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“Idea” ft. Chance the Rapper

“Idea” ft. Chance the Rapper

Michael Carnevale

Michael Carnevale

November 5, 2018

This moody music video will leave you wanting more.

"I really didn’t want it to be a conceptual narrative, just beautiful visuals."

Recently, R&B/soul group The O’My’s called on Jason Peterson and the Annex to direct their latest music video, “Idea,” in their hometown of Chicago. We spoke with Jason about the creative direction behind the video, what it was like working with Chance the Rapper, and what’s next for him and the team.

 

How different is the process of producing a music video versus an ad spot?

The process is exactly the same. We had an idea, we set it up, and we shot it a week and a half later. It was a very DIY production. The production hard cost was $4,000, and the majority of that money was for the rain machine and water truck to wet down the alleys. All of us got together; we had cameras and shot a video in an alleyway in Chicago.

What made Annex excited about this particular project with The O’My’s?

What we’re trying to do with Annex is to merge advertising content and music-based creativity. The overarching goal is to deliver content under the Vivendi model—Universal Music Group and Havas—and Annex is the center point of that. Although the O’My’s are not a Universal Music artist, they are a Chicago-based artist, and the opportunity to partner with them and Chance the Rapper was a big deal. I set aside a goal for Annex to be creating music-based content this year. This video was the first of four or five we have planned for the year. Not just shot by me, but other people within Annex as well.

What’s the concept of this video?

It’s meant to be late summer, a warm rainstorm in Chicago and the video is a performance type of piece. I really didn’t want it to be a conceptual narrative, just beautiful visuals. When they sent me the track, I spent an entire night walking around Chicago thinking about the music. I thought if I could get it to rain in Chicago, that sort of vibe felt like the visual, emotional equivalent of the song.

"There’s a purity to the image that stands or falls; to me, great black-and-white photography or film focuses you on that emotion or feeling more than anything else."

Why black-and-white?

It focuses your attention and emotion on the imagery itself. I find color to be distracting. People say shooting black-and-white photography is easier, but I don’t think so. There’s a purity to the image that stands or falls; to me, great black-and-white photography or film focuses you on that emotion or feeling more than anything else.

Did you feel any extra pressure since this was the debut video single for Tomorrow, the O’My’s’ first project since their Keeping the Faith EP in 2015?

Not with the O’My’s because I’m friends with them, and I shot a photo shoot for two of their singles prior to this. They’re the most talented, sweetest, nicest guys I’ve met. There was a little pressure when Chance showed up for the shoot. I’ve met and shot him before, so we have a relationship, but he was in the middle of recording an album and was busy, so it was serious business when he was there.

Take us behind the scenes: What was it like working with the R&B group and Chance the Rapper, who was featured in the video and song?

Chance comes on set, and—I mean—it’s Chance the Rapper. He is one of the biggest artists in the world, and the biggest in Chicago—probably next to Kanye. You got to be ready to go when Chance is there, and we didn’t have a big production to hide behind. I’m sitting on a milk crate on the back of a pickup truck with Chance the Rapper as the rain’s kind of shooting over him. I think he didn’t want to get wet, so that’s part of the reason I did the umbrella; and at the same time, I wanted it to look like it was realistically raining, so we were trying to make sure our grips were shooting the water over him so it looked like it was falling directly around him without getting him wet. That was the only trick—and just getting the performance piece right. He was kneeling down in the back of a pickup truck, looking like he’s strolling down the street. I wanted that shot, definitely influenced by Spike Lee cinematography—that tracking shot that looks surreal because they’re not really moving but everything is tracking together.

Was this the first music video produced by Annex for a signed group?

Technically it’s the second, but it’s the first to be released. We have a bunch of other ones planned.

What’s next?

We’re planning some other music videos. I’m working on doing one for Joey Purp over the next couple of weeks. These are all “extra credit” things. We’re doing work for our clients, but these are things we’re doing proactively to be stronger, better creatives and push ourselves into new creative mediums.

"I really didn’t want it to be a conceptual narrative, just beautiful visuals."

Recently, R&B/soul group The O’My’s called on Jason Peterson and the Annex to direct their latest music video, “Idea,” in their hometown of Chicago. We spoke with Jason about the creative direction behind the video, what it was like working with Chance the Rapper, and what’s next for him and the team.

 

How different is the process of producing a music video versus an ad spot?

The process is exactly the same. We had an idea, we set it up, and we shot it a week and a half later. It was a very DIY production. The production hard cost was $4,000, and the majority of that money was for the rain machine and water truck to wet down the alleys. All of us got together; we had cameras and shot a video in an alleyway in Chicago.

What made Annex excited about this particular project with The O’My’s?

What we’re trying to do with Annex is to merge advertising content and music-based creativity. The overarching goal is to deliver content under the Vivendi model—Universal Music Group and Havas—and Annex is the center point of that. Although the O’My’s are not a Universal Music artist, they are a Chicago-based artist, and the opportunity to partner with them and Chance the Rapper was a big deal. I set aside a goal for Annex to be creating music-based content this year. This video was the first of four or five we have planned for the year. Not just shot by me, but other people within Annex as well.

What’s the concept of this video?

It’s meant to be late summer, a warm rainstorm in Chicago and the video is a performance type of piece. I really didn’t want it to be a conceptual narrative, just beautiful visuals. When they sent me the track, I spent an entire night walking around Chicago thinking about the music. I thought if I could get it to rain in Chicago, that sort of vibe felt like the visual, emotional equivalent of the song.

"There’s a purity to the image that stands or falls; to me, great black-and-white photography or film focuses you on that emotion or feeling more than anything else."

Why black-and-white?

It focuses your attention and emotion on the imagery itself. I find color to be distracting. People say shooting black-and-white photography is easier, but I don’t think so. There’s a purity to the image that stands or falls; to me, great black-and-white photography or film focuses you on that emotion or feeling more than anything else.

Did you feel any extra pressure since this was the debut video single for Tomorrow, the O’My’s’ first project since their Keeping the Faith EP in 2015?

Not with the O’My’s because I’m friends with them, and I shot a photo shoot for two of their singles prior to this. They’re the most talented, sweetest, nicest guys I’ve met. There was a little pressure when Chance showed up for the shoot. I’ve met and shot him before, so we have a relationship, but he was in the middle of recording an album and was busy, so it was serious business when he was there.

Take us behind the scenes: What was it like working with the R&B group and Chance the Rapper, who was featured in the video and song?

Chance comes on set, and—I mean—it’s Chance the Rapper. He is one of the biggest artists in the world, and the biggest in Chicago—probably next to Kanye. You got to be ready to go when Chance is there, and we didn’t have a big production to hide behind. I’m sitting on a milk crate on the back of a pickup truck with Chance the Rapper as the rain’s kind of shooting over him. I think he didn’t want to get wet, so that’s part of the reason I did the umbrella; and at the same time, I wanted it to look like it was realistically raining, so we were trying to make sure our grips were shooting the water over him so it looked like it was falling directly around him without getting him wet. That was the only trick—and just getting the performance piece right. He was kneeling down in the back of a pickup truck, looking like he’s strolling down the street. I wanted that shot, definitely influenced by Spike Lee cinematography—that tracking shot that looks surreal because they’re not really moving but everything is tracking together.

Was this the first music video produced by Annex for a signed group?

Technically it’s the second, but it’s the first to be released. We have a bunch of other ones planned.

What’s next?

We’re planning some other music videos. I’m working on doing one for Joey Purp over the next couple of weeks. These are all “extra credit” things. We’re doing work for our clients, but these are things we’re doing proactively to be stronger, better creatives and push ourselves into new creative mediums.

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