Introduction to me

My name is Shayam Utting, 9163, and I am in group 1 with Amber Mota, 9114, and Alistair Price, 9137.

To navigate your way around my blog, please use the labels below; A2 Research and Planning, A2 Construction and A2 Evaluation.

'Trip Switch' by Come What May

The outside of our album cover

The outside of our album cover
Front of Our Digipak


The Inside of Our Digipak
Our website, please click on it to access.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Question 1: In what way does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?

My three media products use, develop and challenge the forms and conventions of real media products. Despite occasionally breaking conventions, our products are designed to provide pleasure to our target audience and keep the viewer engaged in our band.

Music Video:

Our music video follows typical alternative rock video conventions as it is a combination of performance and concept. According to Simon Frith, music videos can be categorised by three typologies; concept, performance and narrative. Audiences easily recognise these three categories and they use them to place music videos within these categories to help strengthen the brand identity. 


Goodwin says that the video is a visual response to the music which I agree with, particularly for rock bands as the music almost always draws attention to the use of instruments and many rock fans love the performance aspect hence I found that the majority of them go to concerts. To be classed as a performance video there must be the use of lip-sync, instrumentals, dance and/or clips from concerts. 
One of the reasons why performance shots of our band playing is crucial is because it helps maintain/develop a relationship between the audience and the band. This was then supported by You Me at 6 - Lived a Lie - as there are many shots of Josh (the front man) singing into the camera, very similar to how Luke sang in Trip Switch. These performance shots solidify our band's identity and image. Another common convention for rock band's performance videos is that they can often be in black and white, or in the gif below for You Me at 6 the saturation is at a minimum, creating an eerie, yet cool, effect.


By including conceptual elements to our music video, we developed the forms and conventions of an indie-rock music video. However, it is not completely uncommon as PVRIS - a hard rock band - created an entirely conceptual music video, amplified by the use of black and white and editing techniques. 

The key features of a conceptual music video is to include lots of symbolism and visual imagery. I decided to use progression throughout our conceptual aspect of our music video as this keeps the audience fascinated in our music video and highlights the issue we are trying to raise - that technology is slowly taking over. 

As in conceptual music videos, the idea and themes are quite ambiguous and leave it up to the audience to interpret what is going. For this reason I decided to leave our music video with an open ending of paper falling to the floor in an eerily empty space.
Stuart Hall developed the encoding/decoding model of communication, stating that meaning is polysemic depending on the social context. Because of this I thought that our theme of technology taking over was a very current issue as the proliferation in technology is immense. This is the dominant message we wanted to create, however I also think that the lyrics could cause the reader to resist this message and modify it to think that the song was possibly about lust - 'what do we do when the lights go out?'.

Including both performance and conceptual aspects of our music video allowed the audience to have a 'preferred' reading to our music video and we therefore met the ideologies of our target audience.

Genre characteristics:

Goodwin implies that music videos demonstrate genre characteristics however by creating a performance-concept hybrid we broke conventions of typical rock videos. This being said, we also included many generic signifiers of the rock genre after having looked at similar rock band's music videos. 

  • Many rock bands, such as Red Hot Chilli Peppers and The Beatles, shoot their performance shots on rooftops in order to be simple yet iconic.  

Click Five - Just the Girl
We followed this convention and shot on a rooftop in central London at night which was really exciting - not just for us but also for our audience. Shooting on a rooftop has 'cool' and 'dangerous' connotations, common for rock bands. This supported Blumer and Katz' theory as it gratified our audiences with personal identity if they were from the region and with diversion to escape their own lives if they were from elsewhere.
Shot of our drummer (above)
and Bring Me The Horizon
  • Another very common convention is to have close-ups on the instruments, usually in a rock music video these will be on the guitars and drums. These shots are used to anchor the genre and to help the audience identify each instrument with the band member, thus letting them develop their interest with the band.
A shot from Trip Switch of myself
playing the guitar.

  • Black and white is a very common generic signifier for indie-rock videos and popular bands like Arctic Monkeys and The 1975 have many music videos in black and white - in fact this is a recognisable feature of their band identity and is synergistic with their other products. 
Arctic Monkeys - Arabella
We therefore edited our performance shots to black and white in order to follow convention and become easily identifiable. 

  • Vernallis said that when it comes to shot types, extremes are very common and the style of framing and movement can run throughout the video. Within the rock genre, the camera often moves to the beat of  the song as there is always a strong drum beat that is easily cut to. We used master shots to establish the setting and all of the band members and we used these frequently in order to put emphasis on our rock band as opposed to just one singer - which is uncommon for the rock genre. 
  • We followed the conventions of music videos by creating and emphasising our band's identity, influenced by Richard Dyer's theory on star identity. 
Please click on the Cincopa below to look at the other member's identity's and inspiration.


  • Our band shows diversity within the genders as we were trying to achieve a post-feminist effect by having two female members alongside two male members. This is quite unusual for indie rock bands as they are normally all male members or the female is the lead singer, but rarely is there more than one female member. 

Bombay Bicycle Club
All Time Low
Tonight Alive
Below I have explained some of my reasoning behind our characterisation - particularly for the female members as we chose to challenge the voyeuristic treatment of the female body.

  • It is common for rock videos to utilise grey scale and pastel tones in order to reflect the band's passion and deep emotions. They also often have very high contrast, after discovering this in my research I found some rock videos that had infinite white scenes that created an eerie atmosphere.  We therefore followed in suit, taking inspiration from the following videos;
Police - Every Breath You Take 
The Correspondants - What Happened To Soho?
The 1975 - Chocolate
Avril Lavigne - Smile
However our music video was quite unconventional as most alternative rock videos don't have the black and white set-ups with infinite white set ups in the same video.

Visual hooks & Iconography:

  • As many famous rock bands have shot performances on rooftops in order to gain publicity and create new, unusual and interesting shots. 

  • Red Hot Chilli Peppers
    The Beatles

    This also anchored our band's British identity as we shot on a rooftop in central London however I think we should have anchored this idea further by taking more establishment shots and shots of British landmarks.

    • Goodwin states that the demands of the record label will 'include the need for close-ups of the artists', this also consists of beauty shots and/or visual hooks. We conformed to this idea by including beauty shot sof Luke as the lead singer is nearly always the focus of a rock band's music video, however we developed this convention by including close-ups of all of the band members, as you can see below. 

    This not only gave us a variety of shots for the music video but also portrayed each of the members as equal in terms of importance. The majority of our performance did include Luke though - from a variety of angles and shot types in order to keep the video interesting and give a face to our music.

    • Another large part of Come What May's identity is the iconographic use of technology, carried across my other products as well. This makes our band easily identifiable. 


    Goodwin stated that there were often intertextual references which supported Julia Kristeva who stated that 'media texts aren't isolated entities' and that all texts are somehow combined and linked to one another. I think that although my music video was not very obvious with our intertextual references, I have made a prezzi to demonstrate how we were. 


    Vernallis says that the editing of a music video often matches the beat of the music and differs drastically from film as it will break or disrupt many continuity rules. However, we only have one example of continuity throughout our music video (shown below) and this was to demonstrate the power of Luke's anger - the audience are persuaded to shift their concentration from the real world and to suspend their disbelief of a fictional world as Luke throws paper from one set into another.

    Music videos deliberately achieve discontinuity by using jump cuts and disjointed edits, shown in Bloc Party's video 'Truth' (right). I think that we followed the convention and demonstrated it well. The way we edited our music video helped emphasise Luke's confusion and frustration and allowed this emotion to be replicated within the audience as they identify with a fictional world and its inhabitants, thus they are emotionally drawn in. 
    By jumping between compositions we reinforced this discontinuous effect and grabbed our audience's attention, making them think about what the video is trying to show. We did this in our video as we quickly cut between the paper scene to the rooftop, especially in our choruses. In the final chorus the wires act as a constant throughout all the havoc Luke is causing, this challenges the convention of editing disrupting th enarrative flow as the wires infact anchor our technology theme. I think this worked to our advatage as it over-powered the disrupted the editing and helped the audience realise the power of technology. 

    Vernallis also said that 'extremes are typical' and I thing our music video portrays this as we cut from close-ups with Luke screaming into the camera, to long shots of him seeming helpless and small in comparison to the infinite white. We also included extreme changes in pace, in the verses the tempo was much more slower and the progression kept the audience's attention however in the choruses the cuts are much faster and this sudden change in tempo shocks the audience and captures their attention. This is a very common convention and Sleeping with Sirens also sped up their editing in their chorus for The Strays.

    Lyrics, Music and Visuals:

    Our music video is very subjective which is unconventional for a rock band, this is portrayed through our use of visuals. Goodwin suggests that the images in a music video illustrate, amplify or contradict the music/lyrics and this is what distinguishes music videos from other media forms.
    Our song contains themes of;

    • Confusion
    • Frustration
    • Helplessness
    • Passion
    The visuals in our song, particularly when referencing technology, illustrate and amplify our lyrics and music as seen in this video below. However I think that our video could have more than one interpretation as lust and passion could be a theme we are trying to connote so I have also included references to lyrics about love. By not visually showing aspects of Luke's love we contradict the lyrics.

    'You can sharpen your knife' - Hozier - Take Me To Church.


    We conformed to the forms and conventions of album covers by including various different features such as the record label, bar code and focal image. We drew inspiration and references from Fall Out Boy's album Take This To Your Grave (below).

    I took inspiration from a large range of different album covers but I mainly looked at the rock genre. I think that it is important to have images of our band members on the front of our album as it helps the audience form and develop a relationship (Blumer and Katz) with our band, thus buying into more of our products. Below are four of the most influential album covers I looked at.

    Indie albums often have a lot of similarities between the front and back cover, for example the font is the same and so is the colour scheme.

    After researching other album covers I found that it is often common to have images of the band in the inside. Normally this image is of all the band members together however we thought that we would develop this convention after being inspired by some other album covers, seen below.

    Our other album cover was influenced predominantly by Joy Divisions album cover as we all liked the idea of words connoting what our band is about. We then developed this to put lyrics from our song as the background, we made it look quite messy and care-free as this reflects our band's attitude.

    Michael Jackson's album art.
    Although many indie bands often name their albums after their band we chose to create synergy between our music video and act as a motif as it is called 'No Signal' which has technological connotations. This was emphasized by the static background - Album art is used as a form of promotion and to help clearly identify who the artist is and what genre they are - the technological theme of our band is very quirky and quite gritty which reflects our indie-rock genre. This technology theme anchors our band image. This can be seen with many albums, including Michael Jacksons (to the right).


    Our band's website is synergistic with our album cover and creates a strong sense of brand across our products - using our motifs and visuals to their full potential; black and white colour scheme, the band logo on every page as well as the same font. The website is the main hub for our band and is a platform used to reach current and modern audiences. The website is used to gratify fans in a variety of ways as it allows them to find out more information and generates excitement. 

    Wednesday, 13 January 2016

    Question 2: How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts?

    My main product worked effectively with my ancillary texts in order to create a strong brand identity through the use of synergy and a cross-platform marketing campaign. I found that there were many band marketing campaigns that influenced me when creating three products that worked symbiotically, in particular Panic! At the Disco.

    The aim of this project was to persuade audiences to spend their money, therefore each element promotes another through a synergistic, time-limited campaign. Below I have created a timeline of typical promotion used for Panic! At the Disco.

    I then looked at All Time Low's campaign to see how synergistic it is and how I can follow in suit with my project. 
    All Time Low created synergy between their new album and their website in particular which was great for promotion and publicity for the band's first #1 album debut. 

    Richard Dyer's star theory suggests that to be successful and have a lasting significance, artists and bands must have individual characteristics and be 'constructed out of a range of materials' to appeal to their target audience. I have created a word cloud to reflect our band's identity, shown below.

    Below is a padlet I created to further demonstrate our band's identity and how our music video and website have helped show how we have constructed this.

    Created with Padlet

    To reinforce this brand identity we decided to include three main synergistic features across all three of our platforms and I have created a prezzi to demonstrate these. 

    Our album:

    The website:

    Our website was very useful when incorporating technological convergence and social media links to market our band as Henry Jenkins states that social connectivity and being able to share what the audience finds is crucial.

    We created symbiotic partnerships with institutions that are popular with our target audience in order to broaden our reach and appeal. 

    Flashback records is popular with fans of the indie and rock genre and is known for hosting signings so will recieve positive publicity. All of our venues are popular amongst our TA, particularly university students. The O2's main demographic is 18-30 year olds which is ideal for our band.

    It is very common for bands - particularly small indie bands - to try to raise awareness about their band by having signings, touring and having interviews. However, large mainstream bands, such as One Direction, also do this to appeal to their TA effectively.

    We also have a Band page where our target audience can get to know more about each of our band members which will gratify their desires and interests about the band according to Blumer and Katz' theory.

    This is synergistic with our album cover which allowed the audience to identify with each band member individually. The website develops their need to find out more about the members.

    We made sure that our website was as interactive as possible so that our fans enjoy using our website as it is more interesting and fun, gratifying their entertainment needs. 

    1) Using technological convergence, we included videos on our website which our TA could watch without having to exit or leave our website. 

    2) We allowed the fans to keep up-to-date with all our news by posting photos to our news page. Panic! At the Disco posted very similar photos that were funny and quirky - reflecting their band image. We then decided to post a festive photo of two of our band members to entertain and interact with our fans, creating a more personal feel to our website. However I edited the photo so that it was in black and white so that it was still synergistic with our other platforms. 

    3) After interviewing members of our TA I decided that it would be a good idea to add a timer so that they could have a live countdown to when the album will be released. This was very fun and kept the audience anticipating the release of our album. 
    4) On our homepage was a widget that allowed them to view our instagram without having to sign in or open the app. This allows our TA an insight into our band members lives, encouraging them to like and follow our bands social media pages. 
     At the bottom of all of our pages we included links to all of our other social media pages. To the left I have shown how similar this is to Panic! At The Disco's website and how they advertised their social media.

    We also included multiple purchasing opportunities on our website to allow our TA to buy into our product.

    1) Our TA are encouraged to buy merchandise from our website where we sell various products and we have labelled whether the product is on sale or new.

    2) Our tour is promoted on our homepage and we have a seperate page, shown in our header, where tickets are available to buy. When clicking 'Book Tickets' a new page will load which is very professional.

    3) Our album is advertised on our home page, our news page and on our merch page. This repetition raises awareness and makes the audience want to buy the album as it is always on their mind. 

    We also advertised our album release on our social media pages as I was aware that fans would not always check our official website but would use social media almost every day. This is very similar to The 1975 who use Facebook to keep their fans updated.