Zuli is Ryan Camenzuli, a restless sort of New Yorker who has been making music, in one way or another, since he was a seven-year-old kid. The stuff back then was classical, and, while it has probably had an influence on his oeuvre, it has little-to-no bearing on the jangly psych-pop he produces as a one-man band on his upcoming EP, Supernatural Voodoo. And it certainly has nothing to do with the video we’re premiering here, for that EP’s standout track, “Better All The Time.”
The freewheeling clip, which Camenzuli directed in partnership with the production company Genmotion, is in an ultraviolent, Kubrick-loving trip down a bloody rabbit hole. It’s in direct opposition to the joyful spirit of the music it’s soundtracked by — and that was intentional, according to Camenzuli. “It would’ve come across kind of ‘cheesy,'” he says, if the video were a literal interpretation of the song, and so the video “was built around the idea that things should, and will, get progressively worse for the character.”
A literally opposite interpretation, then — and it’s all the better for it. Because, as awful as it sounds, it’s a helluva good time watching as cartoon-masked villains abduct Zuli and take him to a warehouse —which was unheated while they filmed in the middle of a New York winter — where they then proceed to tie him to an office chair and spin him around in circles until he finally comes crashing down, face bruised and bloody, and for no apparent reason. “I purposely left it for the viewer to decide what exactly [the girl, Zuli’s real-life girlfriend]’s role in the video had to do with the events that happened,” he says
It’s rare that a video in 2015 bothers to craft a narrative, and it’s even rarer for one to be so unfailingly entertaining. Along with the song and its weirdo dance jangles, “Better All The Time” is violently joyful.
Zuli’s Supernatural Voodoo is out May 5.