The BS of D - "Toughest Skin" - AURORA-LAB (2011)


Created the "Toughest Skin" official music video for Composer, Producer, and DJ The BS of D.

I could watch music videos all day, even bad ones. Good music videos, however, can be a true auteur art form. Since electronic music is a very new form of music only recently made possible through the advent of computers and technology, it's appropriate to associate that audio with visuals also created with computer technology and/or technologically advanced imagery. Ever since the early 90's when playing Tempest 2000 on my Atari Jaguar as well as using various music visualization plug-ins for Winamp, I have been interested in making a non-narrative music video for an instrumental electronic song. The flood gates opened in early 2009 on my decade-old-idea when I discovered several pieces of particle based software that can be driven by sound. I'm a big fan of futurism and while getting ideas for an environment I started researching real-world technologically advanced engineering marvels such as Tesla coils, fusion reactors, and particle accelerators. Then I discovered various mind-boggling photographs of the Large Hadron Collider at Cern. They lead me to decide on creating a music video that takes place inside a hybrid fusion reactor / particle accelerator-type environment that reacts to music.

A full confession regarding this piece is that it was initially motivated more by a tool than by a story, and my goal as a story teller is to of course not make a habit of this. So call this project a guilty pleasure if you will, but since it’s a non-narrative work I suppose I’m off the hook. Finding the right song that fit our extensive list of requirements for what we wanted out of the video would prove to be quite difficult, and securing the rights to associate with a song I feared would be even more difficult. Since you can’t really do an official music video for a older song, we needed a fairly recent track, which was of high quality and tastefully done, with a mix of classical as well as electronic elements, and because of the resources we had it couldn’t be more than 3 minutes long. Most importantly, it had to be a song which drove our pre-set visuals and of course, not the other way around. I prepared a pitch to send to several well established electronic musicians who were close to having new albums released, but ultimately deviated from that route due to the vast amount of independent electronic music available online. The appeal of working to promote quality substance from the bottom-up for an unsigned musician and not top-down is a general life philosophy I'll always try to follow in all of my work. Having the option to pick and choose and find exactly what we were looking for also greatly appealed to us over shooting blind with a well known artist's future next album.

Websites such as soundcloud and the Nine Inch Nails official remix site are not only great online communties for musicians but are also valuable resources for finding top-notch, non-signed, music online. Trent Reznor/Nine Inch Nails have been really supportive of opening up their music to fans and releasing songs as multi-tracks, which actively encourages high quality remixing of their original material and is a fantastic way for up-and-coming musicians to learn by reverse engineering. I ended up collaborating with The BS of D who makes great stuff and is also the creator of another NIN remix site

Director/Producer Bastiaan Koch at Marauder Film came onboard early on and was extremely valuable to the project helping design the environment. After initially experimenting with making the center system very colorful with a whole rainbow spectrum of color, the final look ended up being very cold, sterile, and monochrome. I generally always encourage referencing real world images and frown upon referencing other CG when developing the look of something that's not real, but I couldn't help but take a bit of inspiration from the 5gum spots The Mill did a few years prior. Huge thanks to Computer Graphics Supervisor / V-Ray Master, Tim Jones for his technical expertise on this project as well.

Continuity contact sheet here.