1) Introduce yourself!
My name is Nico and I'm the Lead Motion Graphics Artist at Big Button.
2) You created a video for Nocturne, which is a fairly obscure track. How did you find that song? Are you a long time Ash fan?
You could definitely say I'm a long time Ash fan. I can vividly remember hearing the solo to Lose Control for the first time and being unable to believe how exciting it was - I was pretty new to music and I'd never heard anything like it. I was hooked instantly. Lyrically and musically, they seemed to be totally in sync with what I was feeling at the time, and that's never really changed.
I heard Nocturne on the Candy single and always thought it was a very cool song. Earlier this year I think I'd briefly had enough of fast-paced, technology-heavy life and had a sudden urge to make a video that was just beautiful for beauty's sake, and Nocturne was the song that popped into my head. I never expected anything to come of it, so it was a real buzz when Mark said that he liked it and suggested I write a treatment for ROWR.
I thought it might be a nice, relaxed song like Nocturne, but when I first heard it I knew that floaty balls in space wasn't going to be good enough - the video needed to be epic. We wrote a pretty ambitious treatment that eventually got the ok from Tav and the guys, so any feelings of fanboy lightheadedness on my part were quickly replaced by 'how the hell are we going to get this done in time for June??'.
From fanboy to video making legend.
3) The Return of White Rabbit video is filled with easter eggs. Did you and the band come up with those ideas together? It's a treat for us old-school fans.
The easter eggs were down to me...and to be honest, I originally intended for there to be far, far more of them in there. The truth is, it took so long to do the ones for the classroom scene at the start that I knew if I carried on like that, the video would never be finished in time! I'd had ludicrous visions of having an easter egg for each previous single...but that idea quickly went down the pan. It's actually a tricky thing to do seamlessly - they can't be so obvious that they distract the casual viewer from the story or the track.
4) Who came up with the concept for ROWR?
I came up with a basic treatment then knocked some more ideas around with my friend Aidan before refining the first draft that the band saw. Initially the story and designs were quite cartoonish, and the band wanted us to go down a darker route and give all of the characters 'real attitude'. I could see where they were coming from, so we made the designs more mature, and twisted the story to be more focused and tragic. However, I really wanted the contrast of good and evil to be in there, so we poured all of the 'attitude' into the demonic alter-ego, working on the 'Darth Maul Principle'. The principle being that if everyone in Episode 1 wasn't so lame, Darth Maul wouldn't have seemed so badass. Interestingly, in an early draft the main character's dark side was going to be a demonic rabbit a la Donnie Darko!
Obviously the main concern was to make the video complement the song and work for the band. Sadly there's always a risk when making videos like this that the end result will be completely at odds with people's own personal interpretations of the track, but we really tried to keep the narrative in sync with the ebb and flow of the music, building to the key change at the end and then really letting rip. I'd always liked the way the Starcrossed video had a slow build to its climax and left you feeling like you'd been part of a sound, honest story with a good heart. We were aiming to achieve the same sort of thing with ROWR - a simple story that took you on a wild ride and had an ending that might make you think. Of course, people might not care about any of that, but hopefully there's enough eye-candy in there to carry it through!
Like Mark said in the last blog though, the band pretty much left us to it after a certain stage, so by the time we presented the video to them in their London rehearsal rooms just before the Bloomsbury gigs, I had no idea if they were going to like the finished product or not. It had only been finished at 5am that morning and I hadn't been to bed, so I was pretty much an incoherent mess of a man. Luckily it went down well, and it's been great to see it go online and into the official canon of Ash vids. I can't wait to see what they come up with next.
Ash are presented with the finished ROWR video.