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Music on The urbz

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Mortimer Goth's Distant Cousin
587 Posts
Hype Williams should need no introduction. Easily one of the most influential music video directors of the past decade, Williams' unique visual flair has helped countless artists, most of whom dwell within the arena of modern day R&B and Rap, achieve new levels of exposure.

I mean who can forget the indelible images of Busta Rhymes in "Whoo-Ha!! Got You All in Check" or Missy Elliott in "The Rain"?

Williams' latest endeavor, however, is something of a departure for the director. He's currently working on putting together a video that ties into EA's The Urbz: Sims in the City game, utilizing visuals from the game along with original music crafted by the Black Eyed Peas.

We caught up with Hype to talk about the project and his career.

Spence D., Editor-in-Chief, IGN Music: So you're directing an animated video for The Urbz: Sims in the City, using Black Eyed Peas music correct?

Hype Williams: Basically what they've done is that EA has recruited me to take this music that the Black Eyed Peas have done exclusively for the game, to create something cool that is music video-esque for these characters.

Music: Now I've grown up on your videos, but I won't even try and front and say that I've seen them all…

HW: [laughs] Yeah, there's hundreds of them!

Music: …but to the best of my knowledge, you've never done anything like this before, where you're working with pre-existing graphics and animation.

HW: No. And this whole year I've been working with EA just kind of like in a really different capacity, where I've done some camera work on games like NBA Street 3 and I'm gonna be doing some camera work on Fight Night 2 and just in general, I'm a heavy gamer and I hope to partner up with EA on making some really great games. Also, in return, they've recruited me to come in and take some of the cool music that they have and apply it to some of their game assets and make something cool out of it all.

Music: How does this kind of work differ from working on a live action video with the likes of Missy, Busta or whoever?

HW: It's just a different aesthetic, really. The colors are really the same, the usage is the same, and I'm still working with great music—like the Black Eyed Peas music is awesome. I'm really just being creative. It's just another extension of me being creative.

Music: For this particular project, did you sit down with the game and the music and then come up with ideas?

HW: Yeah. Basically I dove all the way in and played the game and just got an understanding of the different districts that are in the game, which are all these different quadrants of a cityscape. I just really got a sense of the overall aesthetic of the game and how the characters relate to that and then with the music it was a no-brainer. That's just what I do. So basically I'm taking the footage and coming up with something cool.

Music: Now are you taking chunks of the game and turning that into a video?

HW: Well it's a really entertaining game. There's a lot of things that you can do in the game that relate to lifestyle. So I'm taking lifestyle pieces and parts of the different districts and just making a montage set to the Black Eyed Peas.

Music: Now are you bringing in any outside images or are you strictly using the game materials?

HW: No. I've been given game materials and it's really pretty vast, the stuff that they have in this world of the Urbz. I think people are really gonna get into it as a game.

Music: I'm just intrigued to see how the video is gonna turn out in terms of a visual standpoint and whatnot.

HW: Yeah, I've just done this type of thing a couple of different times and it's just finding whatever is gonna speak to you through the music. And the Black Eyed Peas have created all of this music and written it in Simlish, which is the language of the Urbz and it just relates to me and when people see it I'm sure that they're gonna feel like it's an organic thing. It doesn't feel like it's an awkward montage of scenery cut to music. It's more or less part of it.

Music: So it's not gonna be like one of those standard videos that accompany a hit song from a movie where they clumsily intercut footage from the film with footage of the band and then keep bouncing back and forth, eh?

HW: No, this isn't like that. This is more about just making something organic that really feels like the game and that uses the mood of the music to get there.

Music: Now you mentioned that you're also working on NBA Street 3 and Fight Night 2. In what capacity are you involved in those two projects?

HW: For NBA Street 3 I'm working on a lot of the camera work and the visuals. I'm actual a conceptual designer and a producer on the game. And also for Fight Night 2 I'm gonna be working a lot more camera oriented stuff, actual game play.

Music: Any time you hear a song, do you automatically begin to see visuals in your head, you know do you see images of how you would make a video to that particular song?

HW: I can figure out how to do it, yeah. Really for me, it's about knowing how to do something. Like if I hear a record and I know how to visualize it, then that's kind of like the equation that you're talking about, where the images just come up. But sometimes there's music that I wouldn't necessarily know how to visualize and that's stuff I normally wouldn't touch. Most times it's the records that speak to me that way that I just kind of go after. That's where it comes from, it just comes from my relationship with the music. If I don't really have a relationship with the record, if it's not my kind of record, I wouldn't necessarily say I knew how to do it; no images would come to mind, I guess.

Music: Is that why you haven't done much rock oriented stuff? I mean your videography is pretty much all urban based music, rap, R&B, etc.

HW: No. I've been asked to do a gang of it. And some of it speaks to me. Like Lenny Kravitz is somebody I always talk about working with 'cause his music speaks to me. But I've talked to everybody from the Rolling Stones to Aerosmith about doing stuff. But it's just that I'm particular, man. It comes down to the music at the end of the day. If I can't do anything cool with the music, then I'd rather not do it.

Music: Is that because it would ultimately be a waste of your time and the artist's time?

HW: Not a waste, I just don't think I would do anything worthwhile, whereas there might be other directors who might understand that medium and who that music might speak to them differently.

Music: I mean you've run the gamut within the urban music spectrum, having helmed videos for everyone from PRT [Poor Righteous Teachers] to Jay-Z and everything in-between…

HW: Yeah. The closest thing I've done with rock was probably No Doubt. And they're even a little bit more urban than most rock groups, I'd say.

Music: For me, at least, I remember you coming to prominence during what I call your Missy/Bad Boy/Busta phase in the mid '90s where you were using fish eye lens, sleek costumes, and a lotta painted faces and high contrast. That became one of your identifiable trademarks. As a video director you want to have a distinct style, yet you don't want to get trapped using the same concepts all the time. How did you break out of that period and how have you maintained your creative integrity?

HW: Yeah. Everybody just grows. I think I've grown a lot since those days and my perspective is different. I'm a little bit more feature oriented now so my stuff may look a lot more like a [feature length film] and have more storytelling involved than it normally would. It all depends on what I'm interested. At that time that was the space I was in and I'm in a different space now.

Music: What would you say has been the craziest or most elaborate or even most f@#ked-up video that you've done to date?

HW: Uhhhh, man, I don't know. I've seen probably all of the above in various ways. It's been a long time and that would take a longer conversation than we have [laughs]. I've seen it all.

Music: Then has any artist you've worked with been more difficult than the others?

HW: No, I've been lucky. I get along with everybody, so it's just really about having fun with people you enjoy working with.

Music: You mentioned earlier that you are more feature oriented these days. Now you made Belly back in the day, do you have any further desires to dip back into the world of Hollywood?

HW: Yeah, absolutely. I'm working on some stuff as we speak. I think it's more or less what I want to do, so I'm focused on it now

SNW Webmiss
14292 Posts
Thanks again for the info ZeRo! I alreayd knew the Black Eyes Peas were doing the music in the URBZ but more inside info you gave here is really cool! 8)
Last edited by Guest on Sep 30, 2004 9:16am, edited 1 time in total.

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Mortimer Goth's Distant Cousin
587 Posts

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