story / JORDAN BLAKEMAN
Evan Spencer Brace found an old box of yellow National Geographic magazines and, as he claims, the rest is history. While we don’t see him rolling around with Simba on the plains of Africa, the experienced director holds on to the exploratory spirit those yellow pages carry, working with a wide array of artists from rock darlings Phantogram (who you’ll see in Ladygunn #10 next month) to long-standing EDM king Tiesto. Evan is one of the directors we’re looking forward to catching this weekend at the 4th Annual Los Angeles Music Video Festival, a multi-day event celebrating the art of the music video and serving as an avenue of support for aspiring and working creatives November 5-8th in Los Angeles. Tickets can be purchased here.
Where are you from?
I’m originally from a small rural town called Mexico, Missouri but I’m based in Nashville, TN and work a lot in LA.
How did you get involved in making music videos?
I started making music videos in early high school just for fun. I’d go through dumpsters and find cardboard and my sister and I would make robot costumes. I’d film her with my Hi-8 camera walking around town in them and then add music to it.
But the thing that really blew me away was when I saw UNKLE‘s ‘Rabbit in Your Headlights’ by Jonathan Glazer on some obscure skateboard website. After that I fell in love with the medium. It showed me that a little part of cinema and art could exist within 4 minutes.
Do you have a team you usually work with or does it vary depending on the project? What is the dynamic like?
I have an amazing team of people I work with, but depending on the project it can vary. I love working with Jake Macpherson (Incredible DoP), Allen Laseter (Insane Animator), Katie Mamie (Killer Production Designer), Forrest Clark (Relentless Producer) and my brother, Collin (Excellent Business Manager). The list could go on and on, but I owe a lot to them for putting their blood, sweat and tears into my projects. It’s always a collaborative process. I like knowing that everyone is putting a little fingerprint of themselves into my projects. It feels more authentic and exciting. It’s kind of like being a museum curator and finding all of these great artists and putting them in a room to make an exhibition with one core theme and direction.
Which of your videos was the craziest to produce and why?
The craziest video to produce was probably ‘Black Out Days’ with Phantogram. We had wolves, owls, painted women, gold explosions, smashing skulls and fire planets. It was madness, but that’s kind of the whole point of the video. It took a lot of favors and a lot of determination. My producer, Forrest Clark was such a huge help getting everything together. We had a lot to cover in a few days.
Who is an artist you would love to work with?
Working with Nick Cave, David Bowie or Damon Albarn would be amazing. But I would love to get a chance to work/collaborate with Alt-J, Darkside, Savages and Foals. I tend to be drawn to more moody music.
Have you got anything exciting in the works for us to look forward to?
I’m in post on a new short film I’ve been working on for a while about a vision quest a Native American boy has when his father leaves him in the middle of the woods blindfolded. It’s based on Choctaw and Blackfoot accounts and stories. I wanted to create something that was grounded in the rich culture of Native American tradition, but still have the terrifying and abstract elements of fear and faith that create the experience for the viewer. I worked with the incredible video artist, Morgan Beringer on creating the visions. That will hopefully make it out to some festivals next year once finished.
Other than that I’m always writing treatments and pitches for bands and brands. Possibly working on some bigger projects next month, but nothing is concrete, so it’s hard to say.