How US Hip Hop Inspired This South London Set Grime Promo for Fekky and Giggs
This gritty day-in-the-life style promo is the work of director Joshua Osborne for grime artists Fekky and Giggs. Inspired by US hip hop videos of yesteryear, Joshua wanted to create a London-centric style version to portray the roots of the grime music scene, which is currently making international waves, much like hip hop did before. The result is a hard-hitting, black and white performance video, set in striking locations synonymous with south London – which is where the two artists and director were born and bred. LBB’s Addison Capper caught up with director Joshua to find out more about his inspirations and why the location scout proved particularly difficult for the promo.
LBB> Tell us a bit about the concept… What were your aims and what inspired it? What was your starting point when developing it?
JO> I was really excited when I got this track in my inbox, I loved how raw and real it was. I wanted to base the film in South London as that’s where Fekky and Giggs are from.
I was inspired by classic hip hop videos such as Jay-Z’s 99 problems and Nas’ Made You Look, in which they take you through their neighbourhood and show you a day in the life. I wanted to flip it and do an authentic London version though. The track is all about the two living the life they claim. It’s not gossip, it’s a reality, so I wanted to express those elements in the video.
LBB> For our non-British readers, can you tell us a bit about the music genre grime and the evolution it’s going through at the moment?
JO> Grime is an underground music scene that emerged from east London in the early 2000s. It was nurtured by the pirate radio scene but has now gone global with huge fan bases ranging from New York to Tokyo. The main thing about grime is the energy surrounding the music, in the beats and the bars. It’s a perfect blend of all the thrills and anxieties that come with living in inner cities in Britain.
LBB> How is your relationship to that scene?
JO> I grew up in south London so, for me, Giggs is a veteran of that sound – me and all my mates used to listen to him in the playground at school. It’s nice to hear it being appreciated by international music fans too.
LBB> Why did you decide to shoot the promo in black and white?
JO> While researching for the film I was looking at a lot of photographers that shoot black and white on 35mm. I love the starkness and grain and felt it was the best way to convey the grittiness I wanted to achieve. I was inspired a lot by Boogie, who’s one of my favourite photographers.
LBB> Where did you shoot and why? How long were you shooting for?
JO> Everything was in South London. We shot on an estate in Forest Hill (which is where Fekky grew up), a working men’s club in Blackheath (where you see the moody looking snooker room) and the Greenwich Observatory.
LBB> What was it like shooting at the Greenwich Observatory?
JO> I’ve got to admit it was a massive happy accident shooting there. Giggs was a little late to the shoot and I had a Bentley arriving in the next half an hour with no location in mind of where to shoot with him in the back. I decided to nip out quickly to scout around the area of the Blackheath snooker room. My girlfriend pointed out this park entrance and we ended up driving up this long road. I was blown away with what we saw. You have the most amazing view over London, there was a monument with bullet holes in it and the sun was about to set in a couple of hours! I thought to myself, “yeah this will do”. It turned out to be my favourite scene of the video.
LBB> The shots in the butchers with the animals being cut up are pretty powerful! What were you aiming for with those? What do they signify?
JO> I guess just a little implication that if you gossip about these boys this is what will happen to you :)
LBB> How were Fekky and Giggs to work with and direct? What kind of conversations were you having with them?
JO> It was a great experience overall. Fekky has an amazing aura about him and is very enthusiastic when it comes to collaboration and working together. Giggs is a little more reserved but after a while he warmed up a bit. They hadn’t seen each other in what seemed like a long time as it became quite challenging to separate their conversations and move on to the next scenes. All in all they had a wicked chemistry on set together so I couldn’t have asked for much more.
LBB> What were the biggest challenges during production and how did you overcome them?
JO> It was probably the locations switching up last minute – that made it really tricky to plan the shoot days. I love grime but it gets tricky when certain artists can’t be in certain places for certain reason. Luckily I work with an amazing producer – Mickey Voak of Messrs London – who can handle anything I throw his way with ease.
LBB> And what are your fondest memories from the process?
JO> I had so much fun on set with all of the crew, Fekky, Giggs and his entourage. I didn’t know what to expect prior to the shoot but we all got there in the end and made a video I think we’re all proud of.
Editor: Sara Faulkner @ Speade
Post Production / VFX
Colourist: Matt Osborne @ The Mill
Director: Joshua Osborne
DOP: Doug Walshe, Colm O'Rourke
Producer: Mickey Voak
Production Company: Messrs London
Category: Music video , Short films
Genre: Music performance