Music, Sound, and the Moving Image

Interview with Director Jonas Åkerlund

Music, Sound, and the Moving Image (2019), 13, (2), 231–244.

Abstract

This article features an interview with music video, film, and commercial director Jonas Åkerlund. Åkerlund has directed videos for many major pop and rock stars of the new millennium, including Beyoncé, Madonna, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, P!nk, David Guetta, Coldplay, and Lady Gaga. Over the course of his career, he has worked with a diverse range of artists in the music industry, such as heavy metal bands Candlemass and Metallica, punk and new wave artists Iggy Pop and Blondie, and industrial and alternative rock bands Rammstein and The Smashing Pumpkins. He is celebrated for his artistic vision, slick visual effects, and brilliant editing, and his work has received Grammys and MTV and MVPA awards. Åkerlund, having directed several films (from Spun [2002] to Polar [2019]) and many commercials (including for Lexus, Mercedes Benz, H&M, and Dior), is a true transmedia director. This interview pays special attention to two of his music videos (Lady Gaga’s ‘Paparazzi’ and Gaga’s and Beyoncé’s ‘Telephone’), as well as Åkerlund’s aesthetic techniques and strategies for working in media industries.

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References

Burns, Lori & Lafrance, Marc (2013) ‘Celebrity, Spectacle, and Surveillance: Understanding Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi” and “Telephone” through Music, Image, and Movement’. In: Iddon, Martin & Marshall, Melanie L. (eds). Lady Gaga and Popular Music: Performing Gender, Fashion, and Culture. Abingdon: Routledge, pp.117–147. Google Scholar

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Vernallis, Carol (2013a) ‘Storytelling on the Ledge: “Telephone” and “Paparazzi”’. In: Iddon, Martin & Marshall, Melanie L. (eds). Lady Gaga and Popular Music: Performing Gender, Fashion, and Culture. Abingdon: Routledge, pp.148–169. Google Scholar

Vernallis, Carol (2013b) Unruly Media: YouTube, Music Video, and the New Digital Cinema. New York: Oxford University Press. Google Scholar

Vernallis, Carol, Rogers, Holly & Perrott, Lisa (eds) (2019) Transmedia Directors: Artistry, Industry, and New Audiovisual Aesthetics. New York: Bloomsbury Academic Press. Google Scholar

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Author details

VERNALLIS, CAROL