Director: Focus Creeps
Original Interview in: Promo News
Film director collective Focus Creeps – that’s Ben Chappell and Aaron Brown, and their occasional helpers – are a bit like the secret cool gang you want to be in at school: talented, diverse and connected. Ben and Aaron started out as photographers and have graduated to making some very cool videos, perhaps most fruitfully for the Arctic Monkeys. Beginning with the video for R U Mine?, they have charted the Monkeys’ development from precocious Sheffield scallywags to slick operators with a big American influence.
And Focus Creeps’ new video for One For The Road exemplifies the new Arctic Monkeys approach, and their serious flirtation with proper rock and roll glamour. The ‘we’re too cool for school’ attitude is now gone, and instead the Monkeys are pushing themselves onto the viewer. And the One For The Road video might be set down on the farm, but lines have been redrawn allowing for souped-up tractors, well-dressed human mannequins and 50 shades of grey painting the picture.
We were lucky enough to have a chat with Focus Creeps to try shed some light on the who, why, what and where; how come they’re such good friends with the Arctic Monkeys and what their latest dream is.
WORD IS CHEAP: You’re quite secretive online, there aren’t a lot of details out there, tell us a bit about yourself. Are you a faceless collective of artists who share the credit?
FOCUS CREEPS: You know how kids sit around making up band names? Now they make up URLs. “Focus creeps” fit some kind of mission statement for us. Ben Chappell and Aaron Brown started it, but we’ve worked with lots of people, together and separate. If you’re down to lug cameras in the wee hours, we’re always looking for members. The email’s on the site.
You have an eye for talent repeatedly working with great artists with huge potential, is this coincidence or are you personally into indie music?
As you get to know the inner goings on of the music industry you learn to cherish the artist with a story to their music, their own personality, something that the visual stuff you make can just grab on to and reinforce. There’s so many people who don’t have that and you’re inventing a myth to go around them. Some artists really have it though, and that’s the best stuff, the music’s just the mascot for something greater.
You’ve done countless videos with the Arctic Monkeys, how did your relationship with them come about and how has it developed/changed if at all?
We were called up to record some behind-the-scenes making-of type stuff. Afterwards they asked where a good bowling alley was and we were invited. Then we went to a Smith Westerns show, and then we stayed up really late pointing an old tube camera into a TV, making those infinity chamber effects. Apparently a good recipe for friendship if you ever wanna try.
Are you now at a stage where you can suggest anything and they will listen? For example suped-up tractors…
The best videos are a back and forth, seeds of an idea from them that we expand upon.
The image you have portrayed has come a long way from the parker wearing Alex Turner that left our shores, would you say the US and US culture has influenced the band and your partnership?
That’s the other side of the videos: having fun with the kinda torrid archetypal romance between UK and US, or R&B and rock and roll, or guys and girls, or whatever, there’s usually two things going on at once, like a joke with a straight face.
I’m always happy when I see you release new work, are there any videos you have upcoming that you are particularly excited about?
Hope to get some more off this AM record, fingers crossed, and there’s always the dream to do more rap stuff.