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Image for 25 years of rage: "We just want to show clips that are really entertaining"

25 years of rage: "We justwant to show clips that arereally entertaining"

As rage celebrates 25 years of being on the air, Carriageworks, the ABC and the Vivid Sydney Festival team have collaborated to bring Sydneysiders a unique audio-visual experience to celebrate this momentous milestone, cementing the program as the longest-running music video program of all time. FL spoke with Tyson Koh, rage’s producer and programmer, about the legacy and the impact that rage has held in its time on Australian television.

Does rage have a mission statement or a goal to work towards each week?
It’s hard to say. We don’t have a mission statement as such, but we do try and cover a lot of bases because we’ve got such a huge viewership. We want to keep everyone happy: we’ve got stuff that’s on the charts, we’ve got metal clips, we’ve got dance bands, indie bands. We just want to show clips that are really entertaining, that visually engaging, that are clever or funny. Ultimately, it’s to entertain and expose viewers to new and exciting music.

How many videos does rage get sent each week?
It’s really hard to tell, it changes from week to week. We like to give clips that we’re really passionate about more of a run, but there’s always new stuff that we have to juggle and try to fit into the show. Each week, we get sent anywhere between thirty and sixty clips. They come from major labels as well as independent sources. It’s difficult to fit all of it in. We have to work as curators, in a way, in order to play the clips we really love for a few weeks as well as all the new things that we get sent in. It’s quite a difficult task, really.

How much thought process goes into the order of the videos played, both visually and musically?
Quite a lot. We tend to have the videos that came in that week that we really love pushed towards the start of the show, but then we tend to really consider the flow of the show: who’s watching at the various times, and how things are flowing visually and musically. I really come at it from a music programmer’s perspective, because that’s what I was working on professionally before I actually got to rage. Having almost that DJ mentality is what I bring personally to the show. Some people might be watching for up to nine hours straight, so it’s a huge consideration for us.

If a terrible song has a great video – and vice versa – will it still get played on rage?
Absolutely. The clips that we show have to have something redeeming about it; it needs to have at least one box that we’re able to tick. If a song itself isn’t so great or original but its video clip is funny or engaging. Sometimes it could be really big budget, or something really charming that was done on a slight budget. There’s no set criteria in terms of what we show, but there definitely has to be something entertaining about it.

Why do you think that rage has lasted so long, especially with the rise of the internet and particularly YouTube?
I think it’s because it’s quite unique. We’ve always offered a space for really alternative and boundary-pushing videos, and we’ve always reflected what’s popular of the day. We also try and direct where the trends in which music video making are headed. While a lot of music video programs have come and gone, I think that rage has really stuck to its guns in a lot of ways. A lot of our older audience members really respect that, and a lot of our younger audience members are wowed by that.

There’s a couple of components that have contributed to the longevity of rage. There’s the guest programmers every Saturday, which are quite unique; and the Friday program, in which we put forward what we think are the best clips that are coming out at that time. With a lot of the independent local groups that might not necessarily have a large promotional budget, rage has always supported those kind of groups and given them an avenue to become a little more public. It’s become an icon in itself – coming home and watching rage late at night; or maybe you’re just stuck at home watching it. That’s a pretty good deal, if you ask me! [laughs] We’ve always put together a program that has really engaged people, and I guess the proof is in the pudding: We’re still on the air, and we’re planning to be for quite awhile longer.

It’s one of those shows that works really well with parallel viewing, so being able to watch it and be online, on Facebook or whatever, at the same time. It’s a kind of show that you don’t have to be 100% involved in order to enjoy it.

I think it’s one of those shows where you can either choose to watch it either actively or passively. At the same time, there’ll be some things that you see on the program that you won’t know about or that you wouldn’t have thought to look up. Even though, with the age of the internet, we have the capacity to look up any media that is available, you still need to know about it in the first place. If you’re not reading the right blogs or following the right things in your social media feed, then I think that rage is really great at showing things that you might not normally have seen or heard of.

How important do you think rage is to the Australian music scene?
I think it’s hugely important. I don’t think that’s lost any value. We offer a space for a lot more alternative bands and videos, as well as genres of music – stuff that more commercial outlets won’t touch. Bands that want to express themselves fully with how they put together either their music or their videos… we don’t shy away from showing that. I think that’s a really valuable thing. We don’t edit out the creativity that a band wants to express. Also, we give everyone a go: We consider a major-label commercial video on the same level that we would to someone that’s just put together a really small budget clip. Considering it’s a publicly-funded national broadcast, I think it’s a really great thing. It hasn’t lost its value.

Can you name any bands that really gained popularity through having their video shown on rage?
I can answer that more within the context of bands being guest programmers on rage. Because rage has had quite a long history, we’ve had guest programmers from Cyndi Lauper and Alice Cooper to the Smashing Pumpkins. When we show a local up-and-coming band as guest programmers, I think that really elevates their status to our viewers. They become quite prominent in their eyes. Whether that’s a band like Operator Please or a band like Dappled Cities, having on local indie bands as guest programmers really helps their careers along.

Have there been any guest programmers where you’ve been shocked by their bad taste in music videos?
[Laughs] A few artists have come on the show and picked clips that I normally wouldn’t have picked myself. I won’t name any bands, but it certainly is a bit of an insight into who they are as musicians when they pick something popular and obvious, yet still manage to make great music of their own despite that. I think that in itself is quite interesting.

Do you try and convince the guest programmers to avoid the obvious or overplayed classics?
We pretty much let them all do what they want. I think that’s really important. Even if it is a video that’s been played quite a few times, if it’s really important to them then I don’t think it’s really our job to really edit that out as producers of the show. We tend to let them have free license over what they choose to play.

rage: Celebrating 25 Years is at Carriageworks until the 17th of June. Entry is free, and it runs between 10am and 6pm.

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crob

crob said on the 7th Jun, 2012

anyone know when Tyson Koh took over as the rage programmer?

mickr84

mickr84 said on the 7th Jun, 2012

what do you think? post your comment...

mickr84

mickr84 said on the 7th Jun, 2012

his last show on loose joints was about 3 weeks ago, i'd say around then? i miss him on loose joints!

Captain Smashed

Captain Smashed said on the 8th Jun, 2012

"We just want to show clips that are really entertaining, that visually engaging, that are clever or funny." This kind of pisses me off and one of the reasons - if not the main - they used when they held that competition a few years back.

While I can appreciate a cool clip, when it boils down to it I couldn't give a flying fuck about a band's film clip, especially when it serves us a distraction from a shit song.

MorningAfterboy

MorningAfterboy said on the 8th Jun, 2012



Then don't watch rage, you angry prick.

Captain Smashed

Captain Smashed said on the 8th Jun, 2012



Thanks for the advice kind sir. And you are right, I am angry. Grr.

grattan

grattan said on the 12th Feb, 2013

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0jaw4mMyX4

MorningAfterboy

MorningAfterboy said on the 12th Feb, 2013

That is going to fucking rule.

Braveheart81

Braveheart81 said on the 12th Feb, 2013

I hope they rate every clip they show out of 5.

grattan

grattan said on the 12th Feb, 2013



All Australia clips get a bonus 2 points.
Anything shot with a handheld camera -3 points.

grattan

grattan said on the 15th Feb, 2013

David and Margret's picks:

THE BEATLES A Hard Day's Night - Trailer
BOB DYLAN Subterranean Homesick Blues
AEROSMITH Janie's Got A Gun
ROXY MUSIC Avalon
DAVID LYNCH Crazy Clown Time
DJ SHADOW 6 Days
U2 One
RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS Under The Bridge
TOM WAITS It's Alright With Me
RADIOHEAD Street Spirit
NICK CAVE and THE BAD SEEDS Into My Arms
THE KILLERS Bones
MARTINI RANCH Reach
INXS Devil Inside
SMASH MOUTH Walkin' On The Sun
LL COOL J Deepest Bluest (Shark's Fin)
CAT POWER Living Proof
MADONNA Love Profusion
BJORK Bachelorette
FIONA APPLE Paper Bag
LAID BACK Bakerman
BLUR No Distance Left To Run
THE ANGELS Look The Other Way
KAZ JAMES featuring STU STONE The Bre
DIVINYLS Pleasure and Pain
PAUL KELLY featuring KELTON PELL The Land Is Mine
PAT WILSON Bop Girl
THE BUGGLES Video Killed The Radio Star
ULTRAVOX Vienna
BONNIE TYLER Total Eclipse Of The Heart
INXS Burn For You
DOGS IN SPACE Trailer
MICHAEL HUTCHENCE Rooms For The Memory
INXS Never Tear Us Apart
THE BIRTHDAY PARTY Nick The Stripper
NICK CAVE and THE BAD SEEDS Do You Love Me?
ELVIS COSTELLO Veronica
LIONEL RICHIE Dancing On The Ceiling
JULIAN LENNON Too Late For Goodbyes
BOB DYLAN Tight Connection To My Heart (Has Anyone Seen My Love)
LAURA BRANIGAN Self Control
BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN Dancing In The Dark
BOB DYLAN Things Have Changed
MADONNA The Gambler
ELTON JOHN Nikita
THE POGUES A Pair Of Brown Eyes
MARIANNE FAITHFULL The Ballad Of Lucy Jordan,
U2 Stay (Far Away, So Close)
MADONNA Material Girl
NEW ORDER Touched By The Hand Of God
THE FLAMING LIPS This Here Giraffe
BELINDA CARLISLE Heaven Is A Place On Earth
MISFITS Scream
GRINDERMAN Heathen Child
BILLY IDOL Dancing With Myself
MADONNA What It Feels Like For A Girl
MADONNA Justify My Love
THE WHITE STRIPES I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself
FRANKIE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD Relax
CHRIS ISAAK Solitary Man
MICHAEL JACKSON Black Or White
MICHAEL JACKSON Thriller
MICHAEL JACKSON Bad
PUBLIC ENEMY Fight The Power
RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE Sleep Now In The Fire
JOHNNY CASH God's Gonna Cut You Down
ARTISTS UNITED AGAINST APARTHEID Sun City
MOBY Shot In The Back Of The Head
DEPECHE MODE Personal Jesus
WANG CHUNG Dance Hall Days
BLONDE REDHEAD Top Ranking
PROPAGANDA Dr. Mabuse
MARIANNE FAITHFULL Don't Forget Me
EVERYTHING BUT THE GIRL Walking Wounded
BOB DYLAN Tight Connection To My Heart (Has Anyone Seen My Love)
PAUL KELLY and THE MESSENGERS Careless
K.D. LANG So In Love
SONIC YOUTH Incinerate
THE VINES Outthaway
THE OFFSPRING Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)
ART OF NOISE Beat Box
STRAITJACKET FITS Down In Splendour
SPLIT ENZ Message To My Girl
INXS Need You Tonight/Mediate
MICHAEL JACKSON Remember The Time
NICK CAVE and THE BAD SEEDS I Had A Dream Joe
SINGLE GUN THEORY From A Million Miles
ELECTRONIC Getting Away With It
DURAN DURAN Planet Earth

Oflick

Oflick said on the 15th Feb, 2013

They played The View by Lou Reed and Metallica. I know it's directed by Darren Aronofsky, but I like to think of it more as David and Margret trolling everyone.

Stugalug

Stugalug said on the 16th Feb, 2013

Yeah that was terrible, but not as bad as later when they played Smashmouth (or whoever). That was the boling point, where I threw the tv out the window.

Oflick

Oflick said on the 16th Feb, 2013

I don't know if you're serious or not, but Lulu is a lot better than people say it is. It's main problem for me though is that every song goes on about twice as long as it should. Junior Dad, for example, is a really good closing track but the second half is completely unnecessary.

loudQUIETloud

loudQUIETloud said on the 16th Feb, 2013

I was being serious. Yeah that was my main criticism as well, can't really work out why it's so hated, I definitely prefer it to anything Metallica have done since 1990.

Oflick

Oflick said on the 17th Feb, 2013

I think one of the reasons it's hated is because Metallica fans expected it to be a Metallica album, when really it's a Lou Reed album.

MorningAfterboy

MorningAfterboy said on the 17th Feb, 2013

Things I learned today: Offlick and lQl are the table.