The medium is coming into its own. Increased access to artists, and an array of sexy new digital camera systems are giving creatives the ability to develop their ideas for audiences like never before. The 405 wishes to celebrate the most exciting, bold, creative and challenging videos. Theses are the ones which stay with you. They make you think, make my smile, and push the medium into new territory. These are the videos that throw down the gauntlet. They divide. They challenge. They set the new standard.

The 405 would also like to extend a sincere thanks all the creators out there - producers, animators, cinematographers, visual effect artists, sparkies, background dancers, caterers - whose efforts do not go unnoticed. Without your passion not a single one of these videos could have been brought to life.



Flying Lotus - 'Never Catch Me' feat. Kendrick Lamar (dir. Hiro Murai)



Hiro Murai. He took the Best Director award at the UK MVAs in November, and he might well take next year's award too. With a talent of finding beauty in nightmares - children dancing their way out of their own funeral - Murai has developed an eye for engaging visuals that provoke true conversation.

One day you'll read his name in the same sentence as Spike Jonze or David Fincher; someone who took the art form to a whole new place - forging new ground, time and time again.

Click here to read our interview with Director Hiro Murai.



Sia - 'Chandelier' (dir. Daniel Askill & Sia)



Best in show. It's a scarily good video, rich in texture and tone. It's provocative, engaging and shot with a clear, deliberate vision in mind. Sia wrote Rihanna's 'Diamonds', Celine Dion's 'Love Me Back To Life', and Beyonce's 'Pretty Hurts' - but now she's letting her own voice dominate the charts for a change. Daniel Askill's collaboration is a true game changer in the world of music videos.

There's an energy here that is raw and untamed. The set is sparse and minimal, a perfect juxtaposition to the intrinsic luxuries suggested by the title. The dancer - Maddie Ziegler - gives a performance worthy of an Oscar. 354 million views later, the video has paid for the production costs of the video four times over.

Every single director or musician reading this - don't settle for the flashiest pitch, search for the most confident one (head here for the extended version of the video).



Chet Faker - 'Gold' (dir. Hiro Murai)



Simple, sexy, and the perfect visual to complement one of the year's most outstanding tracks. Chet Faker is another artist who understands the importance of recognising their limits - and that level of trust is on display here. Future Classic are a label with a great ear, but it also seems they have a sensational eye for directors too. Doomsday Entertainment, the director's producing partners, are also flying the Hiro flag high and wide (a mammoth 8 videos were produced by him over the past year.)

There's not a lot more to add, apart from this bit of trivia: the original pitch for the video was to place Nick's head on the body of the deer we see at the end of the video.

'Gold' is strong, and full of bold decision making, leaving a tightly would burst of energy for the viewer.



Alt-J - 'Hunger Of The Pine' (NABIL)



The hook of Nabil's striking piece is built around its simple and iconic final shot. It's designed to carve out a place in your mind and camp there, breathing the same air you breath and forcing you to accept that there is no one answer for what could possibly drive a man to these limits.

Fun fact: the man is portrayed by freerunner (not parkour-er!) Ashley "Spider" Holland, and not the creepily good actor from Game of Thrones / Misfits, Iwan Rheon. This foolish writer thought it was the latter, so much so she lost a bet and had to buy a director on this list something called a Hazelnut Cake Shake from Starbucks' secret menu. What a ducker.



Arthur Beatrice - 'Late' (dir. George Belfield / hon. mention to DoP Steve Annis)



Hot damn. Each frame is rich and deliberate - evoking tone and informing us of the characters' state of mind in the simplest of ways. Filmed with beautiful Anamorphic Ultra Speed MK2's and Fuji 250D film stock, graded by Simon Bourne, this is a rich portrait of youths that didn't make it out of their small town. This is the life they lead, and it stings. It holds onto a shot just long enough for you to appreciate the situation and ennui, but it'll never leave you feeling bored. Every frame leaves you wanting more.

The situation isn't sexy. Kudos must go to the artists/managers/label for not baulking at the idea of creating something authentic. George Belfield signed early to Somesuch & Co. where his talents are being developed by some of the best in the business. Last year's best directors - Aoife McArdle and Daniel Wolfe, both in the Somesuch family - both speak highly of Belfield and for damned good reason - the guy has a natural eye for what makes us think.

This is a great example of a video that is in perfect synchronization with the themes of a song - a true journey.



KCPK - 'Better Love' (dir. Mathieu Cesar)



Whoa. If that doesn't get you wet between the membranes I don't know what will. Hailing from a fashion photography background, Mathieu Cesar brings a confident, nuanced style of editing to a track that is turned up to eleven from the opening beat. Those girls. Them dogs. Now I'm simply pointing things out, however Cesar delivers an experience few others can match in a inimitable monochromatic style.

KCPK, you could do a lot worse than to let the director play in this world a little more. The 405 will be here every step of the way.



Ane Trolle - 'Ribbon Arms' (dir. Kevan Funk)



So this one stays with you. It isn't flashy. It isn't sexy in the way you think it will be. It washes over you; through you. I had flashbacks to Isaiah Serets latest piece for Devendra Banhart. There's a story, there's an arc, and it's an emotional ride from top to bottom that could easily have been lost in the hands of many shoegazing young directors out there.

Kevan Funk, you're one we expect more great things from. You've got it in you to make the leap to features and be, not the next Derek Cianfrance or Wes Anderson, but an original... the first Kevan Funk. No pressure. However. If you fuck up I'll hunt you down and demand you to write me an ending to this video where it all ends happily ever after.



Robyn & Röyksopp - 'Do It Again' (dir. Martin De Thurah)



Martin continues to bring the thunder and convince me he's secretly creating entire feature films for each of his projects, then cutting them down for us plebs to watch - keeping the full cut for himself. We're thrust deep into a richly textured world with interesting characters, conflict brimming from unknown origins, all brought to life with a confidence which makes comparisons to Fellini and Ingmar Bergman entirely appropriate.

Is it a rally cry? It is a tale of unattainable love? It's probably all of the above because it's Martin De Thurah, and if you can make sense of any of his work you should get your head checked out, sooner rather than later.

Martin is a powerhouse director in the world of commercials, so it's rare to see him take the time out from making crazy ad-money to do passionate, heavy pieces like 'Do It Again'. He's got the kind of leverage to bring to life almost any song he wants. The DGA awarded him the "golden ticket" Best Director of the Year in 2013 for the beautiful 'The Man Who Couldn't Slow Down' for Hennessy, and you could do little better with your time than to watch it.



Klangkarussell - 'All Eyes On You' (dir. Edward John Drake)



In what could be considered this year's answer to Kahlil Joseph's astounding Flying Lotus short film, Until The Quiet Comes, Edward John Drake takes camera choreography and effects work to a harmonic new standard. There's a kinetic brilliance to the construction of the track; it's challenging, and the odyssey-esque short film accompanying it is a perfect marriage of sound and vision. Open to interpretation and eluding any one universally 'correct' answer, 'All Eyes On You' is a comment on society and cosmology; seeking to capture a frail portrait of the personal experience of living in a world where everything is wrong and the answers are not as clear cut as many would like you to believe. That's my reading, it could be completely off, though that's what I take away from it.

Klangkarussell and Drake have both promised more stories from the ambitious world they forged, and The 405 will be there to support them. And maybe give that guy his shirt back.

Click here to read our interview with Edward John Drake.



Movement - 'Ivory' (dir. Fleur & Manu)



Artful stylisation, and passionate (purposeful) camera movement make naked use of one of the year's most prolific music video actors - Fred Hotier - in a piece that deserves to be hung at the Louvre. Cinematographer Carl Nilsson uses light in a brilliantly minimal way to capture the intimate world that only these two lovers will ever see; it's passion, it's fear, it's colour and it's beautiful. This is a smart example of Modular People (the label) choosing a strong voice over a flashy one.

Movement worked with Dave Ma for a similarly powerful video, so I'd be interested to see the genesis of each idea. Whatever it is - it's working.



Jon Waltz - 'Bang' (John Merizalde)



John Merizalde - Atlanta born, LA based - is more in touch with culture and psychology than most could ever hope to be. This is the quintessential rap video of the year in this writer's opinion - it fucking speaks to the psyche of the story better than anything we've seen in a long time. It's the perfect antithesis to Spike Jonze's classic 'Otis' by Jay Z and Kayne West, because where Spike plays into the rich wish fulfilment aspects of that kind of lifestyle, John paints a very real look at the reality of that way of living. Both tracks shares similar lyrical themes, but it's the delivery that sets them apart.

Barack Obama, a little known winner of my homeland's last two popularity contests, said "The thing about hip-hop today is it's smart, it's insightful. The way they can communicate a complex message in a very short space is remarkable." President Obama might as well have been referring to Jon Waltz and John Merizaldes' collaboration. What we have is 3 minutes and 11 seconds of emotion that speaks to our souls. It's a clear expression and visualisation of an idea, executed with poise and restraint that made a lot of people take notice.

Read our in depth interview with John by clicking here.



Paolo Nutini - 'Iron Sky' (dir. Daniel Wolfe)

Like it or not, it made you think. I'm a big believer in the power of music and film combining to make you feel emotions which challenge you, excite you, or take you to places that are just damn hard to live in.

Daniel Wolfe is now in the features game. His debut - Catch Me Daddy - is a fantastic example of being able to take the styles honed in the world of music videos and commercials, whilst staying original.



DJ Snake & Lil Jon - 'Turn Down for What' (Daniels)



Oh lads. What have you done. Every single party track will now be measured against the craziness of - oh wait a minute, what's this? A short film? An opportunity to show your - DANIEL GET THE HELL OUT OF DANIEL's ASS RIGHT THIS INSTANT!

There's not much more to add to this MTV VMA winning joint, so let's ponder the amazing fact that Daniels have a feature brewing called Swiss Army Man, and that it was developed in a Sundance Labs initiative to bring out the craziness within, or tame it. We reached out to Robert Redford's people for comment, they screamed and said something about a restraining order.

Ok, two more batshit cluster fucks of creativity and I'm calling the cops. I want what you're smoking, Daniels.



Gary Clark Jr. - 'When My Train Pulls In' (dir. Carmela Makela)

This video captures your attention with suggestive visuals and no simple answers. It's a vignette of lives playing out over a bitchin' guitar riff.

Carmela describes herself as a "young blood in a big city," however the mature and confident eye has me wanting more and more. Photography ranging from inspiring to haunting, beat after beat, this video will leave you a little shaken. Why did it make me think of my own life so quickly? Friends in the office agree there's a quality to the structure, and maybe that's why we're so quick to draw parallels and start a discussion about the events on screen? The video is filled with little victories juxtaposed against day-in-day-out trials on a personal level.



Brodinski - 'Can't Help Myself' (dir. Megaforce)



A kinetic, brilliantly shot take on a gigantic track. Brodinski and Gesaffelstein have worked with some of the most exciting directors over the past year or so (Fleur & Manu's time in the Gesaffelstein world has rendered potent and influential pieces), so it was only a matter of time before they approached Megaforce to bring one of the year's biggest anthems to life.

A shapeshifting man living multiple lives - against his will? - captured with a raw eye that makes you think about your own place in the world, and how easy it would be to change all that you consider essential to your identity.