Editor’s Note: It was such a fantastic time conversing with Joey Danger about his EP “Lust & Vulgarity”, along with his award-winning music video for “Surrender”. We learned how much attention to detail one has to be in order to create a memorable music video, and Joey Danger certainly did that when he created the music video for “Surrender”. He certainly had the movie “Blade Runner” with Nicolas Cage in mind when he created that music video. Fans can find Joey Danger at the following locations:
Madness To Creation: What does a videographer do when they make videos?
Joey: Well, I don’t consider myself much of a videographer, a videographer is someone who captures moments and events on film, I create those moments and those events, so it’s a little bit different. I consider myself more of a director and I sometimes consider myself a cinematographer, but most of the projects that I work on, I’m usually doing a green screen or a visual effects project, because those are the kinds of stories that I like to tell, and the visuals that excite me. I know a lot of people, especially friends that would consider themselves videographers, they’re really good at capturing the beauty in a moment, they can look at it from that angle or from this angle, it can be really cinematic or beautiful, but unfortunately I’m not really gifted with that talent. I just imagine something in my head that I think is really cool, it’s just easier to shoot everything green screen, because it allows me to get ideas and put them on screen.
Madness To Creation: You created the music video for “Surrender”, take us into that song and take us into that video.
Joey: Well, the song I recorded a few years ago in a studio for my album “Lust & Vulgarity”, and I wasn’t even going to make a music video for it, but I was talking to a few labels and I got a new agent, and they were saying that this was the song that I should make a music video for, so I got a call right around that time from IRK Magazine, which is a fashion magazine based out of Paris, and I worked with them in the past for one of their issues when I did an editorial for one of their stories. They reached out to me, and they said, “that they were doing a whole futurism feature for the magazine and we know that kind of fits your style, so we thought you’d be interested in participating”. They didn’t really have a budget for me to do it, and I knew that in order to do it the way that I wanted to do it, it was going to take a lot of time, and it was going to have to come out of pocket for a lot of things, so they mentioned “Blade Runner”, and for me that’s one of my favorite movies, it’s probably my favorite movie of all time, and it inspired me to get into film making when I was a kid, so getting a chance to enter that world, into that visual aesthetic, it was something that I always wanted to do, it was something that I was waiting for the opportunity to come along.
It was worth it to me, but I told them that I would do it under one circumstance, which I was actually getting ready to make a music video for my song “Surrender”, so I told them, “if we can have it be for the fashion film and a music video, then I can kill two birds with one stone, and I can take on the project, and we can make sure it’s something that we’re all proud of”, so they loved the idea and they were super excited about it, so I flew out and went to this photographer named Morgan Miller, I shot it at his studio over the course of three days. We put up green screens all over the studio, he has a live in home and work studio on Wall Street in Manhattan, we covered everything green screened, we had the models come in, I got the chance to work with Anna Miller, she’s really comfortable in front of the camera, she makes my job look easy because it was impossible for her to never look cool, she just always knows how to make sure that she makes herself look good. Kasia Krol was another model and she was fantastic, and I got to work with an awesome stylist named Cannon, he’s worked with a lot of celebrities, he’s worked with Raisa Flowers, who is an up and coming makeup artist and a lot of models. I was just really lucky, they gave me an amazing team, we all just worked really hard over the course of three days to get everything to look as good as we could, hair, makeup, and it was a lot of fun. We didn’t have a budget so I had to figure out how I was going to shoot this stuff.
I wasn’t just shooting the fashion stuff, it was also a photo shoot, so I showed up there with a storyboard, and I had all of these themes planned out and what I wanted to shoot and what the outfits needed to look like, and I realized since I’m sharing their time with the photographer, I had to almost completely throw my storyboard out the window because they had certain outfits that they had to wear, and those outfits had to be shot and they also had to be in the video, so in “Surrender”, when you see the clothing changing and them morphing and things like that, that was actually an excuse I came up in the video to explain why her outfits were changing, because initially they were only supposed to have two outfits and Anna, the main character ended up with four more outfits throughout the course of the video, and I had to figure out how I was going to explain that, so I came up with the idea that her clothing could change and her hair could change in order to keep the continuity.
It was a crazy process, but it was really inventive with the motorcycles that they are riding on, but we ended up making that out of a leather couch cushion that they sat on, taped to a stool, then I took a lighting rig and a tripod, and we taped it to the stool and the seat, it was one of those things were the girls were falling off of it constantly, it looked like they were holding on for dear life, they fell so many times and I have some of the funniest footage, but in the end I ended up using CGI to put in a bike, and it came out better than I expected.
Student A: Is there something that you haven’t done that you wanted to do yet?
Joey: I want to make a feature film, I’m in the process of trying to get funding for that now. “Surrender” was the opportunity for me to dip my toe into doing action, and it was also my way of letting people know that I could handle it. I want to do a cyberpunk sci-fi feature film, that is something that I haven’t done that I’m dying to do right now.
Student B: What do you hate doing the most?
Joey: Listening to other people’s ideas, or making changes when I love something, that’s the thing that I hate the most, when I do something and I absolutely love it when I make a commercial or something like that, and I’ve edited it and I’ve fallen in love with what I’m doing and when someone goes, “oh, that’s not what we want”, or “we don’t think that works”, or when somebody higher up than me changes something that I don’t like, and I have to make the change, that’s probably the worst part of the job for me honestly.
Madness To Creation: Give a quick plug on the EP, why should we listen to it?
Joey: “Lust & Vulgarity” was the first EP that I have done in almost eight years. I put my last EP out in 2011, after that I was making rock music and I was in a weird place because I didn’t feel like making that kind of music anymore, so I took a long time to figure out what I wanted to do creatively. I was listening to a lot of different influences, from everything from The Weeknd to A$AP Rocky, to metal, I was just all over the place, so rather than try to fit into a certain niche or make music that I thought would be trendy, so I just kind of locked myself away and did whatever comes to me naturally, and I pulled from lots of different influences from sonic music, to hip-hop to industrial to alternative rock to pop, anything that has inspired me, I pulled from, for me it’s something that makes me feel authentic and unique, it was weird because I grew up in a small town in Florida, and when I moved to New York, I didn’t know what it was going to be like once I got there, and I was able to access all of the things that I wanted, so I went down this rabbit hole of this self indulgence, and became kind of emotionally numb, to call it cliche, the “sex, drugs, and rock & roll”.
For me, this is a different album because my past album I talked about relationships, whereas this album is a very indulgent album talking about the struggles and things that I went through when I first got there over-indulging and getting into trouble and being in a really dark place, so if anybody wants to take that journey and listen to something that’s a little different than what they’re used to, I think it would connect with some people for sure.
Madness To Creation: Feel pretty good being out of that dark place?
Joey: Yeah, I don’t think I would be able to function if was still doing those things, there’s a lot of dedication, “Surrender” took me 15 months to make. I had to actually leave New York where I was living, and I had to move where I could afford to do it because like I said, there was no budget. In order for that video to get made, I had to be able to afford to spend 16 hours a day, sometimes longer almost every day on it, and I didn’t know what day or what time it was cause it was working on the video until I would fall asleep, and then I would wake up and keep working on visual effects shots, there’s over 100 visual effects shots in the video, one of them, even if it was just a split second long would take me 48 hours at least to complete. For example, in one scene there’s a flying car that whizzes by the camera in one long shot, just that shot alone almost took me a month to do, just the sheer amount of visual effects that went into it. I was doing all the visual effects shots myself on a laptop that was not the newest, it was a five year old laptop, it was slow and it was long, but I just believed that if I got it done, it would be something that would help propel my career, it would help my vision and it would help my song, and it would be featured in film festivals, and it got featured in an International Fashion Film Festival and it won for best visual effects. I felt like it was worth it but if I was partying and overindulging during that time, I don’t think anything would have gotten done.
Madness To Creation: Thank you so much for your time!
Joey: This was a lot of fun, thanks for taking the time to chat with me!
And there you have it! Check out “Lust & Vulgarity” via Spotify!