Moop Jaw is a collective of 4 artists (Rhett Wade-Ferrell, Warran Wright, Antuong Nguyen, Ryan Frazer) known predominantly for music videos but don’t be fooled, they have their sights set on world domination. We spoke to one quarter of the collective, Rhett Wade-Ferrell, about his recent trip to America, stalking Jessica Biel, shooting a Christian Joy documentary and working with Neon Indian and Peaches. Also known as reasons this whole “world domination” thing might come to fruition.
Hey Rhett, we hear you’ve been working on the new Neon Indian video – how did that come about? We met Alan Polomo (Neon Indian) when he was here working on the Miami Horror album with Ben. Ben in turn was producing Alan’s Vega EP. For those of you who don’t know, Vega and Neon Indian are both Alan Polomo’s projects. Anyway, we took Alan for a night in Melbourne while he was here knowing he wanted us to work on the Deadbeat Summer video, so I match made him up with Antuong. Antuong and Alan came up the concept which is basically a sunny day out in New York that is not as good as a day he had last summer. This is what Deadbeat Summer is about. It turned out Antuong couldn’t come to the US with us cause he had a lot to finish off in Melbourne so he gave me his brief and I directed it. It turned out Alan was a bit more comical than I think Antuong had anticipated but he’s a pretty fun loving guy so I just ran with it.
Still from forthcoming Neon Indian video “Deadbeat Summer”.
We’ve also heard that you stalked Jessica Biel and Jin from Lost for the video…Well we weren’t really stalking. I guess when you are in the US you just see celebs around. It’s kinda nice I think to see these people in the flesh. Living in Australia we only really see them in mags and TV and they are always on pedestals but in the US they are just bummin around. Jessica Biel was eating in a restaurant, Jin was walking through this market thing, Sofia Coppola was buying stuff on Lafayette st, Orlando Bloom was munching a bagel etc. I guess they aren’t the kinda people the paparazzi chase down but New York is pretty level I think, no one really batters too much of an eye. Although when the Yankees took out the world series and Jay Z was playing at this thing for the Yankee Parade, people went pretty mental.
Still from Beni’s “Maximus” video.
The Moop Jaw crew also have a Peaches video coming up. Has it gotten to the point where people are approaching you guys? The Peaches thing came about pretty organically. She had seen the first Hawnay Troof video Moop Jaw did and liked it, so she was familiar with us. When she was doing her DJ tour of Australia, she just called Antuong up a week before her Melbourne show and asked him if he wanted to direct a clip for Mommy Complex which is produced by Digitalism. Even though Antuong only had a week to pull it together Peaches isn’t someone you say no to and I have been fans since her first tour with Cobra Killer in 2002 so its pretty bizarre to end up working with her. Antuong chose to make a clip that was quite reductionist, in terms of the narrative structure. and decided the most successful video would be one that brought her performance and power to the forefront. So he basically set up a scene where she was able to run amok and she just looked AMAZING! A Madonna for the underground.
Still from forthcoming Christian Joy documentary by Moop Jaw.
World domination seems imminent, what other projects are you guys working on? We are working on heaps of things at the moment. Antuong is shooting the new video for Sally Seltman this weekend and we have Warrick Baker doing Art Direction for the clip which is pretty exciting, we are big fans of his work and he’s a fan of Moop Jaw so we are all really happy about the collaboration. I shot a documentary in New York about Christian Joy (costume designer for Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs) and her husband Jason which will come out next year through a new part of Moop Jaw called Moop Jaw Films (creative name I know). Warran is putting the final touches on the new Golden Filter Video for ‘Thunderbirds’ due for release in about a week and working on the artwork for the debut Miami Horror album with artist Ross Paxman (ex Young & Restless RIP bass player). We are also putting together an exhibition for next year. The exhibition is basically Moop Jaw and friends and it’s planned to tour Australia, Japan and the USA. We are also working on something with a major sports brand but it’s kinda top secret at the moment. Also we are developing a collaboration with Christian Joy for a series of art films in which she will do all of the art direction so its going to be pretty mental to see her costume ideas translate into an entire world. And of course the Peaches video will be coming out before the end of the year. We actually are also going to be welcoming a New York artist/director from to Moop Jaw this month so we’ll be sure to let you know when we are ready to let the cat out. Last but not least we have decided to open a second office in New York in early 2010, crazy!.
Still from forthcoming Peaches video “Mommy Complex”.
So the trip to America was fruitful one? We met a lot of rad people over here, it has been totally amazing and I’d be happy to stick around. We extended our stay in NY by an extra 2 weeks purely because of the amazing response we were getting to our work. Most of the time people don’t return our calls in Australia but in NY and LA people were so positive and thanking us for reaching out to them, we even got approached by Playboy about working on something. We had drinks with Patrick Daughters (director for Feist, YYY’s and Liars) the other day which was pretty rad cause he is such a heavy weight director. He had the nicest fedora I have seen in a while. I also had some apple pie at Jim Tozzi of PFFR’s (one of the people behind Wonder Showzen and Xavier Renegade Angel) house which was great, he showed me the original paintings from Xavier and I got to play with the Wonder Showzen puppets. So there will hopefully be a collaboration with him very soon.