For a local musician, animator and director, making music videos has become a fitting intersection of his passions.
Hazleton artist Tedd Hazard was recently commissioned to create an animated video for the song “Pulp” by Harrisburg alternative punk-rock band The Twindows. The project made its debut at the end of October, and Hazard is excited about the result.
The intense, politically-charged track inspired a string of characters, based on real-world figures in politics and current events, who inhabit the video with symbiotic relevance and humor.
Hazard, 31, said he ventured into music videos earlier this year after completing a season of his animated series, “Krust Toons,” for which he has become known both locally and in larger circles that encompass his musical and filmmaking communities.
“While I was finishing up season three of ‘Krust Toons,’ Matt Pless reached out to me,” Hazard said of the Baltimore, Md.,-based folk punk musician. “He was producing with (DIY film company) Shibby Pictures. They were doing a music video for a song, and Matt said, ‘This needs something. Can you do some animation for me?’”
Hazard said he was hesitant at first, fearing that taking on video projects would cut into his already tight animation schedule, but he accepted the new challenge. And that willingness to try new things brought him to The Twindows.
Valerie LaCerra, who fronts The Twindows under the stage name Aster Grimm, dates Pless.
“She might have seen my work,” Hazard said. “She said, ‘Hey, do you think you’d want to do a music video for us?’ I was getting ready to do my next animated film, but it wasn’t fleshed out, and I wasn’t really feeling it.”
Hazard said he asked to hear the song to help him decide if he’d get involved.
“As soon as I heard the song, I was like, ‘Yeah, let me do this. I’m going to make this the best music video I’ve done.’”
Hazard is inspired by the work of animator Jhonen Vasquez (“Invader Zim”), production company Klasky Csupo (“Rugrats,” “Aahh!!! Real Monsters”) and stop motion successes Trey Parker and Matt Stone (“South Park”). He said he worked with LaCerra to create satirical characters like Orange Trump, a fruit-bodied version of the current U.S. commander in chief, and Breadie Sanders, a gingerbread-man representation of the liberal senator from Vermont.
The Sanders characterization was born out of LaCerra’s lyric “socialist gingerbread men,” Hazard said.
“A lot of it was writing on the spot,” he said. “We had all the pieces in place. I came up with crazy little things like Nazi toast. That was right around the Charlottsville, Va., marches, and I said, ‘We should have white pieces of bread holding Tiki torches. That’ll be (Orange Trump’s) army.’”
Hazard said he and LaCerra collaborated on all of the ideas for the video, which also includes LaCerra’s vision for having iconic commercial logos flash behind animated figures of the band while they play the song.
“Her message was corporations, at this point, run your everyday government,” Hazard said. “I think it sends a very powerful message to people who are tired of the way things are being run in this country.”
The artist, however, maintains that the message is not aimed at one political faction or ideology.
“We wanted to show that all politics … any side you take, you’re going to be wrong,” Hazard said. “It’s not pro Republican or pro Democrat.”
Hazard said he feels his work with The Twindows was the “chance of a lifetime,” and he has generated more music video work since the project’s release. He’s already committed to creating videos for Joe Billy, Eric Funn, Matthew Charles, Anthrophobia, King Kong Hates The Wolfman, and his own band, Condition Oakland.
“This is the perfect marriage of two things that have encompassed my entire life: animation and music,” Hazard said. “This is what I should be doing.”
Hazard also plans to release the fourth season of “Krust Toons” by the end of 2018.
Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651 or on Twitter @TimesLeaderMatt.