NINIAN DOFF TALKS RUN THE JEWELLS - TEXT LUKE TIERNEY
Ninian, Ninian, Ninian. When will the good times end eh? Hopefully never. Hopefully. Never. As this is mega; throwbacks to classic 90s hip hop classics, insects getting freaky with plants, plants eating their lovers. Woah. Yes. And it's all for everyone's favourite music and music video makers, Run The Jewells! Ninian has and will always be a firm Word Is Cheap favourite and he continues to show why. So we continue asking him just how he does it. Word Is Cheap: How did you come up with such a simple and perfect idea for 'Love Again'? Ninian Doff: The thing with this track is you can’t ignore the chorus and lyrics. Any idea has to acknowledge the “dick in her mouth” directly! So I guess that was the starting point - how to explore the lyrics in a way which wasn’t obvious or too literal (or pornographic).
With the venus fly trap verse I basically got to pretend to be Hype Williams in the 90s doing a Missy Elliott video… but on a tiny scale. I was loving it.
WIC: What were the stresses of working with insects and plants? ND: The first stress is the complete lack of emotion or relatability. Knowing I wanted to tell a story all about lust and depravity but using an animal which is basically an emotionally void robot. The next stress was practical - how to shoot it. I can tell you now that insects seem to have two modes: completely still or flying away really fast. That magic moment in between those two states is where the magic is but sometimes only lasts 1 second. WIC: When working with such an unpredictable shoot, how important was the edit? ND: The edit was mammoth. Big shout out to editor Paul O’Reilly at Homespun. We shot 16 hours of footage in order to make a 4 minute video! WIC: What were your biggest influences when recreating a 'hip hop style with a difference' vibe? ND: With the venus fly trap verse I basically got to pretend to be Hype Williams in the 90s doing a Missy Elliott video... but on a tiny scale. I was loving it. I don’t know if anyone has ever been cooler than Missy Elliott in that inflatable suit in The Rain.
WIC: How did you develop your shot list for a shoot so specific? ND: People are surprised to hear it was actually super planned out. I did a animatic of the whole video and storyboarded it as if I had a normal controllable cast. That was actually kind of essential as it gave me a guide so I knew what to look for in the unpredictable insect behaviour. WIC: Is there a dream better than making a sexy insect and flowers video for RTJ? ND: It’s pretty good isn’t. It was premiered last weekend at Coachella in a RTJ set that also featured Nas, Zak De La Rocha and bizarrely Bernie Sanders. To have my work on the giant screen during a historic set like that is mind boggling. Life can be bonkers sometimes.