These days if you want your music to make any sort of impact it needs to have an accompanying
video clip. Most labels will milk five videos out of an album if they think it will sell them more CDs.
Robin Brunson and Stuart Warren Hill of English group, Hexstatic, took this concept to the extreme.
Both their albums Rewind and Master View have been complete audio-visual affairs; essentially each track has
its own unique clip. This probably explains why the duošs releases are few and far between.
"It does take a long
time," says Brunson. "I think it was four years between our last two. Wešre always constantly doing things for the live
show, which can be used for the album, but it is very time consuming. It probably takes four times as long."
for the pair, whošve been working together since 1995, itšs their live marriage of music and visuals which holds the punteršs
attention. Musically they deliver a barrage of electro, hip hop and breaks over a visual collage of animation and live
filming. Theyšre even able to localise the mix to the area theyšre performing in.
"It depends how much time we get
in the city," says Brunson. "Wešre doing a workshop in New Zealand and the idea is to make something that has reference to
the local area and then show it in the performance. Things like the road crossing buttons here make this mad noise. Wešve
sampled those before and put them in the shows."
What reaction the local material elicits obviously depends on whošs
in the audience.
"I remember playing in South America there was this huge wall of graffiti and we walked along
and shot it all. It was about a mile long. We showed it at the show and it just so happened the guys who had done the pieces
were at the show. They went crazy."
Advances in DJ technology have made it easy to cut up audio live. New digital
decks enable CDs to be manipulate in the same fashion as vinyl. Unfortunately nothing similar existed for the live visual
mixers or VJs. When DJ equipment producers, Pioneer, wanted to exploit the visual market they called Hexstatic.
asked a load of DJs worldwide what they wanted," says Brunson. "The CD decks had just come out and we said if you could
do that with DVDs it would be fantastic. They were nice enough to manufacture them, which is a surprise, cause Išm not
sure what sort of market there is for them. Theyšre extremely expensive."
Hopefully they gave you one for your efforts.
gave us two actually. That was very nice because I donšt think we would have been able to afford them otherwise."
where does one source visuals? Computer animation and filming can yield ample material but it appears a lifetime obsession
with recording the idiot box is the answer.
"Stu has a huge library," says Brunson. "Basically a whole attic of
old VHS tapes and Beta tapes, which he can still get to work. His dad had one of the first video recorders, which is
some obscure tape format Išve never even seen before. Apparently hešs got every episode of Top of the Pops for 10 years
in the '70s on this format."