Warren Fu Talks Julian Casablancas



Warren Fu’s music work is an excellent realisation of style and mixed media experimentation. From his promo work with Daft Punk, through to recent music videos for the likes of Snoop Dogg & Pharell, Haim and Weezer he’s proved that he can bring his own vision to a project and truly turn it into something special.

Recently, Warren collaborated with Nicholaus Goossen on a huge post-apocalyptic short film for Human Sadness by Julian Casablancas and The Voidz. We caught up and had a chat about how the short came together, why different formats were used and what having a theatre screening felt like.

Word Is Cheap: How did the collaboration with Nicholaus Goossen and the Human Sadness video itself come to be?

Warrren Fu: Nicholaus is a friend of Jeramy Gritter, who plays guitar in The Voidz, and he recommended him to us.

There’s no better feeling than seeing your work showcased in a large format in front of a large audience

WIC: There’s a real mixture of formats being used in the video, which really puts across a very grand idea of memory and a sort of historical documenting of it. Was this style something you had in mind from the beginning?

WF: The original idea Julian and I had was to have 5 or 6 directors take on different scenes with their own style and voice, sort of like the movie Four Rooms.  But because of logistics it ended up being easier to work with fewer directors each taking on a handful of scenes.  Julian requested that the performance scenes to be shot with Beta for a vintage TV look, but pretty much left it up to the directors to decide on the formats of the other scenes.  He liked the strangeness of the different styles because it created a sense of ambiguity to where and when everything was taking place.

WIC: The video feels like an event itself – How did it feel to have a theatre screening for it?

WF: There’s no better feeling than seeing your work showcased in a large format in front of a large audience.  Music video directors never really get to see how people react to their work, aside from YouTube comments, so it was really refreshing to see, hear and feel people’s reactions.  It’s quite a rush when they react appropriately.

WIC: Signage and logo graphics seem to be a recurring motif in your work (from things like the Haim video to the logo you made for Aziz Ansari). What appeal does it have for you?   

WF: I met Danielle Haim 6 years ago when I was art directing Julian Casablancas’ first solo album, so she was familiar with that aspect of my work and requested that logo / sign for their video.  I approach each project differently and try to avoid repeating myself, so I actually didn’t want the Weezer video to have the big W from their live shows, but it was something the band really wanted.

Design happens to be one of the art forms that I pay attention to in creating an overall experience, but it is just one of many things that I care about.  I’m passionate about cinematography, editing, lighting, movement, production design, sound design, performance, drama, comedy, action, storytelling etc.  I love that you can integrate any kind of art into filmmaking.

WIC: What’s next for you?

WF: I’m taking a short break from videos, and I am currently working on feature film ideas.  I am also going to hopefully paint a mural some time during my break.

Luke Bather

I live in Manchester and I make Music Videos. Sometimes I write things and I think all this coffee is giving me chest pains. -
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