristic concept with some evocative animated imagery. With its sci-fi storytelling and bizarre array of space monsters, it’s hard not to be fascinated by The M Machine’s dystopian-themed animation — “Tiny Anthem” kind of makes you think of a goofier and less graphic “Aeon Flux,” or maybe even a galaxy-themed “Hunger Games.” Read on as we chat with The M Machine to find out more about their “Tiny Anthem” video and its young blue-haired protagonist, Luma.
Learn more about The M Machine’s “Tiny Anthem” video after the jump.
The video, directed by Augenblick Studios, with art direction from Christopher Blackstock, expands on the overarching future dystopian concept of The M Machine’s album Metropolis Pt. II, (due out on Skrillex’s OWSLA label). The story here, based on adventures in the fictional city of Metropolis, finds a blue-haired space heroine named Luma being pursued by a series of frightening aliens, cyborgs, and cute little alien robot puppies who maybe just want to play and not blast her with dog missiles. OK, probably not, everything is dangerous in this world.
“Hey, you’re begging me to stay, but I can’t stop the rain from coming in,” they sing in a lilting, effected voice, over a triumphant, but restrained synth lead, more electro-indie than dubstep this time out — the trio’s sound is as diverse as their imagined universe.
Elsewhere, an evil floating head creature travels throughout the galaxy from planet to planet in his octopus spaceship recruiting unsuspecting species for his nefarious plans; some come more willingly than others. WHO WILL SAVE THE DAY? I think we know. Always bet on the heroine with the most colorful hair — that’s sci-fi 101.
We reached out to the group to explain a bit more about the video and the song.
Who came up with the concept for the video?
The concept of the video was a collaboration between us and our graphic artist, Chris Blackstock, to tell a portion of the story we’ve created for our album. For both installments of the album, we’ve worked with some incredibly talented writers to create liner notes, with each song on the album telling part of the story of Metropolis. Chris created all of the characters and worlds, and the project was brought to life by Augenblick Studios in Brooklyn, who produced a cartoon called Superjail which is one of our all-time favorites. We feel incredibly lucky to have worked with such a talented team on this project.
Does the story here tie into the overall story of the record?
Yes! The story for “Tiny Anthem” follows the rise of our story’s main protagonist, a young girl named Luma. Metropolis Pt. I ends with Luma realizing that something isn’t right in the city of Metropolis, and “Tiny Anthem” showcases her discovery of the sinister origins of the city and her transformation into its savior.
The song has a sunny, hopeful sounding vibe, but is the video dark and depressing or not? It’s hard to tell.
The song is a contrast of emotions, even though the feel of the song is certainly bright, the lyrics and chords are purposefully ambiguous. Likewise, the video has a somewhat dark subject matter, but our animators present the story in such a colorful, vibrant way that it’s a bit tough to tell how you should feel after taking it all in.
Did some of the effects and instrumentation in the song have anything to do with the sort of throwback animation style used here? Seems like it’s all from an earlier decade.
We’re always interested in classic styles, but we didn’t purposefully try for a throwback sound in the song or style in the video. I think it’s more a matter of everyone being totally on the same page creatively. From day one, everyone involved in the project seemed to click artistically, and the end result is something that fits together very nicely.
+ Watch The M Machine’s “Tiny Anthem” video.
Photo credit: OWSLA