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Radical Friend's Radical Video

Dazed talk to filmakers Radical Friend on why its worth taking your time over things and their new interactive music video with Black Moth Super Rainbow.

Radical Friend are Kirby McClure and Julia Grigorian, they have been collaborating on projects and directing together since before they graduated from art school in 2007. For Pittsburg space folksters Black Moth Super Rainbow, they created a music video for single 'Dark Bubbles' that can only be fully engaged by going to the site where, viewers can control the light of the sun behind the guy jumping on a trampoline by waving their hands (or bodies) in front of a web cam or by moving their mouse. Here they talk to Dazed about creating this interactive video and why they have to ditch some of their greatest little elements...
 
Dazed Digital: How did the video for Black Moth Super Rainbow come about ?
Radical Friend: Julia and I have been hugely inspired by Black Moth Super Rainbow's music for quite some time. We listened to it the whole way across the desert while on the way to our new apartment in LA. Before we had representation we were always looking for bands who were like-minded  to work with, and BMSR seemed extremely spot on. I Myspaced them to say hello and share some of our work/ideas and they wrote back very interested. It took us a while to finalize in our heads what exactly we wanted to do for them, but this idea of physically interacting with the video seemed to work really well with their music.

DD: Did you have this idea for other project, i.e. doing an interactive video or was it post listening to the track?
Radical Friend: We had experimented a bit with some interactive ideas for our own website and were very interested in doing more work like that for sure. We had started to dream up a few interactive music video ideas when the BMSR opportunity came along, and their electronic/magic/nature sound seemed like an amazing chance for us to explore this technology further, while also delving into some of the new visual ideas we are interested in. It was important to us to keep this video feeling very filmic though, keeping the actual technology hidden in order to really try to create this kind of mystical environment.

DD: The video took three months to make, what was the hardest part of the process and did your idea change while making the video?
Radical Friend: Little things definitely changed along the way, we had to keep this video as lean as possible for the internet, while still capturing the feel of what we wanted, so some tiny ideas had to be ditched to allow for the video to run in realtime on the web. It was difficult to get rid of some of these beautiful little elements, but maybe when computers/the internet becomes faster we will re-visit this project and add them back in.
 
DD: What did your cinematographer bring to the project?
Radical Friend: Our Cinematographer is a brilliant dude named Kevin Phillips who has actually become one of our closest collaborators. He had never shot anything for an interactive video... but he immediately knew exactly how to achieve what we needed to make the lighting for this project work. The challenge was lighting everything in a way where it could not only be manipulated in post to correspond to the different times of day, but then for the end user to also have that control too! He designed the lighting rig on a napkin or something within 10 minutes of meeting.
 
DD: Do you think more video directors will be given the opportunities to direct/create videos like this for bigger acts?
Radical Friend: I'd like to see this type of video be explored with the bigger budgets that bigger acts have to offer. I kind of see it as an EXTREMELY tiny step towards some type of Virtual Reality experience.. to me that might be the next step in story telling..and it will absolutely require the same instincts and sensibilities that make a good director right now. Music videos essentially only play on the internet nowadays, so it makes sense to take full advantage of what the web has to offer. With that said, I feel like this type of video only suits some acts, if BMSR's sound didn't lend itself towards this type of video we might have done a non-interactive video for them.

DD: What projects have you got coming up? Anything in the same vein as this?
Radical Friend: We just shot this kind of fantastical short film in the swamps and sand that surround Savannah, Georgia. It is a loose narrative that details a suburban sacrifice and these kind of surreally fucked up teenagers that oversee it, the band SALEM is providing the soundtrack which is very exciting to us. There are a few new music video opportunities that have popped up as well, some could potentially be interactive, depends on the track.
 
DD: Lastly, what's your favorite time of day and why?
Radical Friend: In certain months LA has this crazy time of day where the sun blares so heavily that you cant see anyone from the chest up, and there is this intense blown out look to everything and you pass your friends on the street and don't say 'Hi' because you can't see them. It's kind of beautiful but also feels pretty apocalyptic.