Moderat – Bad Kingdom Music Video (MV of the Week + Pfadfinderei Design Collective Interview)

Moderat, the collaboration between German musicians Modeselektor and Apparat, have returned with this music video by their long-time collaborators, the design collective Pfadfinderei [ fɑ:d’fɪndɜ:raɪ ].

Constantly marching ahead in warp-speed fashion, the “Bad Kingdom” music video mixes and matches a series of blue-lined illustrations that unfold to tell the tale of mankind’s cruelty and helplessness — all the while intending to challenge existing social and political structures.

In the Q&A below, the design collective details their experience working on this music video, and we review some of their other works.


How did you come to collaborate with Moderat? How much artistic direction and freedom were you given?

We [have been] collaborating with Moderat since the first day — starting with their first release “auf Kosten der Gesundheit” in the early 2000s. We kept on collaborating and enjoying each other’s work. In 2009, we released the Moderat CD/DVD, where we visualized each track with an individual material (wood/water/paper/concrete etc.) This was followed up by a worldwide live show with a special video/light setup to translate the intense music into space and room. Besides that, we are responsible for the Modeselektor artworks and live shows as well as Apparat’s DJ/VJ show in 2011. So, we[‘ve] know[n] each other for a long time; that’s why Moderat have great confidence in our work.


Can you tell us a little bit about the philosophies or narratives which drove the video?

“this is not what you wanted. not what you had in mind”

We wanted to draw an image of a man who wants to escape from the system of military and injustice he was born into. He turns towards literature, aesthetics and dandyism in the early ’60s and gets involved in the same mechanisms of cruelty he once wanted to escape from.

Starting with high ambitions and getting stuck in the power structure that is ruling most of [today’s] world is the main story behind it.

Recognising this but not being able to change it is the key message of the story.


Moderat – “Bad Kingdom” Music Video


Is there any important symbolism we should know about? I noticed, for instance, that certain visuals came back repeatedly – a circle of joined hands, for one.

The self-development of the main character is influenced by professional conduct and social conventions in a day when only few people call the shots. To visualize that concentration of power, we wanted to create an emblem, which should be simple, [a] little frightening and related to human manner. The circle of joined hands originate from the seance. We liked to capture the moment; the power appears in an uncertain, non-objective way.


How were the illustrations for the piece created? It seems like some were mixed-and-matched; how many different frames were utilized, and how long did this process take?

As we are mainly digital dudes here in Pfadfinderei, we kind of asked artists and friends we worked together with on a regular basis.

As there were a lot of motifs, and very little time, we needed more than one illustrator. So, we did a kind of a small casting, showed people our visions (that arose under the influence of Charles Burns and our cover artwork for Moderat) and worked with those who understood the style and could imagine to walk that way with us. As we never did a hand-illustrated video before, this was complete[ly] new terrain for us, as we mainly work with graphic animation and video. But we learned that you shouldn’t limit yourself to the medium you are proficient in; it is totally worth to expand your creativity to other dimensions or media.


How did the decision to just use blues and whites come about?
Because the main character is a blue-blooded villain.


“Bad Kingdom” comes from Moderat’s upcoming album, Moderat II, which will be released in August 2013 via Monkeytown Records.

Director / Producer:

Bernado Maldonado Morales
Daavid Mörtl
Benedikt Rugar
Arne Jysch
Moritz Friedrich

The music videos below are also created for Moderat by Pfadfinderei, and additional works can be seen at:


Moderat – “Les Grandes Marches” Music Video

Moderat – “Rusty Nails” Music Video


Written by
Vee Hua 華婷婷

Vee Hua 華婷婷 (they/them) is a writer, filmmaker, and organizer with semi-nomadic tendencies. Much of their work unifies their metaphysical interests with their belief that art can positively transform the self and society. They are the Editor-in-Chief of REDEFINE, Interim Managing Editor of South Seattle Emerald, and Co-Chair of the Seattle Arts Commission. They also previously served as the Executive Director of the interdisciplinary community hub, Northwest Film Forum, where they played a key role in making the space more welcoming and accessible for diverse audiences.

Vee has two narrative short films. Searching Skies (2017) touches on Syrian refugee resettlement in the United States; with it, they helped co-organize The Seventh Art Stand, a national film and civil rights discussion series against Islamophobia. Reckless Spirits (2022) is a metaphysical, multi-lingual POC buddy comedy for a bleak new era, in anticipation of a feature-length project.

Vee is passionate about cultural space, the environment, and finding ways to covertly and overtly disrupt oppressive structures. They also regularly share observational human stories through their storytelling newsletter, RAMBLIN’ WITH VEE!, and are pursuing a Master’s in Tribal Resource and Environmental Stewardship under the Native American Studies Department at the University of Minnesota.

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