Spike Jonze to direct live music videos for Arcade Fire and Lady Gaga at YouTube Awards

'Where The Wild Things Are' director will act as creative director for ceremony this Sunday (November 3)

Spike Jonze has revealed that he will be directing live music videos for artists including Lady Gaga and Arcade Fire at the YouTube Music Awards this weekend (November 3)

The first ever YouTube Awards, executive produced by Vice, will take place on Sunday at Pier 36 in New York. Actor Jason Schwartzman will host while Where The Wild Things Are filmmaker Spike Jonze will act as creative director for the show. The 90-minute ceremony will see six awards handed out as well as the live performances with all winners voted for by YouTube users. Arcade Fire, Eminem, Lady Gaga, MIA, Tyler, The Creator and Earl Sweatshirt have been confirmed as performers at the ceremony.

Speaking to NME about his plans for the ceremony, Jonze confirms that he will be creating visuals live as the ceremony is streamed to the world, including a video for Arcade Fire song ‘Afterlife’ as they perform it. “It’ll be really interesting to try and pull it off,” he says. “We have a whole handful of directors, we’re mixing the music video film world in with the live broadcast world and trying to make live music videos.”


Discussing the logistics of the evening, Jonze continues: “We have this big warehouse so instead of it being in a theatre where everyone’s performing their song to an audience we’re going to have sets all around the warehouse and each artist will have a different set. There are different ideas, some have narratives, one of them doesn’t really have the artist in it. We’re trying to take the music video format and produce it live.”

He adds: “I’m doing an Arcade Fire for a song called ‘Afterlife’. I’m loving the album and that song. Chris Milk and I are helping Lady Gaga. I was involved in choosing the artists. The whole thing has been spontaneous. It’s pretty fun. It’s soul-making and very by the seat of our pants.”

Admitting to feeling trepidation ahead of the ceremony, he adds: “I’m totally nervous, we have no idea, none of us have ever done this live. When you do a regular music video you have control but here there’s a large room for error and things we can’t control so we’re trying to embrace it. That is what a YouTube video is. The best YouTube videos are totally creative but totally spontaneous.

Click here to see the full list of nominees for the first ever YouTube Music Awards.


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Performances on the night will come from the likes of Billie Eilish, Lizzo, Ariana Grande, and Lil Nas X