Mornings don't have to be full of dread. That's why this video by Andrew Huang is our new theme music for kicking the day's ass (is that not the translation of carpe diem?)!
Andrew is a celebrated musician and YouTuber from Canada. His videos run the gambit from original songs, to covers, to a series of symphonic videos like the one above— composed entirely from everyday objects and the sounds they make.
We talked with Andrew about music, brand deals, and where he thinks YouTube is headed:
I'm a big fan of your music on YouTube; did you come up with the concept for a symphony comprised of morning sounds?
Yeah, I'm always trying to find ways to make music that haven't been done before.
Were you influenced by other similar content? How did you go about finding it?
There are a lot of people who've experimented with using everyday sounds or objects to make music, from musique concrète tape splices to shows like Stomp or more electronic-based artists like Matmos and Matthew Herbert. On YouTube, the big examples I can think of are Diego Stocco and MysteryGuitarMan. I love it all!
The editing here really stands out, mostly because the concept is very simple. YouTube seems to ebb and flow between cell phone videos, to locked-off vlogs, to more ambitious edits like your own. Do you have a preference and do you have a prediction for trends in online video in terms of editing or simplicity?
The online video world is enormous now, so my guess is the trends are headed in all different kinds of directions at once. I'm particularly excited for VR because I have a couple friends working in that space and they have shown me some really cool stuff.
My preference has always been for artsier videos; Simple concepts with ambitious execution. Educational videos can be great, too. Also, super weird stuff. I like to put random words into YouTube's search and sort by upload date, and I end up finding these amazing, just-uploaded slices of some complete stranger's life. People who aren't posting to YouTube to grow an audience but just because they want to document their collection of cuckoo clocks or whatever.
This is a sponsored video for Sony, which is territory I'm super interested in exploring. Do you think there is a necessity to disclose? Do you think people are fairly or unfairly agitated by the presence of product placement without explicit announcement, even in the case of this video where you're performing rather than simply begging people to buy a product?
Reception to sponsored content seems to have shifted a lot in the last few years, maybe because it has become so ubiquitous for a younger generation. Twenty years ago musicians would get tons of flack for throwing their music behind a software company or car manufacturer. These days I find audiences are happy to know their favorite content creators can make a liveable income. I think transparency with sponsored videos is important, with product placements and even more so with endorsements. I would hope that influencers never promoted brands that they can't actually stand behind, but we know that's probably not always the case. However I would also hope that viewers strive to be critical in their consumption, and do their own research before going out and buying something—even if I'm promoting something I love, it's not necessarily going to be a fit for everyone who sees my work.
Should camera brands be doing way more collaborations with independent creators?
Absolutely. Rather than doing huge ad buys and trying to make their thing look the shiniest, companies can support smaller artists and encourage creativity, and I think that's a better situation for both parties. I'm partnering with Sony on both the video and the audio sides of things (a couple more videos coming soon!) and they've been great about giving me creative freedom while providing solid products to work with.
This interview has been condensed and edited.
Akilah Hughes is a comedian, YouTuber, and staff writer and producer for Fusion's culture section. You can almost always find her waxing poetic about memes and using too many emojis. 🍕