Interview: A-Trak and Tommy Trash's "Lose My Mind" Video
Directed by @love.watts and animated by FrankNitty3000, the video takes face-swapping to ridiculously absurd (and thoroughly GIF-able) new heights.
We're excited to premiere a brand new music video from for 'Lose My Mind.' A "feel-good, satin jacket jam for our crazy times," A-Trak and Tommy Trash "have slowed down the tempo and turned up the bump," for their new track "Lose My Mind," ticking all boxes for "groove" in the process: distorted bass riffs, vintage vocals, and a Travolta-worthy disco strut. They even got French legend Alex Gopher to mix it down for that extra magic."
Directed by @love.watts with animation by FrankNitty3000, the music video takes face-swapping to ridiculously absurd (and thoroughly GIF-able) new heights. Check out Nitty's Instagram for more of his loopy "video doodles."
Download GIFs from the video to your phone (they're free) here!
Juxtapoz: How did you two connect with A-Trak?
@love.watts: I first connected with A-Trak way back in 2009 during his 10,000LB Hamburger Tour. I was tour managing his opener Theophilus London at the time. Every show was better than the last and we have been friends ever since.
@FrankNitty3000: I got a message from Watts through Instagram basically asking me if I was interested in collaborating on a music video. When he told me it was for A-Trak, I was stoked. Have always been an admirer of his music and what he does with his record label, so I said yes almost immediately even though I was super busy on other projects at the time.
What was the initial concept for the video and how did you work together on the project?
@love.watts: The concept was clear from the beginning: pure insanity, "LOSE MY MIND.” Let's get as trippy as possible, I wanted people to say, “WTF did I just watch?” The imagery was chosen by both Frank and me. We sorted through hundreds of images and spent hours on Skype bouncing ideas back and forth. The hardest part was the time difference, with Frank being in Hong Kong and me between Italy and Los Angeles. Frank’s superb animation skills made up for the lack of communication at times.
@FrankNitty3000: Watts and A-Trak were interested in the animation shorts I’ve been putting up on my Instagram for a little while. They asked me if it was possible to create a sequence of these kind of images and turn it into a music video. Usually, I create these things in a very non-commercial way, so I just grab images I like, cut them up and animate them. I try to ask the photographers for permission if I can find out who did the original. Sometimes I take photos myself or people send me stuff. In this case, of course, we had to somehow come up with images we could legally use, so Watts asked around for people to send us stuff that inspired us. It was a bit of push and pull since we've never worked together, but eventually it all worked out pretty well. It’s quite cool how you can work together with people you've never even met in real life these days. There is definitely a whole new world of possibilities.
The stuff on my Instagram is very still and soothing and mostly quite serious. But for the video (since the song is called “Lose my Mind”), I tried for a more "funny" approach, to engage a bit more with the audience. Definitely Watts and A-Trak were interested in heads and faces opening up. For the rest, they let me do pretty much what I wanted. I think it was definitely a cool experiment.
Frank, what programs do you use for the animation?
I try to use a mix of things. I like the way Adobe Photoshop and After Effects are very well-integrated, so I try to stay inside Adobe. But sometimes I use things like Cinema 4D or whatever plugin's or scripts are cool to me at the time that I’m making something. However, I really do start from an idea first, and then try to figure out how I can manage putting it together. You see tons of people out there these days who are very much inspired by the latest Cinema 4D updates or whatever is new, so things tend to start to look the same. I strongly believe ideas come first and software is just a means to get your shit done.
Has art on social media had influence on your style? Has seeing what is successful and viral influenced your art direction?
@love.watts: I have a slight advantage knowing what imagery will captivate a specific audience. I've trained myself to immediately recognize how people will react to an image. I've posted Frank on my Instagram quite often and he was already well received by all my followers, so it was a no brainer that he would get the same reaction making a full length music video.
@FrankNitty3000: I’m a pretty old-school dude in a sense. I was never really so into sharing my work through social media, for me it's actually something pretty recent. I see a lot of awesome stuff on Instagram but I try to let it not distract me too much. I think the "surreal" element for me started way back, actually from things like skateboard art (I used to get Juxtapoz as a gift in the mail order from the skate store when I was about 15 years old), comic books (The Incal, Cities of the Fantastic, Storm etc.), and animated TV shows like Monty Python's Flying Circus, Ren and Stimpy, etc. I’m also very heavily influenced by commercial photography and fashion. I like to find that place where commercial imagery and surrealism meet. My work is very much a reaction to the work I’ve been doing in the commercial field.
@FrankNitty3000: Mat Maitland. He's basically a collage artist but his animations are great.
Favorite music videos of the last year or so?
@love.watts: Dexter Navy made a sick video for A$AP Rocky a while ago called "LSD.” Also M.I.A is always on point with her visuals.
@FrankNitty3000: Not an animated video but Frank Ocean's "Nike's" is a true masterpiece. The balance of small and huge ideas put together is just amazing. I also love the way it sometimes breaks the 4th wall and goes really wide to kind of an overview of an idea, then back into a very well executed detail, and then into some kind of a rough sketch of an idea. All mixed together in an amazing tasteful blend. It's like a collage, basically. I think I like collages.