Monday, January 18, 2016

You've Got the Right Stuff Baby: An Interview With Andrew Miller from The Right Brothers

A still from The Jamaican Queens video The Kids Get Away

Some might argue that population counts and shopping districts make a city. But, I would argue that it's the people and the artists that create the essence of the city and make it someplace special. Detroit is unique because of the people that live here, work here, and play here. People whose life experience is shaped by long winters, magical summers. the auto companies and of course, music. We have a rich history of staying strong and overcoming our struggles. We are people who have learned to make do with what we have and turn what we have into something spectacular. We might not be the richest city in the world, but we are rich with creative talent and drive. I think it is important to talk to all of the people who are shaping the creative and artistic renaissance in Detroit.

One of my favorite local creatives is a video/photo/artistic guru named Andrew Miller, one half of the video team The Right Brothers. Andrew is one of those people that you hope you run into. He always has a smile on his face, he is quick to give a hug, and he is always up to something interesting. He is someone who dreams big, but finds ways to make things happen with what he has. A hustler and a true artist. His work has inspired me over the last few years. He has worked on videos with all of my current musical favorites including James Linck, Doc Waffles, The Jamician Queens, Passalaqua/Flint Eastwood, Microphone Phelps, and Tunde Olaniran. My favorite video is a colaboration between Eddie Logix, James, and Doc called Lights on Rider, check that one out here.
Andrew also worked very hard to document Nick Cave's residency in Detroit. He is always one step ahead of the game working on something new and interesting. He is not only documenting the musical and visual talent of Detroit, he is shaping the culture around us.

I asked Andrew to reflect on how far they have come and to let us know what they have planned for the future. I am truly looking forward to seeing what he does next, in the meantime check out what Andrew has to say and take a second to look at some of the great things he has created so far.

HID- Tell us about your 2015. What inspired you to create the "What We Have Seen in 2015" video?
Andrew- "Looking back on it now 2015 was a great year but a tough year. A lot of really difficult times with some great memories too. Sometimes you need to look back to really appreciate what you’ve accomplished. Towards the end of the year things had slowed down and I had major doubts about everything. It happens whenever I’m not working on a project. So I decided to go back and make something to remind myself what The Right Brothers did the last 365 days. I was making it just for me without plans to ever put it out there, but about 10 seconds playback through the first edits I realized it might be nice for people we’ve worked with to remember as well. And, it also works as a nice show reel for The Right Brothers."

HID- What was your favorite event that you photographed/filmed in 2015 and why?
Andrew- "It’s always the latest one. But if you’re holding my feet to the fire it might be the listening party/tape release for ‘Jellyfish on Cassette’ by BLKSHRK (Eddie Logix & Blair French). It was held at Assemble Sound and it was just a really great night. I created a projection of a bunch of jellyfish, sharks, manatees and fish that I filmed at an aquarium on a family vacation in Florida. Samantha Banks created like a dozen huge Jellyfish that hung from the ceiling and Al Casinelli designed a beautiful light performance that tied it all together. It was gorgeous and everyone just relaxed and connected. I just floated around and took photos of it all. It definitely had an dreamy underwater feel the whole night. I know it wasn’t just the Prahhs."
HID- What is your New Year's Resolution?
Andrew- "Not settling! When I plan out a video or project I’ve always restricted myself to using what I have and trying to make it work. Jamin is a magician when it comes to making a great look happen with whatever is around and available. And I credit a lot of our success to being scrappy like that. But it’s 2016 now, and if The Right Brothers are going to do anything we need to get every detail exactly the way we want it, then finding a way to make it better. It definitely means more planning. I’ve never really written anything down, no scripts, shot lists or anything like that. But I have a notepad that’s filling up now."

HID- Did we see a teaser for a project that you are working on with Bevlove? Can you tell us anything about that?
Andrew- "Yes you did see that, thanks for watching all the way through. We are currently filming ‘Do What I Say’ for Bev Love. The track was produced by Seth Anderson over at Assemble Sound. It’s a banger. And if we do what we’re setting out to do the video could be a great one as well."
HID- What projects do you already have planned for the New Year?Andrew- "Besides ‘Do What I Say’ there are 3 other projects with Detroit artists that are either in conception or are in the works. But I don’t want to jinx it so we’ll just keep it there."

HID- Where do you get the inspiration for your music videos? Do you come up with the concepts or do the artists?

Andrew- "It depends, sometimes we’ll approach someone with an idea for a track and they didn’t even plan on making a video for it. Sometimes they’ll have an idea or a style they are after but most of the time the track tells us where to go. I draw more inspiration form the music than the lyrics, but they definitely both influence the visual. Sometimes I really love the song but nothing comes from it. Either timing is off or we get busy on other things. Because, we also have to go to work sometimes."

HID- What is your favorite project that you have been part of so far and why?Andrew- "Either Nick Cave: HereHear project this summer or the ‘Dynamite’ video or Emily Kempf. HearHere started off as a small educational video we were making for Cranbrook Art Museum and grew into us working from April through October on a film that was on display in the actual exhibition. And eventually made it’s Detroit premiere at The Masonic Temple.

The ‘Dynamite’ video was just a magical experience. We had to stash a horse in my neighbor Kate’s backyard for like a week. And it’s always going to be memorable when there are 3 horses running at you while speeding down St. Aubin hanging out the back of a old Suburban."
Full video here.

HID- Have you ever thought about getting into movies?
Andrew- "Feature films yes, of course. But I haven’t found the right story yet. I know when the time is right and I come across the right story I’ll be ready for something like that. And people are consuming visual storytelling in tons of different ways now. There are people who put YouTube videos up and are pulling in a million dollars a year. Attention spans have been cut drastically. Vine is an app that only allows 6 second videos. And there’s SnapChat and Instgram. So if I’m going to make something that’s 2 hours long it better be something that I absolutely have to make. But I definitely consider a few of these music videos as bigger stories that are just cut down into 3 to 4 minutes. Like long trailers to films that don’t exist."

HID- What do you think makes the Detroit music and creative scene unique?
Andrew- "I’ve seen people answer this question before and it always puzzles me. Because I don’t live in any other city so this is all I know. I have no idea if it’s unique or it’s just like the Portland scene or the Baton Rouge music scene or the Boise, Idaho music scene. But I guess the one thing I can say for sure that makes this place different is that I know a lot of people making music I love and I get to hang out with them at parties. And if one of their songs jumps out at me I get to make a music video for it, sometimes."

Follow The Right Brothers online here so you can keep up with them and see that new Bevlove video when it comes out. It looks like it's going to be dope.


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