Doug Bedard, Ojibway (from Pequis First Nation), is a multi-disciplinary artist. For the past twenty years he has achieved critical acclaim as a hip hop artist, under the stage name Plex. In 2010, Doug, a self-taught videographer, joined Redcloud Studios Inc., and has since worked as photographer, videographer, director, editor and graphic designer for video projects across all genres and platforms. Above all else, Doug is a storyteller who is dedicated to strengthening Indigenous narrative from all perspectives. Mojo Junction spoke with Doug about his latest project, Digging Roots’ video ‘AK-47′.
1) When crafting a film clip for an artist, where does the inspiration to create a storyboard first arise?
Most of the music videos I’ve made were kind of done on a whim. We usually blurt out ideas and things that we think might be cool, but the only music video that I have directed, that included storyboarding, was ‘I’ve Got It Bad’ by Digging Roots. The whole intention was just to have fun with it, but we had a specific goal, and much to my surprise, that goal was reflected in that specific video.
2) You just made the fantastic new Digging Roots AK47 Clip, could you explain a little about the process?
I received a call from Digging Roots about making a video for a song that I hadn’t heard yet. On the scheduled day of shooting, Raven called me to tell me the hard drive with all of the audio files had stopped working. Complete hard drive failure. Every artist’s nightmare. And no back-up whatsoever. About three weeks later, I received another call from Raven, saying they had re-recorded the song and that they were leaving for 8 weeks to Australia the following day. He asked if there was any way we could shoot the video for AK-47 before they left. I don’t think any of them had slept. I spent three-and-a-half hours setting up and lighting the green screen, another five hours shooting and about a hundred plus hours editing.
3) AK 47 is a fabulous example of what is possible with green-screen. Why did you choose this methodology for the clip?
From the start, Raven and Shoshona asked me if I was capable of shooting a video like Wild Belle’s ‘It’s Too Late’. I said yes, without even considering the amount of work it would take or even having any experience shooting a video like that. Everything was all theory as far as I was concerned. However, I’m stubborn and I was determined to make it work. The closer I was to making it look like ‘It’s Too Late’, the more I wanted to make it our own and add an Indigenous touch to it. The only real request I had from Raven and Sho was to make a rifle with flowers coming out of the barrel. Those was the first two graphics I created that didn’t include the band in it. To be honest, I was in waaaay over my head from the start. I didn’t even think of the amount of work that this video would require, but once it was done, it felt SOOOO GOOD. While I’ve made some videos that I wouldn’t exactly brag about, AK-47 couldn’t be further from that. It’s definitely my favorite of the videos I’ve made and favourite song from Digging Roots. Such an important piece and message.
4) What inspired you to become a videographer/film-maker?
I became interested in filming after being denied funding on some of my own music videos. I’ve been a hip hop artist for over twenty years, and I started to feel discouraged by the process of having a music video made. I was able to connect with experienced directors, but could never secure funding to produce a video. I purchased a Canon T2i and shot some amazing footage of a family trip to Jamaica. That snowballed into me getting hired to shoot corporate videos for some non-profit organizations, as well as other shady companies I don’t feel comfortable mentioning. Let’s just say, as a socially-conscious artist, there was conflict of interest. But as my friend Elaina Martin always says, ‘GOTTA PAY THE BILLS, FOLKS!’
5) What’s next from your lens?
I’m hoping to shoot a few more videos for Digging Roots. As stressed out as I can get in the editing process, it’s been so rewarding to have a finished product with them. I think we complement each others’ styles. I’m planning to work on new videos with Edmonton hip hop artist Rellik, and country singer, Nathan Cunningham. And who knows? Maybe I’ll get a chance to work with A Tribe Called Red or Buffy St Marie. I guess anything is possible.
Music Video Filmography
Rellik -Soldier (2010)
Plex – Better Days (2010)
Rellik – Thank You (2012)
Rellik – Idle No More feat. Nathan Cunningham (2012)
Plex – I Can’t Breathe (2012)
Won-18 – Dope Man (2013)
Digging Roots – I’ve Got It Bad (2015)
Rellik -My Voice (2016)
Plex – Lucky Stars (2016)
Digging Roots – AK-47 (2016)
Canadian First Nations powerhouse Digging Roots are currently on their third Australian Tour. Playing Bluesfest, Brunswick Music Festival, Arnhem Land and club venues round the country, Mojo Junction was lucky enough to catch up with their percussionist Skye to hear about their adventures to date. Both world-class musician and photographer, Skye shares a little with us about what inspires his creative process.
Adelaide’s Nathan May is a super-talented young Indigenous songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. He’s in the studio this month recording his debut EP ‘Reflections’. Mojo Junction spent 5 minutes with Nathan to hear a little about the recording, his story, and the song-writing process.
This is a follow up article to Mojo Junction’s previous feature that introduced My Peace River, a project created in response to the threat of the Site C dam on the Peace River Valley in north-eastern British Columbia. The following is intended to keep readers up to date on the developments, struggles and small triumphs of the Treaty 8 First Nations and local farmers and ranchers as they fight to save Canada’s most endangered river.
With Special guests Oka and Leonard Sumner
Northcote Social Club 301 High Street, Northcote, Melbourne, Australia
25 November 2015
It was a Wednesday night to remember, Canadian First Nations sensation ‘A Tribe Called Red’ played a powerful set to a packed Melbourne house. Three slamming DJs, the stage alight with colorful projections of pop culture references to challenge absurd stereotypes, and a stunning display of trad meets break dance. The Buffy Sainte-Marie remix was a standout track, as was the Tanya Tagaq jam.
Up-and-coming Anishinaabe artist Leonard Sumner opened the night solo with his distinctive heartfelt melodies and potent poetry. Australia’s OKA played the middle set, pumping up the dance-floor with their signature sound, fusing Yidaki (didgeridoo) with electronic beats and live drums. Here’s a selection of images from one of the greatest shows Melbourne has seen this year.
Australian singer/songwriter Tullara Connors has quickly developed a reputation as one of the country’s brightest up-and-coming performers. Her guitar playing has been described as ‘beautifully complex and intricate while within an instant raw and powerful’. Tullara is currently recording her debut EP, and this month Mojo Junction was lucky enough to speak with her about the recording process and what is to come in 2016.
Tom Boy Lamps are the latest creative project by Melbourne musician, Rosie Burgess. After many years spent touring the globe with her band, The Rosie Burgess Trio, she has happily settled into a little house with her partner and a conglomerate of cats, children and veggies, and most importantly, a rocking home studio. These days, when she’s not playing gigs, she’s writing lesbian romance fiction and turning drums into lamps.
Chubbs is a freelance designer whose work ranges from websites to shopfronts and everything in between. Amidst that creative melting pot, live music photography is his passion and a favourite form of personal expression. This month, Mojo Junction was lucky enough to chat with him and feature some of his recent photos taken at Mullumbimby Music Festival, and earlier this year at Byron Bluesfest.
Tell us about the Chubbs By Design Instagram account.
I started the Chubbs By Design account at the start of 2015. As a designer I always find it especially difficult to put out my own work. With client work, there are always constraints, and the job is to achieve the best outcome within those constraints. But what if there were no constraints? If you could make anything, what would you make? What is a true representation of you?
Want to learn more about polyrhythms? In the second video of the series Nick Delaney reveals the formula behind all polyrhythms and breaks down a 3 over 4 rhythm visually, with a musical example. Over time, this series will take you on the pathway to exploring any possible combination of numbers.
On the 19th of June 2015 I flew into Edinburgh. I had no real plans or things I desperately wanted to see or do in Scotland, I just had a good feeling about the country. Whether it was because of the accent, the kilts, the monsters in the lakes, all I knew is that I wanted to explore the place.
A friend I’d connected with last year, through music in Slovenia, sent me a message asking about my European travel plans. I mentioned Scotland, and he instantly sent me a Facebook link to a friend in Edinburgh. I messaged the friend, mentioning my flight into Edinburgh in a few days. He wrote back, and suddenly I’d lined up a two-night stay.
It’s been more than 3 years since Amit Saigal, ‘founder’ of the Indian Contemporary Music Scene passed away. To commemorate his recent birthday, and to introduce him to those who did not have the chance to meet the great man, this month Mojo Junction is publishing a video and tribute made at the time of his passing. Read more…
Brand new Melbourne duo ‘This Way North’ have just released a single, and a video clip creatively shot in a Brunswick warehouse. This month Mojo Junction was lucky enough to spend 5 minutes with vocalist/guitarist Leisha Jungalwalla.
Want to learn more about polyrhythms but unsure where to start? In this introductory video Nick Delaney breaks down a 3 over 4 rhythm, and shows you how multiple pulses can change the feel of a melody. Over time, this series will take you on the pathway to exploring any possible combination of numbers.
Moon Mountain Sessions is a one shot ‘takeaway show’ captured by Benjamin James Caldwell all over the world. Mojo Junction was lucky to have 5 minutes with the film-maker this month to hear about his process. Below, we also feature a selection of his favourite Moon Mountain Session videos.
We were thrilled to host Canadian balladeer Scott Cook during his recent Australian tour for the third in Mojo Junction’s Brunswick House Concert Series. Here are some images from the intimate evening of music, and an exclusive live track direct from the lounge, Scott Cook’s ‘Pass It Along’.
C.R. Avery: Outlaw, hip-hop harmonica player, beat-box poet, rock & roll matador. Whether performing to thousands at the Royal Albert Hall, or to a House Concert lounge-room in Brunswick his ability to intimately connect with an audience is testament to his genius. He spent a few minutes with us this month to share his thoughts on Valentines Day. Read more…
As part of Corroboree Sydney, the free weekend festival ‘Homeground’ returned to the Sydney Opera House for two inspiring days to celebrate the music, dance and culture of First Nations people from Australia and around the world. Taking place on the traditional land of the Gadigal people, the stunning setting on the Western boardwalk of Sydney Opera House opposite the Harbour Bridge provided an incredible atmosphere for the weekend festivities.
When all of one’s musical dreams have just come to an epic peak of fruition, it’s hard to know where to start raving. Will I begin with the absolute rapture of beholding D’Angelo in all his soul-sex glory? Or should I hit you with the awe of witnessing street-style rap guru Mos Def (Yasiin Bey) in perfect form? What about that golden taste of classy soul mistress Angie Stone with honey dripping from her sweet lips? With a line-up that included all these industry icons as well as the likes of Common, Musiq Soulchild, Maxwell, Leela James and Anthony Hamilton, it’s hard not to melt into a glorious puddle of soulful delight.
So, you want to tour in China?
So many artists are hypnotised by the idea of touring in China simply because this is where one-fifth of the world’s population resides. ‘It’s a huge market’, my friend said, dollar signs widening his eyes. ‘Yes,’ I said, ‘But who are they? What do they like?’ He had no answer.
The Great Wall of China no longer keeps foreigners out, but a new and equally powerful wall stands in its place. We expats here call it ‘The Great Firewall of China’ and it lies quietly in the background. Many foreign websites are censored here, like Facebook, YouTube, Google and any popular blog platform.