Peter Huang verges on the ridiculous, a deep dark ridiculous you can’t help but laugh at. With his previous video for SonReal being a laugh a minute in situations that really aren’t funny we were pleasantly surprised by the difference in direction he brought to Omar LinX’s ‘The Wild’. Diversity shows guts (not the kind of guts blown out of your body by the poolside…), a willingness to try new things and see what you can really do. Peter has guts. Peter has talent.
Taking Baraka as an influence we’re introduced into a world of animation that is both and enthralling. We wanted to know more about this world so had a chat with Peter about colour, themes and style.
Word Is Cheap: How and why did you decide to make an animation based music video?
Peter Huang: I like experimenting. From my perspective there’s no better medium to do it than in music videos. I grew up watching a lot of Linklater, and I really like how diverse his body of work is; I guess I’ve always aspired to that.
WIC: What was the process of creating the animation?
PH: We basically referenced a lot of news/documentary footage we had seen and had compiled together. W edited the footage into a ‘live action’ video. I made this giant PDF that detailed each section and its thematic goals… it then went into detail on how to treat each shot…. Then I sent the animators off to reinterpret the footage how they wished, with guidelines on how to approach the palette and the tone.
WIC: Why did you reduce the colours to primarily red and blue in the opening sequence?
PH: We always wanted two colours to portray conflict and antagonism. We ended up choosing red and blue because we could avoid any sort of racial bias to their skin colours.
WIC: How did you decide on the themes for the animations?
PH: The video is structured like a visual essay in 5 parts. Each part has its own progression and sequence, and the parts themselves are ordered in a way that expands from one idea to the next. It’s actually pretty linear and logical in the way that it presents itself.
I think it’s always good for people to interpret videos for themselves but in the most general sense, I will say that the video is based on existential and moral nihilism. But because of that, I think it’s really easy to interpret it in different ways too. You can interpret it as the futility of human conflict against the vast expanse of the universe. Or you can interpret it as creation/destruction being inherently apart of us because that’s just how the universe is. You can even interpret spirituality in it… The entire video kind of goes through two cycles of existence – i.e. the universe is created then destroyed then recreated then destroyed again. One cycle is more from a human perspective, and the other is from a perspective that feels more overarching – like how a god would see things. I like the idea of cycles. Death is treated so linearly in western spirituality… I think that’s incorrect. Sorry Jesus.
Again, people can interpret it how they wish… It really depends on the person. Everyone sees what they see and they all end up projecting their own thoughts onto it. I can really go at length about the ideas behind it but I’d rather they think about it themselves.
Is this pretentious? Maybe it’s pretentious.
WIC: With your last promo for SonReal being so different, where do you feel your style lies?
PH: Ummm.. violent? Haha. I honestly just like trying things that are different. SonReal got me excited because I thought, ‘the audience has no idea what to expect.’ Omar Linx is the same way. I am in it for the artist-sponsored experimentation process. Pop videos obviously have a lot more stipulations on what you can do tonally, but I think there’s still a lot of room to play, no matter who the artist is.
If I had to settle on a style that’s distinctly me, I think a lot of my more original work skews into a world that’s darkly comic and a little ‘off’… I have also recently realized that I have issues with subtlety – most of my videos are chiselled with sledgehammers. So a subtle, more realistic world is something that I would like to explore…
WIC: Can we expect to see more animation based promos in the future?
PH: Hopefully. I have a great idea for a live action/animation hybrid video. We pitched it to a pretty major artist. They said it was ‘too violent.’ 😀