We had the chance to interview Ben Abraham, whose debut album Sirens is out now as well as the Darcy Prendergast fromOh Yeah Wow, who directed Ben’s new video for ‘You and Me.’ Read on to hear about Ben’s new video, their creative inspirations, and their various artistic talents.
Hey guys! Can you tell us a little bit about Oh Yeah Wow and what kinds of projects you work on?
OH YEAH WOW: Oh Yeah Wow is a creative collective based in Melbourne, Australia. We pride ourselves on selling in the more ambitious concepts and our ability to somehow pull them off. We do everything from TV, to clay animation, to VFX- and have a pretty large crew under the roof, with a varied skill set that enables us to tackle them. We’ve just finished a cartoon series for Nickelodeon called SupaPhresh, we’re writing another live action TV series, and have a clay animated short in the works called Monsters Playground… We’re forever switching mediums.
BEN ABRAHAM: Oh Yeah Wow have very quickly built up a reputation for being one of the most inventive and innovative production houses in Australia. In the music industry they’re known for their visual style and clever ideas in the vein of great music video directors like Michel Gondry and Spike Jonze.
What is the Oh Yeah Wow workspace like?
OYW: Here are a few photos. This is very much a quiet, lazy day at the studio- but you get a feel for how mental it’d normally be.
You directed the video for Ben Abraham’s song ‘You and Me’. How did you come up with the treatment for the video?
OYW:Myself and Josh Thomas here at the studio directed and conceived this clip and really just wanted to create something as heart breaking and poignant as the song. It has this heavy sense of loss, desperation but also hope about it, so we decided to create a surrealistic ‘post prom’ world in which our lead actress, Charly, gallivants about the hall, seemingly deranged, before the beauty of the night previous, reassembles; effectively rewinding the clock on their relationship/mistakes and reuniting her with Ben. With any good music video, I feel you can either sit within the mood of the song, or violently juxtapose it and for this clip it felt very much like one we needed to emotionally align with- pouring a lot of man hours into that final shot where thousands of fairy lights dangle in the air; giving a sense of romance and nostalgia to the otherwise grim scenario of a ‘break up/fight’.
Ben, is there anything in particular that inspired you to write this song?
BA:The song was written in my early twenties and is about the first time I fell pretty hard for someone who ultimately didn’t love me back.
How did the both of you end up coming together for this video?
BA:Ever since I saw Darcy’s work on Gotye’s ‘Easy Way Out’music video, I knew I had to work with the Oh Yeah Wow team.
Especially because the internet has made the world of music videos so saturated with bland, mediocre content that’s more about promotion than art.
Early on I set myself the rule that I would only ever make videos that were standalone works in themselves. Darcy and the OYW guys don’t waste their time producing middle-of-the-road content and I knew I would get something truly soulful from the collaboration.
Ben, the album cover art for Sirens is beautiful. Can you touch on how you created it and what kind of significance the artwork holds for you?
BA:Well cheers 🙂
The art was a sketch I did while my album was still being mixed. I actually didn’t think much of it when I did it – I even posted it to Instagram right after drawing it.In the weeks that followed however, I couldn’t stop thinking about the image and ended up deleting the Instagram post and started seriously considering it as the album cover. For me this album was all about documenting my consolidating years as an artist and I think the album art captures that.
It is iconic an image floating in empty space which I think carries a sense of completion. My likeness has been captured by both drawn lines and implied lines this reflects the lyrics of the album which are revealing in some ways but also leave much unsaid. It’s multi-coloured and almost looks like a map which calls to mind the idea of pieces that, though always distinct, came together to form something bigger than themselves. And finally the feathered pattern hints at the idea of the phoenix, which is a developing theme in my work.
Is drawing and painting something you do a lot of? How does that creative process differ from writing a song for you?
BA:I’ve always drawn and have recently taken up watercoloring. I’ve started to take my visual art more seriously as a creative outlet in recent years and want to keep pushing myself.It’s a hugely different creative process but I think being multidisciplinary is really important because being able to look at a theme or idea through a different medium brings out nuances you would never have otherwise noticed.
Any bands you’re currently excited about right now?
BA:I have talked about her in almost every interview I’ve done but I still can’t get enough of Aussie Ainslie Wills. She’s going to be huge and I’m going to be there cheering uncomfortably loudly in the front row. ‘But I’ll Try’ is a good playlist song.
Finally, what is the best way to for people to keep up with your work?
BA:I guess I’m on all the social media platforms you’d expect. Maybe the most communicative onTwitter – though 90% of it is rambling and attempts at comedy. Facebook is probably the safest. Or just follow me around in your car.
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