Hey, what’s up? My name is Mazik Self, I’m a director out of Los Angeles, CA. I’m out here hanging out with the Crooks & Castles familia and we just ran around with some owls on Sunset Plaza. If you don’t know what Sunset Plaza is…you should know.
Crooks: So how long have you been directing?
MS: I have been directing officially for 5 years. I started in the entertainment industry producing and writing music for my group Blood Of Abraham. We’ve worked with Black Eyed Peas, Self Scientific, Prodigy, I mean we toured around with everyone from Public Enemy to Weezer to Beck and from scoring commercials I got into directing, working with directors that were fans of my group B.O.A. Now I have my own company, Selfaviary.com. So Yea, I’ve been directing commercials music videos, soon-to-be tv shows and feature films in the near future.
Crooks: I’m aware that you just worked with a really dope R&B singer by the name of Mayer Hawthorne. How was it working with him and how did the idea for the “Green Eyed Love” video come about?
MS: The Mayer Hawthorne music video came about when Mayer was introduced to me through a mutual friend of ours and we went to lunch. He played me his stuff and I was like , “Wow, this is really interesting!” It was very innovative. I love the traditional style that he took. For somebody to be producing the music himself and making it sound so organic and so much like the original stuff, I was flabbergasted. I couldn’t he didn’t sample anything and he said “Nope, AI recorded all of these.” So him and I have the same sensibilities in the sense that we like to take alot of the old stuff and bring it into a new light. So then a bunch of months went by until his album was finished and we finally picked the single that he wanted. He passed on the “Green Eyed Love” single to me and he said, “Hey, I’m open to ideas. You work your magic and let me me know.” So I went and listened to the song a thousand times, like I do when I’m writing. I really didn’t ask him any questions about the song but I knew that the song was either about weed or a girl. When I went to the meeting with Mayer to show him the concept I had he was like thrown back, “Whoa!? You know my song is about weed right?” I said ” Yea man but I’m going to make it absinthe. Hahaha!” I interpreted “Green Eyed Love” as the whole really sexy, green smoke and different things however I thought I want to do something really psychedelic, making it this kind of love story that plays out almost with himself but yet with psyche playing tricks on him after he drinks the absinthe. So he goes into a bar, which we shot at the Town House speakeasy in Venice, CA. We just had fun with it. Now we’re setting up to do the video for “The Ills” which is my favorite on the album.
Crooks: What sets you on the path for new ideas? What sparks your mind?
MS: My inspirations…I really think that I dig from a different well. Coming from my background with B.O.A…and the psychedelic mind. I rarely get high. AI drink here and there but 5AM is my biggest inspiration. I throw on some 70′s tracks and dive really deep into textures and stuff like that. I study the beauty in cinema, you know? I don’t fall or waste my time on television or who’s script is less than who’s visual concepts is less than and so on. I have to pull from the things that really push the card because you have to use that. If your a producer and your getting inspired by things, you shouldn’t be listening to the radio. For me, I want to dig deeper into the directors that are from all over the world wether it be Russia, Italy or Chechnya. As far as storytelling, in a youth culture. Whether it be youth culture shock in the 50′s or 60′s. Being that my original background is music so music is one of my biggest influences. So if I have to go through my hierarchy of how I get inspired it would go like this, music, film then fashion but not real 1, 2 or 3…they all kind of combine. If your ideas cannot be conveyed to a simple person as well as a complex person, you’re losing. That’s why the things that blow up, blow up because they know the formula on how to convey a message. Whether that be through music, visual or whatever art medium.