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September 1, 2014

Dreamshow: Chasing Control

Matthew Williams Directs an Indie-Pop Vision in Sparkling Monochrome

“The act of de-skilling was more important for me than getting better,” says musician and visual artist Constantine V, who swapped drumsticks for the mic to start his New York rock outfit, Dreamshow. “I wanted to see what I could do emotionally with a song as opposed to how well I was playing.” “Chasing Control” is the band’s debut single, and for the accompanying music video, they recruited SHOWstudio art director Matthew Williams—co-founder of Been Trill and previously of Haus of Gaga and Kanye West’s Donda—to visualize Dreamshow’s raspy indie love letter. “The song is directly influenced by my addiction to a girl who I could never really control,” says Constantine, joined in Dreamshow by bandmates Jahphet Landis of TV On The Radio, Cerebral Ballzy’s Mason Orfalea and long-time friend, Michael Amacio. “Musically, the band was really about going back to a time before I had gone to college and before I had got into art, when I was a pretty out of control kid skateboarding and drumming.” Below, Matthew Williams talks to NOWNESS about the freedom of creative collaboration, pop culture icons and going off the social grid.

What drew you to work with Constantine V and Dreamshow?
Matthew Williams:
I worked with Constantine because I’m his friend and we have a really great, honest discourse and trust. One of the successes of Gaga and Kanye was that we had a personal and direct relationship. Kanye hired me to develop his first clothing brand with him when I was 21 and then for three years I created Gaga’s image with her. We were able to communicate freely and that informs my decision making.

What was your approach for the “Chasing Control” video?
MW:
I’ve always been a rock fan yet I’ve never done a video for an artist like that. It’s an introduction of Constantine to the world, but something minimal. There was a TV show filming next door and we basically drummed all over their scenes, even though we got foamcore and taped up the doors. It looked like we were having a slumber party or getting ready for a peyote trip.

You have previously said that Been Trill wasn’t supposed to last past 2013. It’s almost 2015...
MW:
It was a mistake, an accident. Been Trill is moving to something that’s more of a brand or a platform for other people and we just want to have it be something for people that we like or are inspired by. I’m definitely willing to have something happen, but there’s no plan of attack.

You’ve been a part of such digital pop culture projects, how do you switch off?
MW:
I’d spent three years of my life lurching over my phone. I’d have a tick, thinking it was buzzing in my pocket—however now, I’m not as easy to get a hold of and I didn’t use my phone for three months this summer. I was in Ibiza and Europe and I had to disconnect.

Dreamshow
’s Chasing Control EP is out September 23 on The Swerve Records.

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Radiohead: PolyFauna

Universal Everything Explores the Band’s Digital Subconscious and Love of the Early Internet

“We were contacted by Thom Yorke and the artist Stanley Donwood with the idea of building an app that is an immersive, ever-changing world,” says artist and founder of Universal Everything, Matt Pyke, of collaborating on Radiohead’s brand new app, PolyFauna. To create the dreamlike, audio-visual terrain that is showcased in this bespoke edit, Radiohead and the band’s producer Nigel Godrich revisited the studio sessions from 2011 album The King of Limbs, making extended, atmospheric, fragmented layers of sound out of the scattered beats and ambient noise of standout track, “Bloom”. Meanwhile Donwood—who has created all of the band’s cover art including The Bends, OK Computer and Kid A since 1995—devised the way it would look: “We worked together over nine months between their studio in Oxford and ours in Sheffield,” explains Pyke, “transforming Stanley’s analog pen-and-ink sketchbooks into code-based life-forms.” The resulting app is set to a lunar calendar, and allows the user to explore a boundless world of lines and shapes that blend the primitive graphics of early computer experiments with the poetic potential of the iPad generation. “Beyond a linear music video, this was about creating our own ecosystem, with seasons, weather and fragments of sound,” says the digital creative. “Radiohead are so open to challenging musical conventions, both in composition and structure, and in how music is experienced and delivered. Each user goes on a unique journey through environment and music, every day they use it.”

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Sunrise, Sunset: Moses Sumney

The Rising Soul Star Reflects on the Imperfect Roots of his Songwriting

“It was fascinating to watch the Downtown Los Angeles sunrise, when the natural world immerses the industrial environment in light,” says lo-fi prodigy Moses Sumney, who is perched on top of the Ace Hotel in the latest installment of our series with Yours Truly, Sunrise, Sunset. “It's such a contemporary phenomenon, it feels almost futuristic. I live in Mid-City, where things are more quintessentially California: the sun peaks up out of the palm trees and casts their shadows on the sidewalk.” The San Bernardino-born singer-songwriter’s expressive folk-soul hybrid turned music industry heads throughout 2013 despite playing only a handful of shows and being without a record label. He is fresh from playing New York Fashion Week’s closing party with Solange Knowles and her Saint Records a fortnight ago, covering Sade’s “Love Is Stronger Than Pride” in a collaboration with fellow breakout alt-RnB artist Kelela. “Solange was a sweetheart,” says Sumney. “She gave me a warm introduction and came back onstage during my set to ensure the rowdy fashion week crowd was paying attention.” Sumney starts his weekly month-long residency at Los Angeles’ Bootleg Theater tonight, with alongside local rising artists Deradoorian, yOya and Kan Wakan. “I’ve seen tons of residencies at the venue and they seem to represent an LA rite of passage,” says Sumney of the city’s live music heritage. “It feels very egalitarian that someone like me, who wasn't raised in the LA scene at all, could come in so suddenly and be embraced.”

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