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.
Glass Animals feat Denzel Curry, Tokyo Drifting
Production Co: SMUGGLER
CoFounders: Patrick Milling-Smith and Brian Carmody
EP: Elizabeth Doonan
Commissioner: Emily Tedrake
Producer: Josh Sondock
Location Manager: Ron Dabach
Cinematographer: Pat Golan
AD: Jonathan Qualtere
Stylist: Savannah White
Edit: Simon Davis & Kao Cheng Kai
Colourist: Joseph Bicknell @ Company 3
Lophiile My Side
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 Brackett
Topaz 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