Julian Munyard on the symbiotic relationship between music, art, and video

“The importance of pairing music with good art and video is one that cannot be stressed enough,” Julian Munyard says. 

Earlier this year, we were treated to two singles from Queensland pop maestro Julian Munyard. The first, a discotheque and relentlessly groovy track titled Radio, would be an impressive effort in its own right, but when accompanied by its official music video, the single becomes a whole other statement entirely. 

Creatively directed by Munyard, Jonty Brown and Bakani Kombanie, Radio’s visual companion is every bit as kaleidoscopic as the track itself, and follows Munyard as he cooks breakfast in an eccentric cottage before hosting a group of choreographed choir boys. Such a dazzling clip is perhaps to be expected from Munyard, who speaks with Happy Mag about the “importance of pairing music with good art and video.” 

Julian Munyard single 'Radio'

Below, Julian Munyard shares his thoughts on the necessity of visuals as part of musical artistry, and recounts how this belief bleeds into his own work. Catch Munyard’s full observations below, and scroll down to listen to his latest singles Radio and Baby It’s You.

The importance of visuals by Julian Munyard. 

One might say “Seeing is believing” or “That guy was a visionary!” Words that seem normal, but really prove how much we as humans value visuals. The eyes are a gift that allow us to translate the world. 

They give us understanding, or at least perceived understanding, for often what we see is coloured with our own experience. Visuals give us something to hold onto, something to remember. The ears on the other hand soak up the things our eyes miss. 

Julian Munyard single 'Radio'

I can hear the music without seeing it, and the bird that sings in the highest tree – I don’t know what it looks like. Sound is formless, it doesn’t exist in one place. So when we pair the two there is a beautiful bond of sound and vision. 

Which brings me to my point, the importance of pairing music with good art and video is one that cannot be stressed enough, and can quite easily be the selling point of a record.

Julian’s masterful use of visuals can be seen in the music video for his 2021 single Don’t You Love Me Yet. Watch that below.

Another great example is David Byrne and St. Vincent in this clip:

I’m a great fan of simple videos that are well thought out. I sometimes wonder how we would feel if one day we were completely cut off from mainstream media, instagram, television, radio. Would we feel alone? Have we become attached to the point where we feel like a part of ourselves is missing when one of these things is absent? 

One of my recent singles Radio has a message like this but it comes through as quite comedic, and the visuals match that. It’s a heavy topic which is why I approach it tongue n cheek, it’s where we are now and I’m observing, not telling people how to live.

I would recommend The Medium is The Massage by Marshall McLuhan, it’s an excellent read from 1967 about media and the world of information we have stumbled into. 

Baby It’s You doesn’t speak loudly, it’s just a song. I’ve had that attitude towards writing recently, making songs that aren’t “loud” in rhetoric, but just exist. I went through a dry spot of writing last year, it was rough and I just want to make as much music as I can now. 

I always think of Talking Heads and how they recorded their album Talking Heads: 77 in 2 weeks and the following week it was mixed – many albums have been done this way and I love that approach. Write the songs – most importantly try to write good songs, do the recording and embrace the sound that comes out.

That’s half the creative work done, now pair it with some real visuals, because the art and world around the music is the key. But this much is true for me, with or without sound and vision – “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” — 1 Corinthians 2:9 

Enjoy the ride.