Thank You! It feels very good. Its been one of my goals for the last year or so, and to see it happen it was great.
According to the credits, you directed, produced, designed and DP’d the production. Is that typical?
Yes that’s what I did on this one. I always direct, co-produce and DP our productions, though most of the projects I have done up to now has been a co-directing effort with my filmmaking partner and friend Daniel Principe. I have directed my own short films and have been solo directing a number of recent music videos and am trying to get closer to fulfilling my ultimate dream of being a director. Of course I’ll probably always be a DP as well. Its what I love doing and do as a career.
We knew from the beginning we didnt want to do a “typical” Hip-Hop music clip as I’m frankly sick of seeing the same thing done again and again. And the boys were into that idea as well. From there we looked at the track and the ideas behind it, mainly “carrying old traditions in a new way” and something with significant religious imagery and iconic visuals that also did a commentary on certain aspects of our world today.
But at the end of the day the idea was just to create something super-visual and out there. And we knew we wanted to do a studio shoot. So it just grew from there.
The shoot itself was just a single day. We crammed a hell of a lot of stuff in there and I was actually quite surprised at the amount of coverage we got on the shoot. There was actually a whole scenario with a checkered face monk that I shot too which didnt make it to the final clip.
The pre-production was about a month. The budget…well I’d rather not mention the exact amount but it was low. Very low in fact for something as epic as this, and we all knew that we were working with limitations. To give you an idea, typically a clip like this in Australia would cost from a minimum of $20,000 to even $50,000. Our budget was a LOT lower than that.
Yes. There is of course Karl Lagerfeld. We were tossing up ideas about iconic religious imagery and I thought of Karl and his “signature” look and how in his high collar he looks a lot like a bishop or priest. And then I thought if he was getting the “stigmata” and two models drinking his blood from goblets, it would be a play on the whole “fashion is the new religion” thing. The other characters are more general and abstract and not based on popular culture.
We didn’t really look at current issues too much in coming up with the ideas. I was more interested in things that will look most visually intriguing and powerful. The whole Kony thing did cross my mind a little, but I didnt get caught up in what was happening too much—to be honest with you I dont really know much about whats going on out there, I’ve had my TV unhooked for over 2 years now. Best decision I ever made.
Haha. You could get some strange things come up I’m sure if you googled that!
A best boy is the gaffer’s assistant. Basically the person that helps set-up the lights for the gaffer (the lighting person).
What’s your bread and butter production work?
Its a mixture of different stuff. Mainly its commercial work and I’m doing more and more creative commercial work which is one of my main aims. Sometimes music videos provide ok money but it’s very rare, and there is also features and short films.
It’s Spring in Australia, right? What’s the climate like where you are?
Yes it is. Its very nice here, but very unpredictable. One minute its sunny and beautiful, next minute coming down with rain. A few years ago half of my backyard was being rained on and not the other half–true story! And it’s very windy at the moment.
How long have you been in Australia?
I’ve been here since 1996 since my arrival from Iran (I lived in Turkey for 2 years between Iran and here).
Who the hell are Dialect and Despair? They are *fucking good* but I see like 27 likes on their facebook page.
They sure are “fucking good.” They are a duo made up of Nelson (Dialect) and Nick Sino (Despair), and have quite a big name in the local hip-hop scene. Hopefully with this exposure they now have a much bigger international following.
Oh and their Facebook page is just under Dialect–I believe there’s just under 2000 likes on that one.
How’d you hook up with them?
To be honest I cant remember the exact meeting or time. But I shot Dialect’s first clip “Prolific” through a mutual friend of ours Luc and then Dan and me made their next two videos, and the relationship grew from there. We are now very close.
What was the pitch like to the artists on this video? Did they like it right away?
I said I didn’t want to do the usual stuff that’s getting made with hip-hop videos and they both agreed and we then all worked towards something “grand.” The original idea was a “butterfly effect” type scenario where we saw something and it affected a whole bunch of other things and got bigger and bigger. But the idea grew and changed and became more simple and visual.
Is that them in the grim reaper chess game?
Yes it is.
What’s with the NY gear?
The NY gear is synonymous with Hip-Hop and both Nelson and Nick have a massive respect for the birth-place of Hip-Hop. In fact they just got back from a big trip to NY city where they met and interviewed some of the fathers of Hip-Hop including Lord Finesse, O.C. And A.G.
When are they touring? Do you know?
I know an Australian tour is planned with the release of their new album. A world tour though…you’ll just have to ask them.
What are you working on now?
Currently I’m starting pre-production on two more music videos, one of which is the next Dialect&Despair music video (yes we will be dropping another one real soon) and also shooting various commercials and fashion related videos.
Bit of both depending on the job. I always enjoy them the best. But there has been ones that have been a big head-ache. Luckily, these days we are picking the ones we want to do and looking at the bigger, more promising artists, such as an electronic duo based in Holland called “Tonique” who I directed and shot a music video for a short while ago. Its our next music video to come out and will be out next week. Look out for it!
Thank you for the questions. I hope I answered it all reasonably well. It was fun.
Check out more from Dialect & Despair here.
Check out more of Nima’s efforts at Studio Sunkie | Young Black Youth.