AARON LAMPERT TALKS SAGE FRANCIS – TEXT LUKE BATHER
Aaron Lampert is an animator and musician working in just about any medium he can get his hands on. His appearance in the music video world is infrequent but always interesting. Videos jump from Aztec-futurism to environmentally conscientious puppetry and most recently, the sci-fi graphic novel aesthetic for his excellent video for Sage Francis. We spoke to Aaron about getting inspiration from 80s sci-fi movies and comic books and how working outside your comfort zone can be the most comfortable thing of all.
Word Is Cheap: How did you come to make the Sage Francis video?
Aaron Lampert: I’ve known Sage for some years now, he’s a friend and I’m a big fan of his music. I’ve previously worked with him in a musical context as well as with others members of the Strange Famous crew. I’d wanted to make an animated video for one of his tracks for a while; we discussed which song from his latest album ‘Copper Gone’ could benefit from some animation and decided on ‘ID THIEVES.’ I pitched the basic premise to him, which he was into, and we took it from there.
WIC: The video has an air of John Carpenter-esque social paranoia about it, mixed in with some great dystopian Sci-Fi references, did you approach it with these in mind from the start?
AL: Definitely. The music (which was produced by MP Champion and James Hancock) reminded me of some of my favourite 80s and early 90s sci-fi movies, particularly that opening synth pedal with the electric guitar. That was my starting point in terms of developing the look of the film.
WIC: Stylistically, what influenced the overall look and colour palette of the video?
AL: Big influences include comic books such as Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira and Masamune Shirow’s Ghost In the Shell (and both of their animated adaptations), Blade Runner, the first two Terminator films, as well as some lesser-known B-movies of that era.
The colour palette occurred quite organically, I think it was pretty much an amalgamation of those influences, plus my natural preference for keeping things quite restrained and using complimentary colours, etc.
WIC: A lot of your work incorporates mixed media, how important is it for you to incorporate these different elements into each project?
AL: That’s very important to me. I guess I try to make the kind of work that I want to see – I always find it exciting to see animation where I’m not sure exactly how it was done. I feel as though there are still exciting discoveries to be made through combining different techniques. Another reason is that I like to be constantly learning, pushing myself and working with techniques that are new to me. I usually find the process more enjoyable when I step outside of my creative comfort zone, even if that does mean more trial and error, it feels like the only way to truly move forward.
WIC: What are you working on at the moment?
AL: Right now, aside from my freelance animation and sound design work, I’m working on a top-secret musical project and trying to focus on my drawing. I’m also trying to be more pro-active on social media; those who are so inclined can find me at: