The loveliest London lads known as Too Many T’s are some of the most creative people I’ve had the pleasure of coming in contact with. When they’re not releasing cheeky videos rapping about bees to the tune of Destiny’s Child’s “Jumpin’ Jumpin’” or enlisting Alexa (yes THAT Alexa) to rap with them, the duo have been working tirelessly on visuals to accompany their debut full-length, South City, which was released last year. I delightedly tuned in for the debut of “Hang Tight”, the first ever one-take video shot on Facebook live and have been consistently inspired by their persistence in taking their innovation to new heights with the release of every video.
Their creation to accompany “Patterns” is their latest tour de force, which will be premiering live on YouTube Premier, a feature that allows the creator set its upload like a premiere and watch together with their viewers when the video goes live, and like a live stream on YouTube, both the creator and viewers will be able to engage in a discussion at the comments section.
Yours truly got a sneak peek of the stunning video, which is the first time that gaming hardware has been used to both capture and render a music video. Get this, y’all: it was painstakingly put together over the course of over 600 hours of production and rendering with the help of triff (born Stuart Trevor), a video game artist who had been exploring motion capture using an Xbox Kinect camera, more conventionally seen attached to a games console. His work repurposes the camera to capture both movement and depth, which he then places within CGI environments created using visual effects software such as 3ds Max, Redshift and After Effects – which is then output through two powerful gaming-orientated graphics cards.
The final result is nothing short of insanely impressive. “Patterns” is a song about overcoming mental health issues and the struggle to escape patterns of bad habits which the band fell into on tour. The scenes throughout the video are meant to showcase how dark and isolating this uphill battle can be. I’d say they absolutely nailed that aesthetic. As if this wasn’t already mind blowing enough, the jaw dropper of a video is set premiere at the prestigious BBC Amplify event at The Rattle in Tobacco Dock with three daily screenings on November 8th - 10th. The screening will include a presentation by the duo on how new artists should innovate and collaborate with emerging technology, and will also include a demonstration by Play On Player - a new interactive app allowing users to immerse themselves within the song by experimenting with the stems of the track, creating their own fan versions.
As can be expected I had too many Qs for Too Many Ts about all of this but managed to contain myself enough to only shoot over a few to these dope ass dudes. Peep our convo below!
How did you manage to link up with triff?
Standaloft: On the information highway.
Leon Rhymes: We knew we wanted to create something special for the “Patterns” video - something we’d not seen before. So from the start we knew we needed more brains than just our own.
Standaloft: We began by reaching out to our extended community to see what and who people knew. One of those people was the legend that is Stuart Trevor or as we like to call him, Triff.
In the past you guys have rapped with Alexa, now with Triff's help you've essentially hacked a Kinect to shoot mo-cap for "Patterns", what inspires you to tinker with new technologies in unconventional ways?
S: Creativity and limitations.
LR: And the desire to explore opportunity.
S: We always want to create something that we’re proud of musically and visually and by incorporating new technologies it forces us to think outside of convention.
LR: Couple this with financial limitations of an unsigned band and you get to a special place of creative innovation.
How does video extend the narrative of your music?
S: With the rise of affordable professional camera equipment the accompanying music video to the track has become almost expected.
LR: And the a visual is such a powerful tool - just take a walk down the street or a train across town to see the amount of adverts everywhere. Not only is the visual expected we’re also fighting against more visuals than ever to stand out.
S: So it’s important to do try and make something different or something only you can do.
LR: I think the idea of a story is important - it’s why stories are still read and will survive all digital technology. So if you can create a storyline to run alongside the song I think that’s really strong.
S: That’s something we did with the music video for “Panther”.
LR: For “Patterns” the video enhances the mood and feeling within the song. For “Panther” it was more of a simultaneous (and different) storyline running alongside the track.
What's the symbolism behind the different scenes depicted in "Patterns"?
LR: This was very much led by Triff. We’d always seen the song as a whole but he broke the track up into 6 scenes + an epic intro.
S: What this did though was treat all the scenes and characters in isolation which really works in the world of the song and that feeling of being alone with no one to turn to but your demons.
LR: It enhances the overall feeling throughout the song.
How do you manage life on tour so you don't fall into the same patterns that inspired the song?
LR: Honestly!? Not gonna lie, it’s difficult - can resist anything but temptation!
S: Late nights can help you lose the days and we’ve had to be professional when on tour this year. We’ve grown up (slightly) and learnt to know our limits.
LR: You need to make mistakes sometime to learn about yourself.
What's next for you guys?
LR: We’re certainly not stopping here and really excited about the next 12 months!
S: We’ve had a really successful year in France so we’re working on a French connection project with our label Banzai Lab and all the artist we’ve met out there - stay tuned for that cos its gonna be sick! We’ve recently started writing some new tunes for the second album as well. Watch out 2019, you’re getting had!
LR: More immediately we’re going on tour in Australia and South East Asia for three months January to March with gigs in Melbourne, Sydney, Bangkok, Chang Mai, Hanoi, Phnom Pehn, Tokyo and more TBC.