Where Do You Find Taiwan's Best Indie Music Videos? Urban Nomad's Music Video Awards Has Its Finger on the Pulse


The Urban Nomad Music Video Awards saw their busiest and most competitive year ever, with a record 105 music videos submitted to competition and numerous entries by rising indie stars, some with more than three million YouTube views. Many competing artists span a new territory between indie and pop, such as Deca Joins, Astro Bunny, Wonfu, 9m88 and Ma Nien-Hsien, all of which entered music videos from the past two years with over 1 million views. Music fans also cast around 5,000 online votes for Urban Nomad's first ever Audience Choice Award.

The award for Best Music Video, selected by an independent jury, however did not go to a music video with a big view count. The jury instead gave the award to a young director with a video for a relatively new Kaohsiung-based folk rock band, Shallow Levée. The video, "Our Future" comes from director Tang Yung-ru, a recent graduate who studied experimental filmmaking. The video combines animation, video and photographs, capturing the urban texture of the city of Kaohsiung with an infusion of hipster aesthetics. The jury remarked that her video "leaves a deep impression" and makes "you want to go back for repeat viewings."

Urban Nomad's Music Video Awards awards were given as part of the 18th annual Urban Nomad Film Fest, which closed in late May with total attendance at 8,000 visitors after two months of film screenings, concerts and events. Urban Nomad gives out a total of about TWD 80,000 (USD 2,500) in prizes to film and music video directors.

Urban Nomad Film Fest was established in 2002 and began offering the Music Video Awards in 2014, becoming the second award in Taiwan for music videos after the Golden Melody Awards, which are Taiwan's equivalent of the Grammy's and focus on pop stars.

Urban Nomad's are Taiwan's only music video awards for indie artists and with the prize going to the music video's director, not the musician. The awards' official purpose is "recognizing creative filmmaking among or in collaboration with Taiwanese independent musicians." Jurors for 2019 included music and film promoters, critics and programmers Ho Tung-hung (何東洪), Woody Chen (陳伍迪), Mao Jr-Shin (毛致新).

This year also marked the first time Urban Nomad Music Video Awards gave out an Audience Choice Award. Based on an online fan vote, the prize went to the video "The Unforgettable Memory" by director Kung Yuan (龔爰) for the "horror aesthetics" band Infancy. The video is a dark 3D animation of a young girl who gets sucked into a television set in an old house. Kung previously created stage visuals for major Taiwan pop bands Mayday and Yoga Lin and directed music videos for Tizzy Bac and Peggy Hsu (許哲珮).

"Taiwan's indie music scene is definitely changing and what's happening with the music videos is a part of that. Now bands can sell out thousand-person venues based on YouTube popularity," said Urban Nomad program director David Frazier. "With the death of physical music sales, YouTube views are now a major barometer of popularity for Taiwanese indie artists. So recognizing creativity here is something we think is important."

Urban Nomad's Top 8 Music Videos for 2019 (as selected by the jury)

Our Future 我們的未來
Performed by Shallow Levée 淺堤
Directed by Tang Yung-Ru 湯詠茹

Loneliness, Sadness and a Thank You 謝謝你曾經讓我悲傷
Performed by Astro Bunny 原子邦妮
Directed by Remii Huang 黃婕妤

Avacado 像幽浮像鬼或我們不懂的酪梨
Performed by Murky Crows 昏鴉
Directed by Su Sheng Yang 蘇聖揚 & Reider Larsen

Mariana 馬里亞納
Performed by Flesh Juicer 血肉果汁機
Directed by Reago Lin 林宏叡

Wave 海浪
Performed by deca joins
Directed by Leo Liu 劉立

Life 事物
Performed by Zoomie 柔米
Directed by Kforce Chen 陳柏豪

Underwater 水底
Performed by Elephant Gym 大象體操
Directed by Li Guan-Jie 李冠杰 & Chen Zhong-Wei 陳忠暐

EazyTho, Funk-Zeit-War theRoom 一直都放在我房間
Performed by PiNkChAiN 粉紅鍊人
Directed by AUSH 阿許

Urban Nomad's Top 5 in Online Fan Vote

The Unforgettable Memory 意難忘
Performed by Infancy 隱分子樂團
Directed by Kung Yuan 龔爰
Votes: 462

Ho Da 乎乾
Performed by GBoySwag 鼓鼓
Directed by Lien Lin-Wei 連林緯
Votes: 393

Underwater 水底
Performed by Elephant Gym 大象體操
Directed by Li Guan-Jie 李冠杰 & Chen Zhong-Wei 陳忠暐
Votes: 283

The Poem of Intro 話頭詩
Performed by Tēng-Pang Suyaka Chiu 周定邦
Directed by Chiu A-Yo 周佳穎
Votes: 141

Fighter 戰士
Performed by YDN 蔡弦剛
Directed by Huang Jyuan-Yong 黃雋永 & Hung Chia-Hao 洪嘉豪
Votes: 140