This week in music news, it was announced that Ezra Koenig (of Vampire Weekend fame) has released Neo Yokio, an anime series he created, co-wrote and co-produced. Featuring the likes of Jaden Smith, Jude Law, Susan Sarandon, Jason Schwartzman, Steve Buscemi, Tavi Gevinson and more, it’s a project that’s been years in the making, with some serious names involved.
In a recent interview with Pitchfork, Koenig expressed that he “didn’t have a strong sense of what [he] wanted to express as a songwriter, lyricist, musician”, leading to his desire to try expressing himself differently.
After a decade of constantly challenging himself as a musician and creating 3 albums with Vampire Weekend, he felt it was time to challenge his creativity in other ways. Hence, the jump to writing for the screen.
But, it got me thinking… he’s not the first musician to move over to television and film.
Here, I’ve tried to list my favourite examples of musicians who’ve made the jump to TV or film, excluding soundtrack work. The only difference here is that the examples are of people who appear in front of the camera. Some serious, some cameo, but all good easter eggs for the musically-minded viewers.
Nothing will ever beat Kanye West’s appearances in Entourage or Anchorman 2, but here goes, anyway.
Lights, camera, action!
Yes, yes, I know… Bowie’s history on-screen is richer than this single pop-up in a BBC sitcom. He deserves his own post dedicated to his screen work. Labyrinth and The Man Who Fell to Earth spring to mind. But, this interview about his cameo appearance in Ricky Gervais’ Extras showcases his brilliant sense of humour; the original clip had me in stitches when I first saw it.
Prince invites Jess (Zooey Deschanel) round for coffee to share love advice. Because that’s what happens in New York. Celebrities meet up with the public for coffee all the time.
Amongst the awkward silence after being called ‘stupid’ and the force-feeding of a pancake, you can see that his dry delivery compliments this twee American sitcom.
Not sure if you’ve heard of this little-known show, but it’s apparently quite good. Set in a mythical kingdom with dragons and stuff, it also features heavily on musical cameos. Mastodon, Coldplay, Ed Sheeran, and Snow Patrol are amongst this list of Medieval easter eggs, but Sigur Ros’ appearance was a nice surprise. Extra marks to Jonsi for playing the world’s tiniest accordion with such skill.
Extra Curricular Viewing: