If you’ve been following Skrillex or OWSLA since the beginning, there’s a near 100% chance you’ve encountered the work of Liam Underwood. The Australian born, now Los Angeles-based creative and filmmaker road-dogged with Sonny on his early global tours, piecing together moments in time and sewing story lines in impeccable mini documentary-style videos which Liam shot and edited himself (see Skrillex in South America, Skrillex in Mexico, Skrillex & Friends at Glastonbury).
More recently, however, Liam has carved out a new role for himself within the OWSLA organization, focusing most of his time on creating treatments and directing & editing music videos in-house for the label’s releases. Most notably, Liam’s work with OWSLA signee, Getter, within the past year has been irreproachable, as the music videos for “Head Splitter”, “Rip N Dip”, and, as of yesterday, “Forget It”, have racked up millions of plays, gone three for three for Vimeo’s Staff Picks, and most importantly, given the music a completely new context and understanding.
With “Forget It” out this week, we spoke with Liam Underwood about his third linkup with Getter, his intentions with the video’s somewhat ambiguous narrative, new projects on the way, and more. See below for our Q&A with the immensely talented director and creative, and head to the bottom for a full gallery of behind the scenes photos from the “Forget It” video shoot.
To start off, can you explain how you initially linked up with OWSLA and what your position is at the company?
One of the many creative creatures at OWSLA and the underworld. Also one of the few who won’t burn to ash upon touching sunlight.
This is your third video you’ve directed for Getter. What kind of creative relationship do you guys have together? Are you both usually on the same page when it comes to treatments?
When Getter and I first linked up, we were instantly on the same page, going back and forth with generally ridiculous ideas that ended up being a perfect cocktail we shared to launch a visual assault within the videos we were about to create peppered with insanity..
The first two Getter videos you did (“Head Splitter” and “Rip N Dip“) carried a similar, funny/psychedelic vibe where “Forget It” holds a more serious tone. What were your intentions with the narrative in this video in relation to the other two videos? Would you define these three videos as a trilogy in the traditional sense of the word?
The main reason was the track’s mood, after talking with Tree about what the lyrics meant and riffing some ideas with Getter, the concept started evolving in my head, I wanted to tell the story as a metaphor for what the song was saying to me, and of course to Tree, the incredible vocalist on the track.
From getting our hands dirty on the first two videos, Getter had faith in letting me run free with the idea , I was sure it had to be a more dark, edgy narrative piece.
It appears that you took Tree’s vocals from “Forget It” (“I would put you back in place”) somewhat literally for the treatment. Is there a Frankenstein type of narrative going on here?
The lyrics and narrative somewhat go hand in hand.. to an extent, but nothing is literally matched up, and the story within the film dives a little deeper than the lyrics would suggest. Tree and Getter together is really something special, every time they collaborate, so I wanted to be a valuable third wheel to that relationship.
How much do you like to leave your exact story lines up to viewers’ interpretations?
That would be project dependent, but I think causally open audience perception is important, especially with stories like this one. I’ve been getting some interesting feedback on what people think this story is about, and it blows my mind.. some of the results are probably even better than my original intentions.
What other videos are you currently working on? Do you think you’ll continue to direct anything upcoming from Getter?
Right now, I have a few more music videos projects in the pipe, coming up most recent is a culture piece blend as a music video for DJ Sliink set in New Jersey set to drop very soon on OWSLA. Working with Getter again on films is a no brainer.. I think he’s an absolute wizard in more aspects than just production/DJ work, and we work together pretty damn good.. I look forward to the madness to come.