Feed Me Light’s Lucky Encounter with Narcy
Sometimes cool creative projects take months of stressing the small details and political considerations. Sometimes they’re built on the back of pure serendipity. While searching for just the right sonic vibe to accompany their showreel, creative studio Feed Me Light stumbled upon Iraqi-Canadian rapper Yassin Alsalman, otherwise known as Narcy. Pleased with their discovery, they fired off a message asking his permission for them to use one of his tracks. He immediately replied, and gave his blessings for Feed Me Light to use his music.
As luck would have it, Narcy was actually looking for an animation company to help on his new music promo. And after a bit of back and forth, Feed Me Light produced a short animated scene for Narcy’s Chobi Bryant music video.
LBB’s Laura Swinton caught up with Narcy and the Kiri Haggart, Executive Producer at Feed Me Light to find out more about this chance collaboration.
LBB> How did you come across Narcy?
KH> We all spend a lot of time listening to music while working, and we were trying to find music to use on our showreel. [Creative Director] Denis Bodart came across Narcy on Soundcloud and listened to a few of his songs. There was a particular song that we really wanted to use. We decided to just reach out to him and see if he would be interested in letting us use it. We didn’t think he would actually reply.
LBB> You were looking for music for your reel - what was it about his music that appealed and worked so well for you?
KH> I’m going to sound like a novice talking about music, but we wanted something that had a really good beat but with changes of pace throughout. It gave us flexibility in how we could arrange our showreel and the animation in particular. What we liked about a lot of Narcy’s songs was the beautiful instrumentals with some amazing voices, mixed in amongst some really fun hip hop. We were definitely going through a hip hop stage too. Not going to lie.
LBB> You ended up working with Narcy on a bit of a quid-pro-quo basis, where you created some animation for him - who's idea was that?
KH> His, actually. We were so surprised that he even answered our message, and so we set up a Skype call and he started telling us about this music video he wanted to do and he had an idea to include a small piece of animation. We talked about it and each introduced ourselves, and then he asked if we would consider doing some animation in exchange.
LBB> How far along was the music video when you got involved?
KH> Not very far, but he had some very appealing references sent through to us really fast, so he knew what he wanted in his head. Things like Wallace and Gromit, Michael Jackson references and a preference for the plasticine feel - which worked well with our experience.
LBB> I love the style of character design! What was your inspiration there? It looks like the sort of style we usually see in 2D animation, but here it's brought to life in a beautiful, handmade 3D texture... how did you arrive at that point?
KH> So Marc Bouyer did the character design for us and that tends to be his approach. He has always had a strong interest in 2D and has always worked with that in mind, and he tries not to think too much about the limitations of 3D. Meindbender were also inspiration with this work too, as they do some really cool plasticine stuff.
LBB> What were the biggest challenges you faced making it?
KH> To balance the cartoony look with a realistic look. We needed the plasticine to look really realistic with its rendering so it didn’t stand out too much in the live action.
LBB> Narcy, What were your thoughts when Feed Me Light first got in touch?
Narcy> I loved their work and the vision they had. To be on their radar meant a lot. I am also pleasantly surprised that creatives listen to my music while creating.
LBB> It seems like their timing was pretty fortuitous! Am I right in thinking you were already working on the new music video and were looking for some animation?
Narcy> I was getting ready to go into production on the video. We had storyboarded a shot for animation but really had no leads. I checked my messages on one of my social feeds and saw their message; it was super late night. I responded and went to sleep and woke up to a response! It was meant to be really, it felt very serendipitous!
LBB> What was your inspiration for the video and the track?
Narcy> The video is a sequel to 'Makoo' which was directed by my sister. The song itself is inspired by Chobi Music (Iraqi dance music) and the lyrics were at a point where I wasn't really into rapping as much. It was almost like a farewell, or a reset, to my approach to songs. Although there is always a social undercurrent to my music, this was the rawest I've been as an MC, I just kept it suuuuppper honest about how I felt about the arts industry.
LBB> Why did you want to inject that element of animation into the story?
Narcy> I've always had animation in my videos. I am from the school of Michael Jackson so I love to layer realities in my videos. It's in PHATWA, RISE, and this. Animation is always next level.
LBB> The style of the characters in the animated segment looks really cool - what sort of look and feel were you after?
Narcy> I wanted something that was dark but felt very childish. Something kids could see and laugh at but it still resembled the characters and mood of the video. The video, though comedic, is a slapstick vision of the immigrant struggle. Jassem is struggling in the video, he feels like people are trying to take his shine. He's paranoid, he's unhappy but he's still persisting.
LBB> What was it like working with Feed Me Light?
Narcy> It was the smoothest creative experience I've had so far. I want to make a movie with them.
Animation Company: Feed Me Light
Production Company: WeAreTheMedium, MetroCreative and DTO films
Category: Music video , Short films
Genre: Animation , Strategy/Insight