What happens when you combine three musically gifted nerds, some shopping money and a full play day? If the nerds are Oliver Hindle, Steve Brunton, and Jaylyn Coffin of Superpowerless, you get an 8-bit cover of Poker Face.
Oliver emailed me Sunday afternoon with a link to this video. I had no idea what to expect but was immediately thrilled that he’d finally provided me with a nerd-approved way to justify enjoying a Lady Gaga song.
I first heard about Superpowerless back in March when Oliver won the MTV Fast Track contest and was flown to London to work with Luc Janin, who previously directed promos for Stereophonics, The Fratellis, Boy Kill Boy and Lethal Bizzle, on the video for “Wasted My Time.”
Based in Leeds, England, the live band now includes Oliver Hindle (the curly haired dude/lead), Steve Brunton (the dude in the beard), Tom Hunter, Jaylyn Coffin (who directed the Poker Face video) and Stevey Gilkes.
The first time I played the Superpowerless Lady Gaga cover, I laughed my ass off, but I wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing some deeper meaning to the video. Did the bearded man represent the dark side of Oliver’s personality? Did the lightsaber battle represent a daily struggle? I asked Oliver. Turns out, the only big message they wanted to convey was how much fun it can be when you’re part of Superpowerless, “The beard was a spur of the moment thing,” he said. “We decided to shoot a video… went in to town… had no plans at all and just went shopping to see what we could find that would make an entertaining video… Found the lightsabers and the beard and the rest is history! [laughs]”
The entire video was shot in one day in Leeds. Some scenes didn’t make it to the final cut, like the one where Oliver and Steve managed to lightsaber their way into the cinema and in front of the screen where they battled for an epic 10 seconds before getting kicked out. Sadly, the footage was too dark to make it to the video, so you’ll just have to use your imagination to picture the audience’s reaction to that one.
It seems that, above all, Superpowerless just wants to have fun. Last time I chatted with Oliver, he was in the process of setting it up a PlayStation dance mat to trigger samples from a laptop and he’s getting closer to the finished product, “Tom Hunter took apart a Guitar Hero controller and a really expensive Japanese guitar and then put all of the guitar hero controls in to the real guitar,” Oliver said, “One of his friends has it at the moment to cover it in LED’s which will interact with which buttons are pressed and the music that it makes! Tom’s also got a mohawk which the LED guy has created a headband for which lets Tom fill his mohawk with LEDs which change color along with the guitar…. pretty mental stuff!” Sweeet. I’ve always got mad respect for creatives who come up with fun ideas and actually have enough focus and dedication to make them happen.
You can expect to see more videos from Superpowerless over the next few months. In fact, here’s one that just went live yesterday for one of Oliver’s original songs “Press Start and Jump Around.” Shot by band member Tom Hunter, this is the result of a drunken promise and a £0 budget. “It was filmed entirely in a tiny shed, with us wearing suits in the space of 3 hours. We decided it’d be funny to shoot a video in a shed the night before while drunk and then he couldn’t back out of it so we made him do it the day after. [laughs]“The “Press Start and Jump Around” video features Oliver Hindle, Steve Brunton, Jaylyn Coffin and Tom Hunter (who also directed.)
If you’d like to get your hands on some Superpowerless tracks, you can download them for free from his page on TheSixtyOne.com. If you’re ready make your own Game Boy-fueled adventure-core music, Oliver uses a program called Little Sound DJ for the Game Boy and digital synths to create those retro, video-gamey sounds.