NAKED FACES TALK HEALTH – TEXT LUKE BATHER
Naked Faces is the guise under which the duo of Andrew Barchilon and Kitao Sakurai create a vast array of projects for screens of all sizes. They have everything from feature films and commercials to music videos and artist films under their belt, but Naked Faces truly cemented their place in the visual world thanks to their work co-creating and directing Adult Swim’s cult talk show The Eric Andre Show. Somehow with all this Eric Andre business going from strength to strength they still managed to find time to shoot an amazing video to accompany the return of LA noise rock heroes HEALTH. We caught up with Andrew Barchilon to chat about how making a TV spot for his own show morphed into a full music video shoot.
WORD IS CHEAP: The Health video is brilliant! How did the project come into fruition?
ANDREW BARCHILON of NAKED FACES: Thanks! It started as a 30 second TV ad for their appearance on The Eric Andre Show. It had been forever since HEALTH released an album, so we decided to hype their appearance on the show with an extreme interpretation of their new sound and our approach was to portray them as a pop supergroup. I’d seen the Beyoncé and Jay Z concert ads recently so that was a logical starting point. Once we got into it we were having so much fun we wanted to make a whole music video. Stonefist jumped out at us and we went all out to make them awesome beautiful superstars. The plastic surgery felt obvious by the time we thought of it. btw you can see the original ad at nakedfacesfilm.com
WIC: With The Eric Andre Show taking up a lot of your time, do you have to take extra considerations for other projects?
ABoNF: Yeah, it means you consider how much sleep you can do without. And you have to be really certain that not only is the project an idea you’re into, but that you have the people you need to pull it off. Perhaps most important is to have an editor you trust and Luke Lynch has edited every season of our show and every HEALTH video, so we knew if we could shoot something good he could make it better. Topher Osborn the DP was also amazing and Golden Sunshyne who does the hair and make-up on the EAS was critical. I was sitting with her in my car a day or so before the shoot and pretty much making her promise me that everything would be ok, and she brought on Nestor and a whole team that killed it.
WIC: For the first minute or so, the Stonefist video lulls you into this false sense of security and just appears to be a straight performance video before taking a great set of turns, what was the thinking behind that?
ABoNF: I’ve always been into work that has tonal shifts. I’m non-committal and/or I get bored easily. On the EAS we are always trying to take the audience on 90 degree turns rather than smooth arcs. I’m sure we could have started with the surgery and made the whole video with the new faces, but I think that would have gotten old or just turned people off right away or it would be all just a simple joke.
WIC: The video itself seems to mirror quite closely the band’s conscious choice to bastardise the gloss and perfection of some mainstream pop tropes. Would you say this was a collaborative effort between you and the band?
ABoNF: Definitely. I went to college with Jake and Jupiter and have been friends with the band since the beginning. For years now HEALTH and Naked Faces have wanted to work together. We love working against established styles and tropes, that’s what the EAS is as well. This video concept involved shooting the promo and then hours of all of us drinking together before we had a solid and shared vision to make the second two thirds of it. The HEALTH guys are really visual and into cinema and want to take risks, so it’s fantastic working with them.
WIC: How do you feel comedy in music videos has evolved since the advent of Adult Swim?
ABoNF: So much was happening in music at that time, the music industry collapse and the rise of Adult Swim were parallel. Anyway, AS does an amazing job delivering the best and most avant-garde shit on TV, visually and comedically, so of course you see the bleed over. I don’t really know how to answer your question. Comedy has always been mixed up with videos. It’s just the comedic sensibility changing along with everything else. I can say Tim & Eric clearly had a strong influence on the last 5 years of music videos.
WIC: What’s next for Naked Faces?
ABoNF: That music video was really fun, maybe more of that.