Most family videos involve an off-key rendition of "Happy Birthday" while candle wax drips onto cake icing. This is not the case for the Daniels family who've recently won best music video in the 2011 Tabloid Witch Awards for their song/video "Happy Happy Halloween." There should even be a "horror" disclaimer for folks who are expecting lighthearted video. The Katy daughters of Matthew Daniels run around like a fraternal version of the twins from "The Shining," petting skulls and looking demonic.
The video was the first attempt by Daniels to make a music video and features his daughters Jazzy, 9, and Nikki, 13, dressed in black and with circles under their eyes dark enough to suspect they haven't been allowed out to play much. "I sent a DVD of it off to the Tabloid Witch Awards with no expectations and wasn't even sure if it was the kind of thing they would consider, but apparently the guy running the awards not only liked it enough to give it an award, but also to use it as the example of what it takes to win," said Daniels.
The music and video were both originally titled "Creepers," but during the editing process Daniels decided to rename it "Happy Happy Halloween" after the ever present hook that is in the song and runs through the video. "I was a little worried about it at first," Daniel said, and he certainly should be - not for the horror and quality of the fun but for the pure scariness when you consider this is his daughters he's filming. He said he first posted it on his own Youtube under the name Creepers. "... After, I reedited and put it up on Nikki's and haven't had any bad reactions," Daniels said.
"Probably the hardest part of making our video was getting the girls to keep a straight face," he said. "We just put them in costume, jumped in the van and went looking for locations to shoot."
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They got all of their outdoor filming done in one day at two locations, one on a hill behind the Katy Mills Mall and the other by a lone tree at George Bush Park. When they were done with the outdoor scenes, they made their way back home to do all of the indoor shooting. "It took about two hours from the time we jumped in the van," he said. "I had no plan. We were just looking for spots to shoot, and when we got home it took about 15 minutes to do the inside vocals," Daniels said.
"The audio from the girls' vocals was taken directly from the video and mixed onto the instrumental track, which was a song I had made a few years before, but kind of considered a throw-away song," Daniels said. He's in a band named Midnight Habit. "After a decade of making music in the middle of the night when the wife and kids were in bed, Midnight Habit seemed appropriate for a band name. I've really stopped focusing on my own music, though. I'm too focused on the girls making music."
As for Matthew's girls, he said, "Jazzy is the silly one...She wants to be a drummer (not a singer) and is just starting drum lessons." "Nikki is my singer.... She started vocal lessons about a year ago, but we realized she had some serious natural talent a couple of years before that."
In the earlier version of the video there were no credits originally given to the girls. However, the youngest now gets the top billing. "She thought it was cool that she was 'Creepy girl 1' before her sister. Winning the award meant a lot to Jazzy because her sister gets so much attention for her voice," Daniels said.