“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.