Alex Anwandter is one of the most versatile artists of our time. Chile’s prince of pop writes and arranges all his own music, has produced records for artists like Planeta No, Adrianigual, and Francisco Victoria, as well as several of his own. Plus, he can own you on multiple instruments like guitar, piano, and violin. Outside of musical composition, he is also an accomplished director. Alex has helmed some of his own music videos and won various international awards for his 2016 feature film debut Nunca Vas a Estar Solo. Not to mention his talent for essay writing, a keen eye for fashion and considerable dance chops. But under the impressive resume, what makes him tick?
In a new recurring feature, we’ll be diving into the sprawling music video catalogs of some of your favorite artists, breaking down how each entry fits into their personal story, and ranking them in order of magnitude and impact on their career. For Alex Anwandter, we have nearly 15 years of work from which to draw. This list will be reaching all the way back to his days with Teleradio Donoso, his beloved indie rock band from the mid-2000s, and will swerve in and out of his acclaimed solo career and lesser-known side projects.
Alex Anwandter has amassed a body of work that oscillates between mainstream and experimental tendencies. Both provocateur and activist, much of his recent work has focused on social justice and exploring a long hinted-at queerness that he refuses to let anyone else define. His journey has been long and mysterious, but if you look carefully at all the clues, you can piece together a rich and compelling story.
Memories of Augusto Pinochet’s brutal 17-year regime continue to ripple through Chilean society, with many still honoring the legacy of deposed leader Salvador Allende to this day. “Cordillera,” Alex’s most recent video and one of the standouts from his latest album Amiga, acts as a tribute to protest music greats like Violeta Parra and Victor Jara. Clad in a 70s-style suit and Allende-esque glasses, the sepia-toned clip follows Alex as he wanders through the Andes, tormented by flashbacks of a nation steeped in horror and chaos.
“Tatuaje” is the quintessential crying-on-the-dance-floor anthem (watch out, Robyn!). The single’s accompanying video subtly reflects Alex’s torn-up heart through extreme close-ups and sparse uses of color in an otherwise completely black-and-white short. Sorrow, heartbreak, and some sly pronoun swapping make this an all-time fan favorite.
"Mejor Que Yo/Cada Vez Que Invento Algo Sobre Ti"
Chile’s indie scene is famous for its collaborative milieu, so when Alex Anwandter and Gepe announced they’d be joining forces for an album under the moniker Alex y Daniel, fans got the all-star team-up they’d craved for years. The eponymous album includes eight original cuts and was only performed live a handful of times, leaving us a one-video legacy we will always treasure. The stylish short for 2014’s double-single “Mejor Que Yo/Cada Vez Que Invento Algo Sobre Tí” was shot in beautiful black and white and looks like a mashup between a Dior fashion campaign and the opening sequence to a James Bond film.
Another excellent single off odiSEA (seriously, go listen to the album now!), “Cabros” centers one of Alex’s biggest aesthetic obsessions: Santiago’s monolithic skyline. Framed by wide shots of the Chilean capital, the video’s climax comes with a dance battle between two older gentlemen of unclear relation. The premise might be a play on the song’s title, which is a Chilean slang word for “kids.” There’s a surreal whimsy to “Cabros,” and Alex leaves plenty of room to bust some killer moves of his own.
"Cama de Clavos"
Let’s hop in the way-back machine and revisit Teleradio Donoso, Alex’s beloved indie rock band formed back in 2005. The group released three full-length albums and a bevy of videos, none as whimsical or bizarre as 2009’s “Cama de Clavos.” Co-directed by Alex and Adrianigual’s Diego Adrián, the clip is a conceptual collision between a German game show and Robert Palmer’s iconic “Addicted to Love” video. We highly recommend you do a deep dive into the YouTube-verse for more Teleradio Donoso videos, but this one will always stand out for showcasing a kooky side of Alex we rarely get to see.
As an album, Rebeldes will always be remembered for establishing a profound emotional bond between Alex and his fans. Though all of the videos from Rebeldes provide glimpses into his psyche, none are as personal as the short for the album’s title track. “Rebeldes” is a series of snapshots of teenage Alex hanging out with friends, experiencing a sexual awakening, and questioning gender roles, experiences he seems to relive every time the camera cuts back to his adult self. The clip acts as a farewell of sorts, both to a past that once weighed on him as well as to the album that forever changed his career.
Most faithful Alex Anwandter fans know about his jump from quirky indie rocker to glittery pop idol, but his criminally underrated one-album project odiSEA from 2010 is seldom discussed, even though it contains some the best production work of his career. “Casa Latina” has been a long-time staple of Alex’s live sets and the self-directed clip is filled with early versions of now indelible hallmarks of his work: emotionally loaded close-ups, euphoric dance breaks, and a meticulous visual style.
"Siempre es Viernes en Mi Corazón"
If “Como Puedes Vivir Contigo Mismo” kicked open the closet door, “Siempre es Viernes en Mi Corazón” practically took an axe to the damn thing. With lyrics like “La iglesia me mandó al infierno/Y el congreso piensa que estoy enfermo,” Alex let us know his latest full-length, 2016’s Amiga, would be an explosive, disco-infused protest album. Paranoid stares from mask-wearing factory workers, a burning picture of closeted Pinochet crony Jaime Guzmán, and betrayal by a maybe lover/maybe confidant played by Miranda!’s Ale Sergi make this clip one of the angriest, most cathartic gems of his catalog.
Already one of Rebeldes’ emotional peaks, the video for “Tormenta” sent shockwaves through the indie world thanks to its precarious balance of eroticism and tenderness. The lush clip was shot while on location in Puerto Rico, part of a long-anticipated visit to the island. Dimly lit panoramic shots and close-ups of Alex singing into the camera are contrasted with a series of intimate sequences depicting sexual encounters between couples of many races and sexualities. Stolen glances, shower sex, and secret meetings in tucked away corners make “Tormenta” palpable with beautiful erotic tension.
"Como Puedes Vivir Contigo Mismo"
“Como Puedes Vivir Contigo Mismo” is the song and video that blasted Alex Anwandter to international acclaim. The lead single off his 2011 album Rebeldes pays homage to culturally significant documentary Paris is Burning with a rapturous celebration of queer liberation and authenticity. The Anwandter-directed clip goes into painstaking detail to capture the gritty exuberance of Jennie Livingston’s film, emulating her distinctive lighting and editing techniques. The inclusion of categories like military realness, voguing, a panel of distinguished judges, and even references to the scrawny teenagers hanging out on the sidewalk outside the ballrooms result in a living document that would make queer elders proud.