To put the track’s lyrics in context let us parrot Glass Animals frontman Dave Bayley’s quote from a press release:
“The first thing Denzel said to me about the track was ‘this is fire’. Then he said, ‘Is this you flexin’?’ and I said — ‘Yeh…it is…sort of.’ It’s an ironic internal flex — me as a narrator describing/taking the piss out of an extreme alter ego version of myself; a version of me that can do things that I’m uncomfortable doing. Wavey Davey is my fucked-up Sasha Fierce; he’s a geezer, a street fighter, he can dance, he parties hard, he’s spontaneous. He can take hits and be told he is shit and not care because he’s confident. He can fight everything the world throws at him.”
So what were the initial conversations like with the band?
Talking to Dave was absolutely one of the most collaborative and easy-going artist relationships we’ve had in a while. He is lovely and is super open to reworking ideas as they come. It was pretty open, given that they had a ton of amazing relatively specific, but disparate references. Everything from 90s video games to prototype sports cars.
You seem to have encapsulated Bayley’s sentiments in a multi-layered bonanza. How would you sum up the narrative? And how did that and the characters like Kiara evolve?
The narrative is basically a take on the Greek myth of the minotaur. Most fail, one succeeds. Each character formed as we were shooting and in post as we waded through all the different processes we ended up trying on this one. But I think this is more of a macro video (more about the big picture and the concept) than a micro one (more about the character, or an individual).
Each of your videos has a distinctive voice and technique – and with Tokyo Drifting there’s animation and vfx multi-layered over the frames. To what extent was the pre-viz detailed?
It was intensely planned but inevitably you discover all different exciting new creative pathways once it comes time to find the right final shape for the video. We look at making film as a physical process, like really physical. Sort of like sculpting with a camera.
You gather a bunch of materials and you start to just try things. And there’s something about music videos that’s like playing jazz. Getting to improvise and experiment with different things, sometimes things you have literally no experience doing. Again, thank god for Dave as he was super into the piece changing as we learned more about the film we were making, while making it.
We were in the cut and I just said, “Dude what if we made this into a comic book?” And we couldn’t go back from there. Also thank god for James Siewart who did a bunch of the animation and was our post consultant throughout the whole thing. And Kao Cheng Kai who animated the final comic book sequence. Their work is incredible and they’re a huge reason this video turned out as good as it did.
What were the main challenges of making the film – any surprises or nightmares along the way?
Haha, well we shot in an abandoned catholic school in Yonkers. And we had no running toilets. Our incredible producer Josh, other than pulling together this entire shoot which is an absurd feat of power on its own (one that I will never know or want to know how he did it), had to clean out the toilets with a hose after folks had used them. Suffice to say, a surprise and a nightmare.
We see that both of you are still hands on in the process – animation and editing. Do you feel that this will always be an integral part of how you operate?
Without a doubt. I think part of our style is that you can feel us in the work. And we hope we never change that.
In a completely different style, the pace is more poetic, your film My Side for Lophiile and Nstasia which, like Tokyo Drifting, was also shot by Patrick Golan. The track and film were made for each other. What was the creative process for making My Side?
Honestly, we see this video as an extension of some of the techniques we used in My Side. We did a few scenes of printing and scanning, and small animations and it worked really well getting inside the mind of Adewale. But we wanted to kind of try it in a little more in your face sort of way. Pat is the fucking best. He is an amazing human and a wildly talented collaborator. He has done our last three videos (Mormor, Lophiile and Glass Animals) and he’s doing our next one (shoots next week).
We each have our own process. One of us is more process oriented (Jason). And the other is more philosophically oriented (Simon). And so it ends up being the three of us throwing different ideas at each other. But again, I think it’s a lot like jazz or painting. You try a bunch of shit, and you start to figure out what works and what doesn’t. We joke often that we still don’t know what we’re doing, and we hope we get to hold onto that feeling for awhile.
Lophiile My SideDirectors: Rubberband. Creative Direction: Tal Midyan + Bryan Wolff Cinematographer: Pat Golan Executive Producer: Luigi Rossi Editor: Nate Katz Animation: Jason Sondock + Alberto Maria Colombo Production Designer: Julia Doran Costume Design: Abby E Oliver Notricks // Matt Yu + Chris Alborano + Dave Rene Sound Design: Raphael Ajuelos Color: Aubrey Woodiwiss Yesh / Vll Written / Directed / Installation Rubberband. Creative & Art Direction Tal Midyan + Bryan Wolff Photography Sam Cutler-Kreutz Produced by Chloe Rash Executive Producer Lorenzo Ragioneri Editor Simon Davis Gaffer Ben Potter 1st Ac Jasmine Chang 2nd Ac Ryan Beggs Pas Lauren Cortina + Bruce Simmons + Natalie Nieves Color Gene Curley @ Nice Shoes Vfx Roman Bilichenko + Kao Cheng Kai Casting Stephanie Porto CRMENS, Offset / How to Stay Cool Directed + Written: rubberband. Shot: Mayer Chalom Edited: Nate Katz At Whitehouse Post Styled: Eric Mcneal Wardrobe Assistant: Sakinah Hmu: Nate Poston Art Direction: Nathalie Hoffman + Jason Filmore Sondock Color: Metropolis Post Negative + Processing: Kodak Production Sound Mixer: Sam Stevenson-Yang Sound Design + Mix: Raphael Ajuelos 3d Scanning + Animation: Alberto Maria Colombo Bts: Kao Cheng Kai Gaffer: Azure Leffeld Key Grip: Austin Jessen Cr Digital Director: Joshua Glass Cr Producer: Hannah Huffman Pyer Moss x Reebok; American, also
Directed + Produced By rubberband.
Creative Director Kerby Jean-Raymound Art Director Anthony Konigbagbe Editor Nate Katz @ Whitehouse Post Still Photography + Cinematography Jason Filmore Sondock Campaign Producer Asha Efia Executive Producer Lorenzo Ragioneri For Cadence Films Wardrobe Stylist Eric Mcneal Colorist Aubrey Woodiwiss @ Carbon Vfx Los Angeles Colorist Assist Briana BrackettTopaz Jones, Toothache Edited Simon Davis + Kao Cheng Kai Cinematography Sam Cutler-Kreutz Stylist Tamara Barkley Hmu Eugene Williams + Tiffany Rodriguez Gaffer Jackson Eagan Key Grip Jonathan Alvarado 1st Ac Mayer Chalom 2nd Ac/Loader Ryan Beggs Production Assistant Ian L’Ecuyer