Pilgrim Album

Pilgrim Album

OUR DIGIPAK top to bottom, left to right: inside back, inside front, back cover, front cover.

^OUR DIGIPAK top to bottom, left to right: inside back, inside front, back cover, front cover.

Click on image to view our website

Click on image to open our band website in new window

My name is Kayvon Nabijou (0610). My production group number is 1 and I am working with Gavin Fraser (0245), Mahalia John (0345) and Alice Cahill (0130). This blog can be navigated by using the labels list on the right hand side of the blog.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

[1] - In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?

When creating our three artefacts, we looked at lots of existing media texts to establish a set of conventions used for each artefact. We then decided whether to conform to or to break these conventions.

Music Video

We looked at the conventions of music videos, especially those that fall under the category of indie and indie-rock when in the early stages of considering the concept and style of our video. We used a 'Dog is Dead' track called 'Talk through the Night' as the song on which we based our music video. Our video is part performance, part conceptual. Our steal-o-matic features 12 videos that we took inspiration from, but below are the 5 music videos that influenced us the most:

'Girls' - The 1975

'Love is on the Radio' - Mcfly

'Still into You' - Paramore

'Ain't it Fun' - Paramore

'Just one of the Guys' - Jenny Lewis

Below is a reference video showing where our references influenced our video.

Genre Conventions

When identifying the conventions of our music video that we would conform to or break, we looked at Andrew Goodwin's theory on music videos, in which he states that there are aspects of music videos that suggest genre-specific characteristics. We conformed to a number of the characteristics of an indie music video, so that it would be recognisable to the audience, as well as breaking some conventions to make our video original and interesting.

Conventions that we conformed to

Performance Shots

We found that most indie/indie-rock music videos will have dedicated a large chunk to performance shots of the band with their instruments, lip syncing and playing the song. This is perhaps as the actual music is often a core part of the band/artist's identity, and so gives the audience an insight into their character. It is also often to try and reflect how they might be seen live, perhaps to persuade audiences to buy tickets to their gigs, which is a key source of income. Our main influences when considering our performance shots were The 1975, Mcfly and George Ezra, shown below.

how we used performance shots in our own video

Visual Hooks & Beauty Shots

A music video will often contain a large number of shots in which the band/artist features. From an institutional point of view, this is to increase exposure of the star(s) and to strengthen the band identity. Initially, we had very few 'beauty shots' in our music video (tightly framed shots of the band), but our final cut contained a few beauty shots. Our main influences for these were The 1975 (Matt Healy) and George Ezra.

beauty shots in our music video
visual hooks in our music video

Star Identity

Creating a star identity and a personality for our band members was a convention that we had to follow, as it would conform to the expectations of our audience to be able to 'understand' the band. Our idea was that Pilgrim would be a cool, laid back, approachable and playful band, taking influence from bands such as Vampire Weekend, Mcfly, Paramore and Dog is Dead.

We also created individual personalities for each of the band members:

Scott - leader of the band, cool, confident, modest. Influences: Robert Milton (Dog is Dead), Dan Croll, George Ezra.

Michael - Most fun member of the group, laid back, playful. Influences: Daniel Harvey (Dog is Dead).

Ash - Quirky, cool, tomboy. Influences: Hayley Williams (Paramore).

The fact that we have a female member in our band is, to me, very important in appealing to certain groups in our audience, as I will explain below.

Conventions that we broke

Complex Narrative

Lots of indie music videos have a complex narrative, and the video will often revolve around this narrative. We chose to break this convention as the themes evident in our song are very simple and conceptual - nostalgia. We felt that a visual progression would work better for our video than a narrative progression, and so wouldn't draw the audience away from the main message we were trying to convey. Examples of existing videos with dominating narratives are 'From Nowhere' by Dan Croll, 'I'm not the only one' by Sam Smith and 'My Hero' by Foo Fighters.

Dan Croll - 'From Nowhere'
Sam Smith - 'I'm not the only one'
Foo Fighters - 'My Hero'

Diegetic sound

A lot of our reference videos have diegetic sound, often at the start of the video as a type of introduction. We found that this isn't a stock convention as it does not appear in enough videos, but it is not uncommon of an indie music video. It is often a consequence of videos that have a dominating narrative, such as 'Blame it on Me' by George Ezra. Another example of the use of diegetic sound is 'Girls' by The 1975.


We again chose to break this for a similar reason to that of a dominating narrative - we felt that it didn't particularly fit with our video, as we were almost embodying our child selves in the video and so were more like conceptual characters.

All-Male Band

The number of all-male indie bands vastly outnumber those that have female members. By having a female member in our band, we thought that this would increase our audience reach to more female indie fans, as well as making our band image more individual.
The XX is an example of an indie band with a female member.

Music Video Conventions

Post-modern References

Post-modern referencing in a music video is when popular culture or other texts are knowingly referenced. According to Goodwin, many music videos have post-modern references in them for various effects, such as creating layers of meaning in the video. We used many references to iconography from the 90s, which some of our core and secondary audiences would relate to from their childhood, creating a feeling of nostalgia. Below are some of the post-modern references we included:
  • Nintendo 64
  • Slinky
  • Hula hoops
  • Jenga
  • 3D glasses
  • Monopoly
  • Twister
  • VHS tapes
Below is a Padlet that shows how we have been inspired from iconography from our childhood.

We also made reference to an existing music video - 'Make it Rain' by Fat Joe and Lil Wayne. We parodied the video by using monopoly money instead of real money, strengthening the childlike, innocent themes of our video.

shot from 'Make it Rain'

parody in our video
Relation of music and lyrics to visuals

Goodwin says that the visuals of music videos often relate closely to the music and lyrics of the song that the music video accompanies. He also says that these visuals can either illustrate, amplify and contradict the music and lyrics. When illustrated, the visuals strengthen the surface message of the song. When amplifying, the visuals add another layer of meaning to the song that may have otherwise not be noticed. When contradicting, the visuals can thwart the main message of the song by providing contradicting visuals to put the opposite message in the viewers mind.

We chose to illustrate the music and lyrics with our visuals. This is because the main message we wanted to bring out was already clear in the lyrics, that of growing up and nostalgia, which we illustrated with the band playing with toys from their childhood.

Below are two music videos that contain illustrative visuals.

Sam Smith - I'm not the only one
"You and me we made a vow,
for better or for worse"
Taylor Swift - Blank Space
"Screaming, crying, perfect storms"

"And we're getting older"
This is illustrative as it shows the band now not playing with the toys as they should be, as if the band have grown out of the toys' uses, which illustrates the lyrics.


According to Simon Frith, music videos are either performance, narrative of conceptually based, or a combination of any of these three.


This is when a large part of the video is the band or artist either playing with instruments or lip-syncing. Indie videos almost all will have part performance and will be a performance-narrative or performance-concept hybrid, or a mix of all three. Purely performance is quite rare. Examples of these hybrids are shown below.

Mcfly - Love is on the Radio
The 1975 - Girls


This is when there is a narrative story throughout the video, often illustrating the lyrics. Again, it is rare to have a purely narrative video, although in a narrative hybrid, the narrative is often very dominant in the video. Examples of these are shown below.

Sam Smith - I'm not the only one

Dan Croll - From Nowhere


This is when the visuals set up themes for the audience to interpret themselves. These illustrate the lyrics and music, and can often amplify them to open the song up to new meanings. Examples of these are shown below.

Liars - Mess on a Mission
MGMT - Kids

Our own video was a performance-concept hybrid. We had two main 'parts' of our video - one part was the band performing and lip-syncing, and the other was the band playing with toys from their childhood, conveying themes of friendship and nostalgia. This may appeal more to our secondary audience (16-24 year olds), as they will have grown up in a similar time and so would be able to relate to some of the items, creating a sense of understanding and community.

Conceptual parts of our video
Performance parts of our video


According to Carol Vernallis, editing can either be made to draw attention to shot changes for various effects, or can be subtle, cutting to the beat. An example of a video cutting to the beat for effect is Take is as it Comes by J. Roddy Walston & The Business.

The majority of our editing is subtle as we want the viewer to be focusing on what is happening in the shot. There are some places where we have used jump cuts to increase pace.

A clear example in an existing text is 'Everybody Have Fun Tonight' by Wang Chung.

Overlaid Text

Our music video ends with 'Pilgrim' overlaid on the final shot. This gives the video a clear ending, as we felt we didn't have one initially.

Examples of real music videos featuring overlaid text are 'Blame it on Me' by George Ezra and 'Teenage Daughter' by Dog is Dead.

Multiple Identities

According to David Gauntlett, modern identity is fluid and can be altered in many ways. Artists in music videos can have multiple identities that they can take on to appeal to different audiences, and to make a point or get a message across. An example of an existing music video that incorporates this is 'Don't Stop' by 5 Seconds of Summer. In this video, the cool, serious musicians are shown, as well as a childish version of them in superhero costumes.

We did this in our video in a similar way, by representing ourselves as serious musicians, as well as a playful, approachable band who are reminiscing about their childhood.

Digipak Cover

Below is a Prezi that outlines how we decided to construct our digipak, and what conventions we considered while doing this.


Participatory Culture

When constructing our website, we took Henry Jenkins' participatory culture theory into consideration. According to Jenkins, members of a group may 'believe that their contributions matter' and they feel a 'degree of social connection with one another'. This was a convention to promote, so we conformed to this.

Form and Layout

Our main influences for the form and layout of our website were the websites of Rizzle Kicks, The 1975, Dan Croll and Dog is Dead. We were fairly conventional with our layout, as it makes the website easy to navigate and approachable for viewers.

We kept a consistent banner and menu at the top of every page, to anchor the brand and so that viewers can jump from page to page in a non-linear fashion. We also contained typical pages such as 'bio', 'tour', 'videos', 'gallery' and 'store'. We chose not to have a 'news' page that many websites do have, as our home page acts as a news page as it is fed in with Twitter and Instagram posts that feature news.

Other websites that feature this include Rizzle Kicks and The 1975.

We also feature institutional info at the bottom of each page:

On the whole, I think we have been fairly conforming when considering the conventions surrounded with our 3 products. We chose to break a select few conventions to create an individual, original image and product.