Part One: The Only One
Destroy Rock Music is a collaboration between Emmy Award winning designers Jason Bognacki and Clay Lipsky. Together they represent a new breed of Hollywood filmmaker that blur the lines between director, designer, animator, cinematographer and editor. Throughout their careers they have applied their graphic sensibilities for clients such as BBC America, Discovery Channel, PBS and HBO.Truth&Rights recently spoke to Clay regarding Destroy Rock Music’s massive collaboration with the indie-powerhouse, Manchester Orchestra on their epic 11-act, long-form video, Everything to Nothing, well as their perceptions of their art and process.
Part Two: Shake It Out
Part Three: I’ve Got Friends
Part Four: Pride
Part Five: 100 Dollars
Part Six: I Can Feel a Hot One
Bonus: I Can Barely Breathe
The DRM, Inc. Interview
T&R: Tell us about the mission behind Destroy Rock Music.
DRM: Our mission is fairly straightforward, to work on creative projects that inspire and challenge us.
After years of working together in the Los Angeles post-production scene, we both had artistic ambitions to do more with ourselves. Destroy Rock Music is a partnership born out of that need to create, no matter what the medium is.
T&R: Realizing that you and your creative partner Jason are well versed in multiple disciplines, how is the initial inspiration derived when you take on a new project?
DRM: Inspiration comes to us from a variety of sources. In general we practice a very casual, free form way of brainstorming. A simple conversation or even a single photo can spawn the ideas that will ultimately lead to a final concept. Sometimes we start with just the overall mood we want to convey and then work it out from there. Having similar tastes and a mutual appreciation for cinema, pop-culture, art & design makes it easy for us to find shared references and inspirations.
T&R: The epic scope of your “Everything to Nothing” series for Manchester Orchestra is clearly evident. What was the process like from conception to completion?
DRM: The Manchester Orchestra project was a massive undertaking for us. Faced with heavy time and budgetary constraints, we had to cultivate a creative process and production flow that would ultimately lead to an hour-long feature. Additionally, the record label wanted a sequential video release leading up to and following the album’s debut. Consequently we had to dive immediately into production and deliver “episodes” as we went. Simply put, we started on a cinematic journey and held on for the ride. Luckily for us, the band and music label were very supportive and allowed us to create and explore at will.
Our vision was to create a cinematic collage of decaying film and lost memories intertwined with a loose narrative about a young woman on a surreal journey to find what she is missing. The lead female character was originally introduced in another Manchester video, “I Can Barely Breathe,” that we directed over a year ago. Over the course of the album we would also explore a variety of themes through unique juxtapositions of found footage, original storytelling, animation, art & design. We wanted to embrace the organic, imperfect nature of celluloid film for this project and use it as the visual glue to tie everything together. For us, the grunge and grit of aging home movies is both aesthetically beautiful but also a compelling window into generations of lost memories and speaks to the nature of the band’s music.
The production on this project is a virtual collision of technology, techniques, formats and media. Numerous reels of 8mm, Super8 and 16mm footage were digitized in addition to media sourced from DVDs, tapes and other legacy formats. Original footage was shot on a variety of cameras ranging from super8 to HD and the cutting edge digital cinema camera, RED ONE. Media management has been a major technological hurdle in addition to conforming the various media formats into something manageable. A 20 Terabyte video server was created to archive the film footage and digital assets. Apple computers were used for animation, compositing, editing and design.
T&R: You work in a medium that is constantly evolving as technology advances. Do you think that landmark pieces of film still receive the attention they deserve or is the public forced to move on to the next seminal project too quickly?
DRM: Today’s media landscape does move pretty fast. I know I have been a ravenous consumer of media, with little time or patience for that which does not immediately grab me. So I can see how quality work does get brushed aside too quickly. However, I do think the fast paced internet culture that sweeps away media before its time is also a great vehicle for work to be seen and archived for future viewings.
T&R: As a purveyor of the medium yourself, what in your mind defines a great piece of film?
DRM: I enjoy films that transcend the mundane and have a clever, motivated mix of style and story.
Every frame should be beautiful and the cinematic flow should be a syncopated rhythm that takes us on journey.
What is on the immediate horizon for you and Jason?
We are still finishing up the Manchester project and simultaneously working on a variety of broadcast television graphics and promos. Ultimately Jason plans on creating a feature length adaptation of his “Red Door” short film and I look forward to pursuing more fine art photography.