Awkward dancing, creepy breathing and just plain weird antics from Bowie, Jagger and Presley to name a few… We chat with the man behind the magic of Musicless Musicvideos, YouTube sensation Mario Wienerroither.
Stripped of their original audio and remixed with reimagined sound effects and noises corresponding to the action, Wienerroither transforms classic pop music videos into ridiculous scenes where bands and musicians appear like strange, drunk people who you’d avoid in the street.
Occasionally uncomfortable but always humorous to watch, Wienerroither’s editing somehow mutates any sense of cool, into try-hard, jarring spasms and awkward squeaky footsteps, accompanied by bizarre human grunts, sneezes, slurps and giggles.
It all started back in 1997, with a trailer for Men In Black. “Back in the 90s before university, I experimented a lot, making trailers, music videos and movies all without music and computer game trailers with new sound,” he says.
After university, he came back to experimenting after seeing Queen’s I Want to Break Free on TV with the sound muted. His final musicless version plays on the domestic element of the action, and is even more surreal than the original.
Narrative and location variation are important when it comes to choosing videos for the Musicless project – elements that help him to achieve more obscure results, where ambient sounds and actions are sharply cut. The musician’s performance is also key, with any cool or edgy vibe quickly turning into something more ominous or simply laughable.
Check out Prodigy vocalist Keith Flint’s flailing body with added signature sneezing in Breathe and Firestarter; Elvis Presley’s aggressive on the spot scuffling and giggling in Blue Suede Shoes; and Bowie and Jagger – two serious dudes – completely losing it in Dancing in the Street, grunting and sidestepping as though they are in some kind of dodgy workout video.
Almost all of the sound effects are created by Wienerroither himself, working from a personal sound library that he has created over the last few years. When recording outside he uses a Tascam DR-100 field recorder, and in the studio he has a range of instruments, but says that the most important aspect is the editing software (Cakewalk Sonar) and various audio plugins.
“As soon I have the sounds on my computer the real creative work begins (since I record every sound several times and have to sort everything out), then I watch the video, and decide which sounds may fit best,” he says. “There’s always more than 200 single sample snippets per project, with multiple sound effect plugins running simultaneously over them.”
Aside from the musicless projects, Wienerroither also produces sound design and music for films, ads, computer games and bands (through his company Digitalofen Audiobakery). And he’s also recently been working on a new Silentless Movies project, adding sound and bits of dialogue to silent films.
“With Nosferatu I wanted to start this new Silentless Movies project. Since almost no-one watches silent movies anymore, I thought this would be a good way to make them somehow attractive for a younger audience again,” he says. “My first one would have been a Charlie Chaplin movie, which I finished three months ago, but I couldn’t get the permission to broadcast it as Chaplin’s movies may only be accompanied by the full symphonic score and nothing else.”
Response on YouTube to his work has been pretty immense so far, with many of the videos hitting over 1.5m views each, snd some only having been up for a month or so. But he’s yet to hear from anyone featured so far: “It’s a pity, but no. I hope they aren’t offended,” he says.