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PREMIERE: Advertising 101: Free Shit from Mathas

We all love free shit. From useful things like mini bottles of shampoo or pizza delivery, to more unnecessary things like Mx or The Bible. If it won’t cost you anything you know you’ll take it and judge later. The truth is we live in a world where consumerism is the thing that dictates our behaviour. Even the majority of our public holidays are steeped in the idea that you have to buy stuff to truly celebrate. Usually when this is expressed in music videos it can come across as a little crass. After all, isn’t music something we are also sold? Unless you’re talking about Free Shit from Mathas.

Mathas Free Shit premiere

How susceptible to advertising are you? Free Shit from Mathas seeks to get to the bottom of this phenomenon with the help of a brilliant video from COMBS.

Things have been on the up and up for the Perth based emcee. He’s had several singles break the juggernaut that is triple J, has signed a deal with Sydney-based record label Big Village Records and is set to release his sophomore record Armwrestling Atlas in October. In anticipation for that release Mathas has revealed the clip for his latest single Free Shit, and man it is a good one. Funnily enough the video didn’t come from Mathas or one of his collaborators. It was made by Perth visual artist Tristan Garner, otherwise known as COMBS.

The video began life as a fan clip of COMBS’, using black and white television advertising form the 1940s and 1950s. “I saw Mathas recently and was blown away” said COMBS. “The latest track came out featuring two very talented Perth locals I also enjoy and I thought I’d try making a little video for it. I had some cool old footage I thought would work and just started mucking about with it.” He cut the footage together in his spare time and sent it to Mathas, who upon seeing it knew he had to use the clip as the official video.

The clip is very clever in its use of footage. Obvious praise goes to how it is used in conjunction with the message of Free Shit, a narrative concerned with the severe hold consumerism has on people. What is particularly powerful is the choice to use footage from the 1940s ad 1950s. This was an era when television as a medium was so fresh to the public consciousness. It connected the world to the average family’s living room. The Beatles, the moon landing and many more were witnessed through the majesty of television. Likewise the advertising used was full of that same hope and optimism.

Used against Free Shit, those smiling faces bear a new face of cynicism and irony. COMBS ups the ante by manipulating the footage in subtle ways. There are several times he’ll change the speed of the footage, dramatising the events playing out, or blurring the picture for the same effect. It lends the video a creepy vibe, the greedy and hedonistic nature of our society laid out in our past.

Mathas will no doubt be playing a run of shows once Armwrestling Atlas is released in October. Until then you can catch him in Brisbane for BIGSOUND in September.