Drift Music Videos 101

A friend of mine asked for some advice in picking music for a drifting video he wanted to put together in the future. He didn’t know much about drifting, but he thought it was cool and wanted to make a video using clips he recorded. Here are the notes I gave to him —

Hi E,

Rather than just give you answers, I want to give you understanding. In
the beginning, music, in relationship to drifting, was not something that
followed musical trends of the time. Rather, it was drifting that made the
music popular and sought-after. Specifically, we have what's known as Euro
Beat, or Super Euro Beat, which came from Italo Disco. Super Euro Beat
combined with Drifting came from the anime Initial D. This was back in
1999. Here's the first example:

What was important was the pacing of the music, the bpm. For people who
would mess around in the mountains at night, it really connected like an
adrenaline-filled heartbeat -- even if the lyrics practically made little
sense at times. It's evolved into something like this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BbX3OCmwmJQ (the music comes in at about
the 1:00 mark)

The point is that it's always been something that lends to the visual, and
it creates an epic feeling from a buildup - audibly, emotionally, etc.

Ok that's the basic background from where drift music videos first became
popular. I'm sorry to say that it was from anime, but it was -- at least
at the time. You wouldn't believe the number of people who bought cars
just because their favorite character from the show had one -- I'm talking
people in America. It's ridiculous. Anyways, moving on...

Around that time, Option Video really got popular. If you haven't heard or
seen an Option Video, it's a video series that sprouted from a drifting
magazine called Option Magazine. Because drifting was booming in America,
these videos sold like crazy all over the place. People would get together
JUST to watch these VHS (Not even DVDs yet!) videos at home. Then the
DVD's came out. Anyways, this is the music they chose to use as an intro
to all their videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVNomGV1EpM The band
is called 8ball, and they're a Japanese band. Of course, they didn't use
this whole clip as the intro, but they'd use clips from previous drift
tournaments cut into one video using this song -- always this song.

Notice that you've still got drifting, but it's edited and timed in such a
way that it fits the music very well. Always though, the music has to have
a certain pace. Tell me... feeling-wise, which one do you like better? The
8-ball clip, or the earlier ones?

Ok, let's move on. So, after this style of drift music video became
popular, people started to imitate it -- that's how it goes I suppose.

This is one of the most popular videos made by a non-Japanese person:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDYv-SwQcbA I know the stats on this
particular video aren't impressive, but that's because this video has been
re-uploaded by many people on Youtube. Read the top comments. It's not
professionally edited, but he did a good job. The thing that's important
to know is that this video was very very catchy at the time -- 2003.

Then, in Japan, there was a marketing company called Car Studio. They
started producing these videos as pro-mo videos for various companies:


The second video uses the song I gave you yesterday: Salamander by
Ellegarden. Again, what's important is the pacing of the music choice. The
first video has a similar pace to the first videos in this email, and the
second one has a pacing close to the Option Video intro.

This is not just to send you an email with cool videos in it. During the
time of the D-Max video with the 3 cars in it, D-Max as a brand was #1 for
drifters. The videos helped that happen. Notice the choice in lyrics also.
But more importantly, feel it.

Now, I want to show you what people are doing these days. You may have
seen this video before: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxvPdFt16-8

Make sure you watch the videos I've sent you in sequence. Notice how NOW
the final video's visual and audio don't fit together. The cuts are in the
right place, but the beats per minute don't match the feeling of drift.
And that is because the creator doesn't understand the feeling. But Dub
Step is popular. Still, it's going to go out of style, and I urge you to
do the math to make a video that will be timeless -- match the feelings in
what's seen to the feelings in what's heart - you need a higher bpm. And
the feeling should be high and positive. That's what drifting is like. I
almost want to say that you should just come with me sometime to get a
better idea.

Here's what Formula D is using right now:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdYM0YjPBlQ Notice the higher tempo.

So, my opinion... choose whatever music you like, but make sure that it
follows these guidelines:

1. Epic Buildup
2. High Pace
3. Positive Energy
4. High Energy

From there, you could try to use what's popular these days - Dub Step,
Trance, whatever it be. I know that's what a lot of people are into.
HOWEVER... let's go back to the story that started it all, and this is
important -- DRIFTING made the MUSIC, not the other way around. Instead of
trying to find music to find drifting, try to use drifting to push a
certain type of music. In other words, create the trend. Easier said than
done, right?

Well, at least you can relish in the idea that the first drift+music
combinations of Initial D were never planned for the purpose of launching
this big music trend. It was just a figment from the artist's imagination.
And they picked music to fit the video and make the emotions in the video
more powerful. I think that's what's most important. What are the emotions
you want to convey? then pick the right music and pace it alongside the

In my opinion, the most successful drift videos are the ones that make you
want to turn off your monitor and hit the streets for some practice. I've
rambled on long enough for one night... I hope you've enjoyed my thoughts,
and if there are any questions, I'm all ears. Good night!

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