Trip the Light Fantastic With Rooftop Runners

Lisa Waugh

Martha Graham and Napoleon Dynamite. That’s how I’d describe the self-choreographed music video for the song “Energize”  by electronic/pop duo, Rooftop Runners. I don’t mean that as a slight. These two brothers move with the grace of ballet dancers (syncopation is captured in slo mo) and then there’s a kind of crumpling puppet move only Jon Heder’s curly-topped, super nerd could pull off.

The MacIsaac Brothers ready to be Cain and Abel

Benedikt and Tobias Maclsaac describe themselves as a “Cain and Abel” act on their official website . I’m not sure how to take that seeing as how Cain killed his bro and, according to the Bible, is the first murderer on the planet. I hope this isn’t some dark harkening to their final tour one day. I shudder to think of what would have happened had Oasis not broken up. Ahem.

What is clear is that these Canadian brothers, who spent a lot of time in Berlin, are steeped in dance. Benedikt MacIsaac is a choreographer and Tobias MacIsaac is a trained dancer. Which makes the whole Cain and Abel thing angling for a nice bit of plot. It’s about time that story got a modern day send-up.

The track “Energize” is from Rooftop Runners’ 2012 debut EP We Are Here. Rooftop Runners are highly attuned to the visuals that accompany their music, as any indie/alternative/electronic/live/soulful/organic artist should. There’s definitely a plan here. RTR are ramping toward a seamless experience. To be sure, all of their videos are built well. Look for the link below.

In this day and age, it always bugs me when visuals are a last minute thought or overly done in that arty way. RTR are on the right track in this department. No murky vagueness for them. No out of focus what-the-hell-do-they-look-like crap going on here. Although you do want to throw a little dirt on these fresh-faced kids just to give them grit but the industry will do that soon enough.

We Are Here

Listening to the EP, I truly enjoy “Bang Bang.” There’s a Jack White kind of Nine Inch Nails thing happening there. “She Devil” is one of those songs that you’d expect to hear in a film score; possibly one where Robert Downey, Jr. is pulling a rental car deep into LAX long term parking with an occupant in the trunk.

The entire EP zips along at a good pace. I took it with me on a hike to Solstice Canyon and let each track carry me along the trail up to the burned down house next to the waterfall. Quite the opposite of music you’d expect to hear on a peaceful trek. But I like the irony.

Photo: Satu Suomela

We Are Here is definitely music you’d put in your ear buds during a workout or a rave. I don’t workout but I hear that people do. As for raves… do they still do those? I’ve sown my oats and underground buildings are for storing things or for film production. In any case, the dance influence of We Are Here’s creators make for a juicy blend of rhythms and moods wherever you choose to consume them auditorily.

Pop it in at your next party and you’ll get some props on your keen eye for emerging artists. Just don’t try to re-create the moves from “Energize” unless you are very confident about your ability not to pull a hammy.


Rooftop Runners are:

Benedikt MacIsaac – vocals, beats, synth/piano, guitar

Tobias MacIsaac – vocals, beats, synth/piano, guitar


“Energize” music video:

Directed by: Benedikt MacIsaac

Cinematography: Emilia Tapprest and Benedikt MacIsaac

Edited by: Benedikt MacIsaac

Choreography: Benedikt MacIsaac in collaboration with Tobias MacIsaac

Recorded by: Angela Seserman


More Rooftop Runners Videos:

“Bang Bang” and “Streets”