Michael Yanoska entered an unfamiliar world when he graduated in 2013, where online “dating” had taken a modern turn. In this dating world, rejecting a match could be done with just an easy swipe.
When Tinder started to gain popularity in late 2013, several of Yanoska’s friends downloaded the app to look for short-term romance. He watched as his friends’ picky pointer fingers quickly swiped over dozens of profile pictures in search of partners.
“It’s crazy how it’s just swipe left and swipe right and that’s all it is,” Yanoska said. “You swipe left really quick on somebody, and they could be a really interesting person.”
On March 14, Yanoska’s comedy group Hot Chocolate Party released the music video for “Swipe (The Tinder Song),” a song he wrote about the Tinder craze. The music video for “Swipe” is one of five videos that the group’s six members have created for the pop, R&B and hip-hop parody songs from their 2014 album, “The Revue II.”
In the music video, the camera spins to follow Yanoska as he struts a circle around rehearsal room 2350 in Macgowan Hall. The rest of Hot Chocolate Party shows up dancing, playing guitar in different spots in the room or even occasionally dressed as the questionable Tinder girls mentioned in the song.
Yanoska spent four hours on a February afternoon in the empty rehearsal room in Macgowan marking spots where the group members would stand, imagining camera angles and playing the song “Swipe” on repeat. He was working on a vision for a music video that had always been burning in the back of his mind: one that would be shot entirely in one take.
Yanoska had an idea where a rotating camera would create a continuous shot, and something new would appear in the frame each time the camera rotated. Tinder seemed like the perfect opportunity to finally bring his idea to life.
“Tinder’s all about swiping left, swiping right, so the direction subconsciously plays into it,” Yanoska said.
“Swipe” was a fan favorite for Hot Chocolate Party’s audience, garnering the second-most Soundcloud streams from the album without any promotion and even a few comments from people on YouTube asking for a “Swipe” music video. Yanoska said he wanted to give fans a music video that was exciting and different from their previous videos, which often stick to just telling the story of their lyrics.
Andrew Hahn, a member of the group and a UCLA alumnus, said the timing of their movement across the room to certain spots was specific and difficult to master, since the group had to sprint in order to appear on time for when the camera turned around, sometimes even changing into wigs and different outfits as they moved. But the fast-paced choreography was a fun challenge for the group to tackle, said Hahn.
“It was still all about having fun during filming it,” Hahn said. “It was a labor of comedic love.”
After about 25 takes and five hours of rehearsing and filming, one of the shortest times Hahn said the group has ever taken to shoot a video, the members were able to nail their choreography and quick transitions with their final take.
Yanoska hopes the music video will help fans appreciate “Swipe” even more, a song that he and Nick Agee, the group’s sound engineer and guitarist, created together in November 2013. They built lyrics upon Agee’s R&B guitar riffs to satirize the R&B genre’s trope of sex and love, particularly the former of the two.
“All we, at first, had was the music and the chorus, and the chorus didn’t have to do with Tinder,” Agee said. “We decided on making it about Tinder because it was a relatable topic for a lot of people our age right now.”
In the song, Yanoska assumes the role of an overly confident guy who is browsing for his next Tinder hookup, but turns desperate when he doesn’t get as lucky as he expects.
“I thought it’d be funny if there was a guy who had all that same confidence (as my friends) with absolutely no success whatsoever,” Yanoska said. “It just really set itself up for a comedy track.”
Though Yanoska said he enjoyed playing the role of the cocky male in the music video, his only time using Tinder was for inspiration when he wrote “Swipe” in 2013. After a few weeks of experimenting, he deleted the app from his phone and hasn’t re-downloaded it since.
“I’m not really that kind of guy,” Yanoska said. “Maybe I’m just not great at flirting, but you just have to be so witty with those opening lines.”
But Agee embraced his Tinder experience, where he was successful in a way that is different from what the typical Tinder user aims for.
“I met my girlfriend (on Tinder), and we’ve been happily together for about a year and a half now,” Agee said.
Yanoska thinks the music video for “Swipe” will emphasize Hot Chocolate Party’s commentary on Tinder in a humorous way.
“You’re probably swiping left on a lot of great people,” Yanoska said. “Take a chance. Don’t be so superficial.”