ABOVE: HANNI EL KHATIB. PHOTO COURTESY OF SAM MONKARSH.
If you’ve ever had a dream that felt too real to have merely been a dream, but too surreal to be real, Hanni El Khatib‘s new video for his single “Mondo and His Makeup” will likely fuel flashbacks. The video, which we are pleased to premiere below, is outlandish. El Khatib, a Los Angeles-based garage and blues rocker, dreamed up a bizarre amalgam of flashy scenes to complement the track’s energizing drum rolls and electric guitar riffs. A mariachi performer dressed as a horse prances around a seedy nightclub full of elaborate wannabe Moulin Rouge dancers and gruff men with handlebar mustaches. But the video is not void of realism; dirt and fingerprints smudge a car window in its opening shot and the performers’ foreheads are covered in sheens of sweat.
El Khatib draws musical inspiration primarily from visuals rather than sounds. The musician began the songwriting process for “Mondo and His Makeup” by inventing a character he could see being cast in a John Waters film, and the song’s cheeky lyricism and the video’s colorful peculiarities are reminiscent of Waters’s Pink Flamingos and Female Trouble. The video’s offbeat setting is the product of director Daniel Pappa’s visit to a unique Mexican restaurant off of Interstate 710 in California. It seamlessly matches the fun and grungy tone of the song, which sounds somewhat like a happy marriage between The Black Keys and Nirvana.
“Mondo and His Makeup” is off El Khatib’s recently released EP, Savage Times Vol. 3 (Innovative Leisure), and shows how El Khatib can both remain true to his roots and explore new sounds. “I’ve been experimenting a lot lately with my music and I’ve been trying all types of styles and production,” he tells us. “I’ve really been conscious of pushing myself creatively, but with this song I just wanted to get back to the basics a bit and make a ripper.”