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Ferry Gouw and Major Lazer

The creative strands grow for Ferry Gouw as he animates Major Lazer's video GI Joe style.

The last time we spoke to Ferry Gouw, he was doodling album covers and now he has added another strand to his creative belt by animating and video directing Switch and Diplo's collaborative project Major Lazer's 'Hold the Line'. The Major is a Jamaican commando who lost his arm in the Zombie War of 1984 and the video features the Major grappling with the zombies in the ongoing fight complete with a nostalgic parody of TV toy ads, the sort that made you want everything in an Argos catalogue.

Dazed Digial: So Ferry , you are a graphic designer , an animator , a video director and in the band semi finalist, if you had to choose, which one would you like to do full time?
Ferry Gouw: I never really separated these aspects as specific roles that I do. and oftentimes, especially in the kind of scene/world that we inhabit these things overlap and interbreed. so different combinations of these aspects apply constantly into various things. The Major Lazer project, for example, requires me to illustrate, design, animate, and film various aspects of the same project. Semifinalists are on hiatus, btw, but when I was doing that I also did the videos and artwork and they were all part of the same language. same with the Celestial Bodies thing I'm doing now, musically. I guess I'm lucky enough not to have to choose between them.

DD: You have a real definitive style, what are your main influences and does you style keep evolving ?
Ferry Gouw: I'd like to think that I'm both malleable and distinctive. I often restrain myself from applying some kind of personal signature on someone else's project, one I'm supposed to be helping come to life. and yet I think I do have a very specific, personal, endless, pursuit in art that keeps me interested and excited, and this interest helps me create a world that is hopefully distinctive and evolving.
I came from a comic book background so most of my influences are from that field. my favourite illustrator is Al Columbia. My favourite graphic designer is probably Chip Kidd.

DD: How did the 'Hold the Line' video for Major Lazer come about and was is meant to be a  GI_Joe_Parodie ?
Ferry Gouw: First of all, I have to say, Major Lazer is one of the most fun projects I've ever been involved in. when I was a kid I drew muscly dudes beating the crap out of each other in the borders of my school notebook. I now do it for a living. How insane is that?? so the video for this project came naturally out of the same mindset, where it's a bunch of childhood aspirations made real! I remember watching GI Joe and Dino Riders, or Silver Hawks, Centurions, etc, and wanting to buy the toys, looking at the awesome toy ads. I could now do my own version of this stuff! I don't know if it was meant to be a parody, I think I seriously wanted it to kick ass! and be awesome to my 8 year old self.
I think GI Joe in particular lends itself real well to the idea of a rasta commando blowing stuff up.

DD: Are their plans to expand the images you credited for Major lazer  as with Damon Albans “Gorillaz” project?
Ferry Gouw: I can't take too much credit for Major Lazer. my drawings are facilitating Diplo and Switch's ideas, so if anything goes anywhere with these characters it'll be because they thought it. that said, I'd love to see Major Lazer as a real action film, ala They Live, or Big Trouble in Little China.
I'm perpetually frightened of the Gorillaz comparison, cos Jamie Hewlett's art brings to mind really horrible memories and connotations.

DD: What projects have you got coming up? Anything in the same vein as this?
Ferry Gouw: Nothing can be in the same vein as this. but I'm working on some stuff, I'll be in charge of the artwork for this band Japanese Voyeurs, I'll be working on some tshirts, I wanna spend some time working on music, this Celestial Bodies thing, maybe record some stuff. I'm working on a video for my friend's band Loverman. I wanna get back to drawing my comic series for Platform magazine, The Sublime Miscreant. ultimately I wanna shoot a film. it's been so long.

DD: If zombies attacked the world , what would you do ?
Ferry Gouw: What a quandary! I don't want the responsibility of having to harm something that is essentially a human being, albeit an undead one. in this manner I think I'll be one of the first to die.

DD: Lastly , how do you say “on the floor “ in Indonesian ?
Ferry Gouw: "Di lantai"