Today Kill the Noise and Feed Me release the video for their satirical “I Do Coke” single via OWSLA, and to celebrate, we’ve linked up with the piece’s director, Brandon Dermer for a chat about his writing and filming process. Check the interview along with the new video below:
I just watched your Dillon Francis “Butter” music video for the first time. It was great!
Thanks man! It just got screened at the SXSW Film Festival. Pumped.
How did you come up with the idea to do the video as a series of edits based on notes from a client?
Being a free lance writer/director, I’ve dealt with my fair share of notes. Sometimes the notes you get are just like, “what?” or “I don’t really understand”. Some of the inspiration came from a video that I got asked to write for a band. It was about kids playing dodgeball. The label was like, “Alright, we like it, we just need some scantily dressed women in it, maybe in the bleachers.” I was like, “This is about kids playing dodgeball,” and they were like, “Yeah, yeah but we need some T&A in there.” I was so frustrated I just killed the video, I didn’t do it, I didn’t want to make a piece of shit. Overall, it [Not Butter] was just a reflection of the industry, the notes process, all of that.
It’s not usually a good idea to try and arouse people in the midst of 5th graders.
Yeah! It was literally about how these losers got beat in a game of dodgeball, and they perform a seance to gain the power to lift shit with their minds, it was really ridiculous and I loved it! But they kept asking for hot chicks and I just said goodbye. I’m all for hot chicks where they make sense [haha].
Did you ever see the video with the kids that are running around with Nerf guns with added animated violence?
I actually got asked to curate a night with my favorite music videos and I played that video. That one is so much fun, it’s so fucked up but in the best way. Those guys actually went on to direct bitch better have my money.
Ohhh, wow. That’s tight! What else did you bring to that showing? What are some of your other favorite videos?
Have you ever seen the Shoes video with Jake Gyllenhaal? I played that. I played my buddy Matt Robinson’s video for a band called Jogger; the song is called Nephicide. I played “Want to Believe, Trash Talk” by Jim Dirschberger, Way Too Much by Wavves, Is Tropical’s “The Greeks“, and “My first hardcore song“, which is about this little girl singing about how much she loves her pets but it’s filmed like a hardcore music video [haha]. Overall it was an eclectic night of weird shit.
When you were initially approached with “I Do Coke”, what was the first idea you had for it?
The cool thing is that Jon (Feed Me) and Jake (Kill The Noise) had an initial concept that I was really into. I took it and molded it into what we now have. I worked with them in order to get it exactly where we wanted. Usually artists will approach me for a video and I’ll have an idea and I’ll run with it. This time they had the idea and I helped form it into what it is now. It was a very collaborative process.
It’s an interesting video because, given the subject, you have get it very right or else it looks like you’re just promoting coke.
For sure! I agree. When I first heard the song, I couldn’t tell if these guys were advocating it or not. By the way, my humor and style is about executing something with the utmost sincerity, no matter how absurd the idea is. If you read the idea for the Dillon Francis video on paper it reads psychotic [haha], but if you commit to it and you don’t wink to the audience, that’s what I find really funny. The reason I dug this song so much, even before reading their concept, was because until like three-fourths’s of the way through the song I couldn’t tell if these were two fucking coke heads writing a song or not. What really sold it for me was the girl at the end. She sounds disappointed about realizing that she’s doing it all to do more coke, and I realized that this was all a hilariously committed bit. I got it. I feel like musically, they did what I like to do visually in my story telling.
In that vein, what are some of your other favorites that are in this humoristic style?
The way I got involved in the “EDM” was because I did a music video and created the mascot for this band called Nekrogoblikon. My neighbor said to me, “Hey this kid who’s an assistant at my company is playing a show tonight, he’s in a band called Nekrogoblikon, do you want to go?” I listened to one song and thought, “I have to go see this [haha]” It was such crazy, technical metal, that I thought, “this is either one guy at a computer, or like 9 pretentious ass hole metal heads”. We walk into this venue and there’s maybe a dozen people, and it’s seven guys on stage – none of which look like pretentious metal heads! Still, they’re playing this actual crazy, technical death metal. Every song is about goblins or killer birds or bears [haha], I was so inspired by that commitment and told them I’d do a video for them. They said they were down, but that they didn’t dress up like Goblins; they weren’t GWAR. I came up with the character, John Goblikon, and I basically wrote this short film about this goblin that lives in the real world and just gets shit on all day.
Wait! I’ve seen this video! I liked it.
Thanks man! Yeah, it kind of blew up. This was in 2012, but the band tours the fucking world now and I’m like the silent 8th member; I’m almost like their creative director. That commitment to their brand, while different to the I Do Coke idea, is very much the same. There’s no winking, they write music like they’re Dream Theatre but their content is so absurd. Diplo saw that video and that’s how I did a Major Lazer video, which lead the Dillon video and now this.
How is it, from your perspective, to be moving into the dance music world? What do you like or find interesting about it?
I love working with EDM artists. I feel like that they’re all past metal heads! I also feel like there’s a huge appreciation for collaboration. You can see Dillon has a song with Kill The Noise and Kill The Noise has a song with Skrillex and Skrillex has a song with Diplo, etc. I think there’s a respect for collaboration and when Dillon and I worked together we really respected what we each brought to the table. The same goes for Jake and John. I also love it because I feel like the music is so instrumental, and I can look at it like a score.
Are there any interesting stories from the shoot?
I wanted to cast someone very interesting. I wanted to cast someone that you’d have a preconceived notion about; you’re already judging Tom [the video’s lead] the moment you see him on screen because he’s a reality star on this show Vanderpump Rules that takes place in Beverly Hills. You have an opinion on him and it serves the misdirect of where the video is going. At the top of it, it really does feel like we’re making a “Fuck yeah, cocaine!” video. Tom adds an element of “Woah, reality celebrity; reality celebrity with a hot girlfriend and a show that takes place in Beverly Hills.” You think you know exactly where it’s going and then it takes such a weird turn. Tom was awesome to work with, and I’m so glad we got him.
I had no idea that that was the story behind the main dude.
I don’t know anything about that world, I had to consult my little sister [haha]. But he’s huge in that world. He’s got a huge following. I love playing with people’s expectations.
That’s a brave position to put yourself in, like the role model for an almost “do cocaine” ad.
He said too, he’s been accused in the tabloids of drug use and he was so stoked on this. He gave me 110% on set, and never bitched about anything. He showed up and we had a whole wardrobe ready for him but as soon as he walked in we were like “dude, you look too perfect, you’re just going to wear what you’re wearing now.” [haha] In the video he’s literally wearing what he brought to the shoot.
I really love the video. Do you have any shoutouts to give?
Yes, I would like to shout out Tom Sandoval, Kill The Noise, Feed Me and everyone at OWSLA for letting me do this bizzare idea. My production designer, Justin McClain, the DP of the project Aaron Grasso, everyone at Anthem Films and my editor Andrew Willsak. And, always, the Van Nuys Public Pool.
Awesome, thank you so much.
Photos: Kavan The Kid
Words: FAN FICTION