Noise rap trio, clipping, debuted their latest video this week for the CLPPNG track “Get Up”, the third for the group from director Carlos Lopez Estrada (and in this case, co-director Cristina Bercovitz). We here at Sub Pop HQ have been blown away by the quality, creativity, and ingenuity displayed by Estrada and clipping in the videos that they have worked on together, first “Work, Work”, then “Inside Out”, and now with “Get Up”, that we decided we wanted to hear from the director. We sent him a few questions and he was kind enough to answer them.
Editor’s note: experience the brilliance displayed in the videos for ”Work Work”, ”Inside Out”, and ”Get Up” first!
Sub Pop: Tell us a bit about
how you became the sort of guy who makes music videos for experimental noize
rap trios like clipping.. Like, did you go to school for film? Are you friends
with the clipping. dudes? How do I get your job? Ignore any and or all of that,
Carlos Lopez Estrada: I’ll try to answer
all of your questions here. I’ll try my best. I did go to school for film, and
that is precisely how I met Jonathan (1/3 of clipping). He scored one of my
short films and we somehow managed to stay in touch through the years. I knew
he made weird music but I somehow never heard any of it until clipping came to
be. Of course, it blew my mind. The rest is history? I guess you get my job by
having friends who make weird things and convincing them to let you make weird
things with them. In terms of being friends with the dudes, I like to think
that is the case, but you should probably confirm with them. (Don’t think I won’t check on this – Ed)
SP: Do you typically collaborate with the artists you work with when creating music
CLE: As much as they let
me. Making videos for clipping is a complete unorthodox experience, though.
Working with them has been a true blessing because the guys are extremely
intelligent, absolutely fearless and always appreciative of the work that goes
into their videos. We met once for coffee and they were very specific about
what they *didn’t* want in their videos, then they pretty much trusted me to do
whatever I wanted. It was quite remarkable.
SP: The videos for
“Work Work” and “Inside Out” seem to follow the same
character through a linear timeline. Was this intentional when you initially
created the treatment for “Work Work” (the first of the two), or did
the idea come later? Will there be a future installment of the headless MC?
CLE: It is all part of a
master plan that I am unfortunately not able to talk much about, for both yours
and my safety. All I can say is that those 2 videos are the top of the tip
of an iceberg; and it is actually more like a glacier, rather than an iceberg.
(Sounds juicy. No, sounds icy. - Ed)
SP: Your visual
interpretation of clipping.’s “Get Up” is both heavy and beautiful
and feels like it makes the song even more culturally impactful than it already
was. What brought you to gunshot wound on the street?
CLE: Well, thank you very
much. Cristina Bercovitz deserves as much credit here because the idea was
hers as much as it was mine (we co-directed the video). The guys knew that “Get
Up” was our favorite track in the album so rather than asking us to pitch
against each other, they thought it would be a good thing for us to work
together on the video. That is how magical Clipping is. Now, this is one
of those songs that should perhaps not ever have a video, so agreeing to move
forward was difficult, to say the least. We went through many many
potential ideas and ended up with the most simple of them all, which seemed to
do justice to the way the band approached the music. Our only goal was to
present an absolute honest representation of how we interpreted the song, both
musically and emotionally. Hopefully someone out there will agree that we did.
Do those last few sentences even make any sense? Probably not.
SP: Any advice for aspiring filmmakers and/or video directors?
CLE: Don’t do it! (Sounds like someone’s afraid of a little competition - Ed.)
The director behind many of Clipping.’s music videos, Carlos Lopez Estrada, in collaboration with the talented director, Cristina Bercovitz, delivered another thought provoking and memorable music videos with “Get Up”, an unsettling and insanely catchy track off of the band’s Sub Pop debut, CLPPNG. See the Stereogum premiere of the video in the embed. Pick up CLPPNG from us here at Sub Pop here. All orders $20 or more are 20% off through the New Year!
The following is a note from William Hutson of Clipping.
track “Knees On The Ground” might benefit from an explanation. This is
the most unguarded I ever intend to be when writing about Clipping.
had happened was this: our very brief UK/Europe trip got called-off the
day before we were supposed to get on a plane to London. Since we
didn’t have any other plans, we met up in the studio with an idea to
crank out a new track. On our list of songs to finish was one particular
piece aimed directly at the club (or, at least, our twisted idea of
what clubs should play). But none of us were in the mood for it. Each of
us had spent the previous several days following the news of protests
in Ferguson, MO. It was the only thing on our minds. We couldn’t bring
ourselves to think about anything else, so we decided to direct our
fear, our revulsion, our heartbreak into a new track.
was that we’d defined our band — in interviews and to each other — as
decidedly-not-an-activist-project. Diggs’s lyrics have been criticized
for seeming apolitical, at least in comparison to what many listeners
(perhaps rightly) expect to hear from an ‘experimental’ rap group. I
have many times said (perhaps naïvely) that our politics lie in our
structures, in our formal engagement with the rap genre. We love its
conventions, its clichés, and we’re not above them. We see our
participation in rap as something resembling an old punk flyer — an
out-of-context collage of charged images with an fractured,
contradictory, multiple point-of-view. I hope that our more dedicated
listeners hear this and understand that we’re not interested in
spoon-feeding them a position. At the same time, I’ve always assumed
that they pretty much agree with us on most issues anyway. (We have yet
to meet the misogynist, homophobic, white supremacist Clipping fan with
an MBA and an NRA membership).
So what do we do when all we can
think about, all we can feel, is a profound injustice — yet another
young unarmed person of color is murdered by a police officer? How does a
band, which overtly rejects affect and the emotions, address something
that is, for its authors, a deeply felt, deeply affecting topic? Well,
we don’t entirely know. But the fact is: there’s more truth in Diggs’s
lyrics than we generally let on. “Inside Out” describes a drive-by
shooting in Oakland, “Chain” is about three stick-ups. They are
presented with a lot of detail and specificity (perhaps the result of
personal experience). But at the same time, they represent archetypal
scenarios within rap music. One trope we had yet to explore as Clipping
was the anti-police rap — the lineage of Public Enemy, NWA and Paris,
straight through The Coup, and all the way into the ‘stop snitching’
panic of the early 2000s. “Knees On The Ground” is a paradigmatic
white-cop-kills-an-unarmed-black-kid-and-gets-away-with-it tale — a
story that happens all the fucking time in the US. What we have learned —
from our first hand experience in Oakland in 2009, and from the media
coverage of Ferguson in 2014 — is that the second part of this story
involves a police response better suited to a war zone than to an
American city. Cops think they’re playing Call Of Duty when they’re
supposed to be part of a community. If Ferguson were in Iraq, Obama
would have sent in an airstrike already.
This is the least obtuse
Diggs’s lyrics will ever get. We’re embarrassed by the timeliness of
this track. We do not intend to capitalize on what is, undoubtedly, a
terrible tragedy. But journalists make think-pieces and we make songs.
Writers write what they know, and this is what we know right fucking
— William Hutson, Clipping.
CLPPNG just came out yesterday to critical acclaim with ”Album of the Week” honors over at Stereogum. Today, the music site premiered the utterly NSFW music video for the grinding track, ”Body & Blood”. Head on over there to get on that wild ride, directed by Patrick Kennelly.
CLPPNG is available here, or your local independent record retailer.
Today’s a very heavy release day for us here at Sub Pop HQ. We’ve got people hustling around the warehouse shipping and receiving, publicists on the horn (industry speak for phone) with press, and metadataists metadataing. Which is to say, it’s a wild scene around here, but one we’ve been preparing for.
First and foremost, clipping., the most disruptive and abrasive yet remarkably welcoming hip hop we’ve ever heard, are making their debut with the nearly eponymous CLPPNG. It’s a collection of disorienting and challenging hip hop tracks that equate to a pretty perfect debut record. Listen to “Body & Blood” in the embedded player for example. Pick up CLPPNG here, or wherever fine records are sold.
Tragically long-out-of-print on the coveted vinyl formatway, Constantines’ Shine A Light is back in record bins wherever you dig for them. There’s still time to get yourself a copy of the limited, colored-vinyl Loser Edition of the LP from us here. But they’re going to go quickly, so order SOON. Listen to the epic ”Young Lions” from the record here.
Rose Windows are back with their single, ”There Is A Light” b/w “Fix Me Another One”, out today digitally, and out soon on 7”. Pick up the 7” single or a two song digital single here. Listen to the beautiful psych dream that is ”There Is A Light”.
clipping. are back with another track off of their out-of-leftfield, noize hip-hop Sub Pop debut, CLPPNG, out June 10th. The track, “Body and Blood”, is probably the more intense window into what is an at times immensely challenging and equally rewarding record for listeners. Press play to hear what I’m going on about.
Pre-order CLPPNG on CD/LP/DIGI