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Make Me a Mixtape: Bodega's Directorial Wish List

Make Me a Mixtape is a segment where we interview artists and have them make a mixtape of seven songs based around a particular scenario, explaining why they chose each song. This week, we catch up with Brooklyn's art punk quintet Bodega, who give us seven songs they wish they could direct music videos for.

Photo by Kirsten Kay Thoen

Formed in 2016 out of the ashes of the art rock collective Bodega Bay, the Brooklyn-based punk outfit Bodega consists of vocalist and guitarist Ben Hozie, vocalist and percussionist Nikki Belfiglio, bassist Heather Elle, lead guitarist Madison Velding Vandam and newly recruited Tai Lee (formerly a performer/drummer in the show STOMP) as their new stand-up percussionist. Since their infectious and sardonic debut LP Endless Scroll in 2018, produced by Austin Brown of Parquet Courts and mixed by "go-to indie producer" Jonathan Schenke, the art punk unit have been constantly tweaking their punchy hook-laden formula. With a tongue-in-cheek wit and mélange of post-punk-influenced sonics, the band places their combative nature at the center of their music, allowing their politically-minded personal ideals and critiques to bleed through — every sound or lyric you hear is extremely calculated. Their most recent EP, 2019's breezy yet introspective Shiny New Model, covers the sadness of modern consumption with references to late-stage capitalism and the growing human relationship with technology melded with an equally sharp post-punk urgency.

Visual art plays a vital role in the band’s method with Hozie and Belfiglio both involved in independent filmmaking and directing. Earlier this year, Hozie completed and released the erotically-charged film PVT Chat, and deals with themes of stimulation addiction and emotions processed through the internet. The duo's creativity and unique approach to music and cinema inspired the scenario for their mixtape. Given the opportunity to direct music videos for any seven songs, Belfiglio, with some help from Hozie, shares her vision for each video. Lights, camera, action!

Musical Visions

Björk — "Isobel"

"Björk needs no help from me when it comes to music videos, but I envision Björk on a raft floating lazily downstream. Suddenly that lazy river would open up to the ocean. The raft then speeds up like a motorboat and she's streaming over the waves in the middle of the ocean—whales are breaching the surface and shooting up water as she zooms past. Her presence starts a sudden thunderstorm and soon she's riding fifty-foot waves and dodging ocean liners before a wave shoots her into the air where she lands on the wing of an airplane. The aircraft then rises above the clouds and she dances on the wing of the plane sparkling in water, silhouetted by the sunset."

Bob Dylan — "Slow Train"

"It would be an impassable opportunity to play with Christian iconography and Bob. He rejected his own idolization and then preached the idolization of Jesus, for three albums no less. I would have him wearing a crown of thorns in black leather robes playing a guitar on street corners of 1979 New York City. NYC in the '70s was notoriously bankrupt and dirty due to the waste management strikes. The 1965 Bob already is the archetypal icon that all rockers have ingrained in their subconscious whenever they speak in public—whether they embrace or reject the pose, it's there. It would be fitting to nail him to a crucifix of Fender amplifiers."

The Raincoats — "The Void"

"I think there’s a criminal lack of footage of the Raincoats performing live. I would simply get them into a space and capture their performance—sound and image. The space would have to be either the squatter home they commandeered or some simple venue. Multiple cameras and little interference. Magic."

Purple Mountains — "Snow is Falling in Manhattan"

"This song is already so cinematic that giving it's sonic visions imagery would be redundant—although you could say that about all music videos. They utilize neither the strengths of music (listener subjectivity), nor cinema (sound), although their ephemeral nature does arm them with bastardized charm. It would be great to see New York in a blizzard with David Bergman walking around in his sunglasses although of course, the GOAT has passed. Empty Manhattan streets with snow falling slow would be quite moving."

Dusty Springfield — "Spooky"

"Remember the Cyd Charisse club scene in Singing In the Rain? There would be silk dressed women and suited men doing passionate dances while Dusty performs (in spotlight) in front of a brass band. A lone dancer would try to convince Dusty to pay attention to him while she sings. Of course, she would ignore him. This song oozes ambiance—provide a production designer with headphones and let them start scribbling."

Portishead — "Sour Times"

"I'd like to see Beth Gibbons in front of a lava pit, sweating and singing as the pit erupts around her. This would be a ham-fisted metaphor for the ee-envisioning of the start of their career. She could even light a cigarette from the molten lava. The way she smokes and sings in that Roseland NYC Live DVD is aspirational. I am actually quite fond of the low-budget film noir of their original clip."

Chuck Berry — "No Particular Place to Go"

"This is the archetypal rock 'n' roll song: the car as an escape, teenage horniness, meta-commentary on the radio, and existential ennui. In the end there really is no particular place to go, but the song and the lust provide vistas of eternity. I like this track too much to reduce its narrative to images of a boy and a girl driving around in a hot rod—instead I image long studious single takes of the assembling of a guitar: the insertion of the pickups, the winding of the strings, the screwing of the pegs, and the painting of the finish. This would be a celebration of beginnings—every new instrument requires a new song. Rock 'n' roll is renewed whenever this track is played."

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