Skip

"as you watch the video you will start to see weird stuff happening..."
January 13, 2011 6:14 PM   Subscribe

The story of how The Pharcyde hired a linguist to train them how to rap backwards for the Spike Jonze-directed Drop video

"The members of The Pharcyde had to memorize the lyrics to their verses backwards in order to lip sync convincingly. Using the help of a linguist to get this vernacular right, gibberish was written on the cue cards (phrases like "Eight, Kay, Car, Ick, Side, Jer, Dit")." [quote]

Also read the one-page treatment for the video written by Spike Jonze.
posted by jng (47 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite

 
Comment from Slimkid3 of The Pharcyde on Youtube:
We had a lot of fun doing this video for sure. This how you are suppose to be creatively about what ever you do. After looking at this clip I realized... Wow... I guess we´╗┐ did study harder than I thought. I also felt and like all we needed was on more day to study and it would have been seamless. :)
posted by jng at 6:16 PM on January 13, 2011


That seems like a lot of effort for a youtube video.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:25 PM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I just wish the crappy quality on Youtube didn't make it so hard to see their mouth movements.
posted by Monochrome at 6:27 PM on January 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Not to impugn Spike Jonze's professionalism, but I'm pretty sure he was higher than god when he typed up that treatment.
posted by theodolite at 6:28 PM on January 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


That seems like a lot of effort for a youtube video.

I'm pretty sure this was a "real" video, likely pre-dating Youtube.
posted by threeants at 6:38 PM on January 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


Yeah, this is a cool technique. I've seen this done by Mutemath. Anyone else? Who do you hire to train to drum backwards?
posted by stroke_count at 6:40 PM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure he was higher than god when he typed up that treatment.
-eating chips
-wearing a clown suit
-speedo
Yeah, pretty sure.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:43 PM on January 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Interesting/related: What's Up, Fatlip? (the documentary), 2, 3; music video for What's Up, Fatlip?
posted by carsonb at 6:52 PM on January 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


-eating chips
-wearing a clown suit
-speedo


I think those ideas wound up in the What's Up, Fatlip? video, heh.
posted by carsonb at 6:52 PM on January 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


That seems like a lot of effort for a youtube video.
I'm pretty sure this was a "real" video, likely pre-dating Youtube.


A bit. 1995. Still just as cool now as it was then. :)
posted by xedrik at 6:55 PM on January 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


I want to believe, but the disbelief I have to suspend is that every English syllable and phoneme backwards has its perfect palindrome in an English syllable or phoneme spoken forwards.

After Thom Yorke blatantly bullshitted about singing backwards for Spinning Plates I'm jaded against all such claims.

What I find more likely is that Jonze shot this as advertised, but dubbed in a forwards track. The payoff for the group's efforts was they could tell a convincing story they really believed, and that their lips synced.
posted by clarknova at 6:57 PM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure you were high when he was writing the treatment too.
posted by isopraxis at 7:00 PM on January 13, 2011


clarknova, nobody's claiming that the audio of the track is sung backwards. The Pharcyde learned the phonetic pronunciation of their backwards lyrics so their lips would sync with the track during the video.
posted by carsonb at 7:00 PM on January 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


Even high school students can lip synch backwards. And its still awesome.
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:08 PM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Backwards you say?
posted by unliteral at 7:12 PM on January 13, 2011


well yo mama got a glass eye with a fish in it
posted by Ad hominem at 7:27 PM on January 13, 2011 [7 favorites]


Oh, and as long as the theme is "Director's Series Backwards", let's hear it for Cibo Matto's Sugar Water.
posted by carsonb at 7:28 PM on January 13, 2011


needs more dancing flying walkens
posted by ericbop at 7:32 PM on January 13, 2011


The Pharcyde learned the phonetic pronunciation of their backwards lyrics so their lips would sync with the track during the video.

That's what I just said!

My point is Spike didn't say it was for lip syncing. He said nothing of the kind. He suggested the opposite and let you believe it if you wanted.

And yo momma got an afro with a chin strap.
posted by clarknova at 7:39 PM on January 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Nowadays, we'd just use computers.
posted by jeremy b at 7:44 PM on January 13, 2011


Excuse the friend link, but friends-band-backwards-music-video-released-today. I think it's cool
posted by tmcw at 7:46 PM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not to impugn Spike Jonze's professionalism, but I'm pretty sure he was higher than god when he typed up that treatment.

He wasn't the only one working stoned, clearly! Those guys were so baked while doing that interview. Heh heh.
posted by flex at 7:48 PM on January 13, 2011


Backwards videos make me think of Weird Al's Amish Paradise, where he did a really solid job lipsynching backwards. It's not the whole song, just the last portion, so not quite the same as a full video in reverse.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:53 PM on January 13, 2011


After Thom Yorke blatantly bullshitted about singing backwards for Spinning Plates I'm jaded against all such claims.

???

They haven't bullshitted about it at all. It was something like: He recorded the vocal forward, played it back in reverse, and used that to learn to sing it in reverse. Then he recorded his reverse version, then reversed that again, resulting in the very odd elocution he has in the song. It doesn't sound quite like it's forwards or backwards.

I might be misremembering the details slightly, but there's not been any bullshit.
posted by sparkletone at 8:15 PM on January 13, 2011


euhhhthat giumyou uhloyk kees ehhhcoming gback kin stieel
posted by infinitewindow at 9:06 PM on January 13, 2011


that's how I remember the story going as well, sparkletone

(one of my favorite Radiohead songs, too)
posted by mannequito at 9:33 PM on January 13, 2011


Loki / Eric Fensler: Six Feet of Space.
posted by kid ichorous at 12:53 AM on January 14, 2011


It's a Swedish Bookshop!
posted by rusty at 1:16 AM on January 14, 2011


After Thom Yorke blatantly bullshitted about singing backwards for Spinning Plates I'm jaded against all such claims.

ELPEEHS PU EKAW
posted by speicus at 1:59 AM on January 14, 2011


Related.

One-line treatment for this comment:
$ echo '.>a/<detaleR>"nosrednA_.J_leahciM/ikiw/gro.aidepikiw.ne//:ptth"=ferh a<' | rev

posted by Dr Dracator at 4:48 AM on January 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Pretty sure that's Mark Gonzales painting the glass in the start/end of the video. Coooool.
posted by orme at 5:36 AM on January 14, 2011




I have to agree with Monochrome - in the Youtube video it's basically impossible to see their mouths moving. Have to see it on a big screen I guess.
posted by antifuse at 6:01 AM on January 14, 2011


Yeah? Well your mama has a peg leg with a kickstand.
posted by that's candlepin at 6:08 AM on January 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Your mama has the wings and teeth of an African bat.
posted by electroboy at 6:38 AM on January 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Pharcyde is one of my goto groups when people say they don't really like rap. Tribe and Pharcyde for history, Jurassic 5 for more recent history.

Who's doing this stuff today? I'm sure they're out there.

electroboy: *shakefist* I was going to post a line from that
posted by DigDoug at 7:34 AM on January 14, 2011


I think I am going to become a novelty account that just drops lines from ya mama in random threads. Goes with the username.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:38 AM on January 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


...and her middle name is Mudbone.
posted by electroboy at 7:58 AM on January 14, 2011


You live in a tree; you eat coconuts!
And your whole family's got buffalo butts.
*cough*
posted by Challahtronix at 7:58 AM on January 14, 2011


He suggested the opposite and let you believe it if you wanted.

What did he suggest? it was for lip syncing is the opposite of what Spike suggested, but I'm having trouble coming up with something opposite that. Help me out, clarknova.
posted by carsonb at 7:58 AM on January 14, 2011


Music videos are always, always, always lip sync affairs unless it's a "live" conceit. And then, it's usually for a live album or specially released version of the song.

The point is to make a video for an existing, prerecorded version of the song. I've never heard anyone imply this video was not a traditional music video.
posted by mikeh at 8:26 AM on January 14, 2011


Fu-schnickens did the backwards thing first.

Wow, that takes me back. I remember listening to these guys in high school. They were popular for like a minute in 1992 but I had totally forgotten about them. Thanks, Mick!
posted by rbellon at 8:30 AM on January 14, 2011


DigDoug: "Pharcyde is one of my goto groups when people say they don't really like rap. Tribe and Pharcyde for history, Jurassic 5 for more recent history.

Who's doing this stuff today? I'm sure they're out there.
"

Souls of Mischief/Del tha Funkee Homosapien/the rest of the Hiero crew (though they are "old" and not new, I guess).

Kool Keith/Dr. Octagon. Again, though -- all old. I haven't followed much of the more current trends in Hip Hop, so, I can't say :(

But those are definitely people I'd give as good intelligent hip-hop :)
posted by symbioid at 9:26 AM on January 14, 2011


I've been looking for this video for many MANY years. This music video opened my mind as a teenager. Thanks. The linguist fact makes it that much better.
posted by supyo at 10:37 AM on January 14, 2011


DigDoug, symbioid: Heh, this metatalk made me chuckle. Some good recommendations in there. I have to admit, I'm just as guilty of preferring to kick back to an old Nas record than I am in exploring Rick Ross or Gucci Mane's latest mixtapes. As for the best parallel to the Pharcyde today, Das Racist comes to mind (though I'm sure there are others I can't recall right now) as having that same sort of fun-loving group style (fused with the occasional ultra post-modernist flair, which I know turns a lot of people off). Everyone's fave new rapper these days is Jay Electronica (if you like "smart" hip-hop and haven't listened to his Exhibit series, do yourself a favor and listen to it NOW; the Just Blaze beats are incredible), but folks all be a-quaking in their boots now that he's doing Mountain Dew commercials and is signed to Rocafella. Maybe check okayplayer for other artists if you're not already there. But it's a shame when people (not you guys! I mean others) feel like that if rappers talk about money, thug-life, drugs, and murder that it automatically has no value. Sure, a lot of it is trivial stuff, sort of like how any other genre of popular music has fluff, but there's some solid wheat in there if one is willing to look (for me, Ghostface can do no wrong, even if he's misogynistic on so so so many levels [it's irony! I swear! er, I mean I hope]). I love Straight Bangin, which is ostensibly a sports blog. See his top 50 songs of 2010 list for a interesting recap of what's happening in hip-hop. He's a bigtime Black Milk/Royce/Slum Village/Detroit supporter (all which are great, go give them a listen), sometimes to the detriment of highlighting other equally awesome artists, but like I said, really good stuff in there if you're like me and don't track hip-hop as closely as you'd like.
posted by jng at 11:39 AM on January 14, 2011


Fu-schnickens did the backwards thing first.

You sure about that?
posted by P.o.B. at 12:07 PM on January 14, 2011


Kool Keith/Dr. Octagon

Weeeelllll....

I'm a Kool Keith fanboy of the highest order, and I realize people who like the other groups you've mentioned also tend to like the Dr Octagon album for whatever reason, I wouldn't advise someone who likes Pharcyde to go out and grab Spankmaster or Sex Style or the Analog Brothers, for example.
posted by Hoopo at 12:58 PM on January 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


« Older Lost in (video) translation   |   Make your own e-books Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post