Art and Design / December 20, 2023

Musicmaker’s Anti-Commercial Christmas Ad is an Ode to Ireland’s Music Community

Art and Design / December 20, 2023

Musicmaker’s Anti-Commercial Christmas Ad is an Ode to Ireland’s Music Community

Words: Dylan Murphy

While AI poses uncomfortable questions for the future of creation, one thing is for certain – it can’t replace the human experience. As part of their Christmas ad, Musicmaker have teamed up with CLTV Films to celebrate the enduring power of the human spirit.

In end of year podcasts about music, you’ll no doubt hear conversations about AI’s increasing presence in music pop culture. Take a glance on TikTok and you’ll see funny videos of Homer Simpson singing Green Day’s ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams‘. Keep scrolling and you’ll probably catch Spongebob Squarepants covering Smash Mouth’s ‘All Star’. This playful stream of videos is mostly harmless fun, however, when an AI-generated song that featured an uncanny resemblance to Drake and The Weeknd landed online earlier this year it posed difficult questions. How can we tell what’s genuine? What does it mean for ownership of one’s voice? When certain businesses’ focus is money and artificial intelligence has the capability to create catchy, realistic sounding songs it’s not hard to understand why artists’ livelihood let alone the art form as a whole would feel under threat.

This all comes as no surprise given the increasingly strong grip of capitalism on just about every corner of popular culture. However, despite the uncertainties, what’s undoubtedly true, is that “Ai can’t create from the human experience”. That’s the quote from Hozier that inspired Collective Film’s “anti-commercial” Christmas video for Musicmaker. As an enduring independent music business that supports artists across the country, they teamed up with the crew to create a piece that celebrates the soul that seeps into music that just isn’t present in Ai-generated music.

Setting out to capture the power of music in its truest form, the visuals showcase a lifeless AI-generated Drake song before moving between an artist in The Cobblestone and a singer in the depths of nature. Catch the video below alongside a Q&A with the director, Mark logan.

The Hozier quote stems from larger questions around AI and art, could you talk a little more about that?

Ai is an incredible tool, but that’s all it is, a tool, like a bicycle, to be used by us to facilitate something from ourselves. When we start to give it so much precedence that we replace things which gives us our very identity as humans I believe we have taken a wrong turn. Music and song as a well as acting and storytelling are but a few of those things. 

What do you mean by an anti-commercial Christmas ad?

I don’t want you to watch this and feel like we are trying to sell you anything. So much of Christmas has been hijacked by commercial entities trying to emotions for their commercial gain. I do want you to feel something. You may or may not get the fullness of intention or story arch but that doesn’t even matter sinking as you have some feeling that’s personal to you is all I’m really cared about. 

Can you talk about the importance of musicmaker as an independent music business.

Small independent business like Musicmaker just like independent pubs such The Cobblestone are immeasurably invaluable third spaces for revolutions, catharsis and community. I love how these places provide a service but also a warmth and a function for something much more than just the product they sell. I’m not sure globalist genocide supporters such as Starbucks or their equals would be host to the same cultivation of real community. Without these home grown community focused places we lose a piece of of who we are. 

What role do you believe ai has in art in our futures?

Ai will undoubtedly have a huge role to play. Hence this story. But for me it’s about how we use it or be used by it. There’s only so much drooling at our own technological evolution we can do, so what’s it’s use? Can it provide clean drinking water and build homes? 

Watch the video below:

Written, directed & musical direction: Mark Logan
DoP: Ignas laugalis

Original musical & sound design by: Folding Waves

Editor: Eoin McGowan 

Producer / AD: Bettine McMahon

Gaffer: Eoghan Hand

Production Designer & Costume: Andrea Williams

Focus Puller: James Marnelle 

Special Effects & MUA: Claire McCauley

Sound: Ken Adams

Best Boy: Kyle Walsh

Colourist: Liandro Arouca: Raygun Post Production

Visual FX: Aerodrom

Associate Producer: Cein O’Brien


Voice Over: Mark Logan

Max Shoroye 

Dan Shoroye

Mark Bergin

Sionnáin (Michelle Shannon)

Megan Nic Ruairí

Melanie Taylor

Rónán Ó Snodaigh

Raymond Keane

Jonathan Judge

Dave Adams

Elaine Adams

Eoin McGowan

Maria Logan

Andrea Williams 

Greg Purcell

Ken Adams

Elsewhere on District: 17 Irish Releases You May Have Missed This Year.