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LarzRanda’s video for Turtles is a strong statement about transgender identity

Wait around long enough, and there is no doubt that you will catch the music industry turning on it’s tail, doubling back and rebranding the last thing they told you. Streaming will be the death of music…streaming is music’s saviour! Long live LPs… RIP the album. Mini Disc is the next big thing… actually there was no rebranding for that one. That one just fell flat on it’s face. And, of course, let’s not forget the demise of the music video.

As the youth of today shifted their attention away from MTV and onto LED screens, some predicted the demise of the video as a costly drain on label resources with no real returns. But with the rise of YouTube and it’s presence on every form of social media you could wish your customer to tap into, clips not only refused to go away – but suddenly a music video was more attainable and accessible than ever.

Potentially stripped of any commercial viability, I like to take the romantic view that a music video is like art and exists purely for it’s own sake. And as such, watching a good clip is like walking round an exhibition. I expect a bit more than the obvious, familiar or gratuitous imagery, and I’m looking for a bit of meaning, a bit of thought.

LarzRanda THUNDERLIPS

LarzRanda teams up again with the dynamic directing duo THUNDERLIPS for the new video for Turtles. Poignant and personal, it’s an honest tale about youth and love.

As you would expect from his previous track record, watching LarzRanda’s latest clip for Turtles is the equivalent of a walk around the MCA. The Auckland based rapper teamed up once again with award winning director duo THUNDERLIPS, who also directed the Slim-Aarons-meets-Scream clip for LarzRanda’s Lifeguard last year.

A far cry from the sitcom style Frankenstein, the clip for Turtles has the same sense of stripped bare honesty as Randa’s music. Both literally and metaphorically. In a simple, straight-to-camera set up, Turtles feels closer to a real life narrative than his more scripted videos.

After starting rapping aged 16, Randa came out years later as trans male in 2013. He assumed the new name Mainard Larkin, an anagram of his given name Miranda, but continued to produce music under the names Randa and LarzRanda. Turtles shows Randa gradually disrobing – without disrupting his flow we might add – and ending bare chested. The scars of gender reassignment might feel like heavy territory for some, but Turtles brings the whole visual back to the familiar set against the story of a difficult young love and the naivety of youth.

Elaborating on the track, Randa commented that “The lyrics are pretty angsty, but also kind of an acceptance letter of unrequited love and an expression of the feelings which often go along with that. It’s about feeling heartbroken and not being ashamed to say you’re embarrassed I guess.” It’s a situation that we can nearly all relate to, and, like LarzRanda, smile fondly at our younger, dumber selves. Turtles feels like a well chosen moment for Randa to align this visual statement about his gender identity with a love situation and a story that everyone can identify with.

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January 21, 2016

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