Braden Lee is a name that has been on our radar for a while now at Word Is Cheap and we now know pretty candid when it comes to interviews. After the twisted psychological joy his Psymun promo brought last week seeing another released so soon seemed like good luck, especially if you consider the Christmas quiet we have seen in the industry. Amosphere provide an incredibly varied track, the perfect backdrop for feeling rather than narrative to tell the story. Emotion takes over whilst you watch. Simply watch.
Right. That’s why we had to find out more about the skateboarder, the video’s concept and how his style has changed and will change.
Word Is Cheap: Atmosphere’s last promo that comes to mind is ‘Kanye West’, had you seen it? Did it set a precedence of quality in your mind?
Braden Lee: Early last year, I had a conversation with Rhymesayers about working on the film for Kanye West, but they already had a concept and an idea of who might end up making it. I thought it turned out great, but no it didn’t set any standard or precedence in terms of quality for January On Lake Street (JOLS).
What is the concept behind ‘January On Lake Street’? Is there a storyline?
I had developed a treatment for a different song on the Southsiders album and Sean (one half of Atmosphere) called me to explain that my vision for it was better suited for JOLS. He’s also a very visual person and has a really good grasp on what he wants which is great during the edit process. We follow a young skateboarder making the most of his last day. And we see these self-reflective portraits of people showing signs of guilt, depression, anxiety, fear and so on. If there’s any singular concept, it’s that our time is short so live as if each day could be your last. You’d have to ask Sean about the absolutely true meaning behind it all.
Had you shot skateboarders before, did it pose any problems on the day?
Jonathon Reese was the skater. He’s only 16, but really consistent and on the verge of pro so it was quite an easy shoot. I’ve never shot footage of a skater before. There’s actually a number of other amazing tricks and shots that didn’t make it in the final version.
Following on from Psymun – ‘Talk 2 Me’ would you say loose narrative is what you’re all about?
I love music videos and films that lean more non-linear and not spelt out for the viewer. I think it’s more fun for one to put the pieces together and have some sort of moment of realization.
Considered shots dominate your style, what is it about static shots that you prefer to handheld for example?
I’ve only been making music videos for a little over a year now and videos in general for about seven so I think it’s just an exploration of my style. I started out more handheld then to a counterweight stabilizer and now using a brushless gimbal stabilizer with super slow motion so inherently the movements are smooth. In the future, I’d like to start employing a more frenetic handheld aesthetic, but with that said I think it’s dependent on what you’re trying to convey for any given shot. There’s a lot of power with camera movement, not only visually but psychologically.