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WARREN FU ON HIS CAREER AS A DIRECTOR

“I was a big Strokes fan, and they were on their third album. This was when MP3s were starting to leak, and the song ‘You Only Live Once’ by The Strokes was leaked. And I thought, ‘I want to do a music video for them. This song is fucking amazing. I need to do this video’. And I came up with this idea, made this whole presentation with storyboards and illustrations, burned it onto a DVD, and sent it off to RCA Records and sent a second copy to Wiz Kid Management, their management team. (I just Googled this stuff, by the way.) I got a call from Wiz Kid Management, saying that Julian Casablancas loves it and wants to talk to you. And sure enough, I got a phone call from Julian from Paris. He had seen the presentation, and he said, ‘I’d love to make a music video with this version. Can you ask RCA?’ So RCA gave me $10,000 to do an alternate version of the video. It was a hybrid of live action stuff with some effects. It was a good [thing for me], moving away from the illustration side into a hybrid kind of thing.”

“That video wasn't a big video, but enough people noticed it. It was a nice calling card, and it built my relationship with Julian from The Strokes. So, when Julian went solo, he asked me to do his videos. And that was the next evolution. He gave me a $30,000 video to do, and when that video came out, Partizan Entertainment, the production company I'm with now, reached out to me with a video for Mark Ronson. And the song was called ‘Bang, Bang, Bang’. It was with Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest and MNDR. And that was just a dream come true.”

“When I got the call that Daft Punk wanted to meet me, that was very surreal. It’s an attention to detail that is this kindred connection that the Daft Punk guys and I have. That was the start of a great collaborative relationship between us, brainstorming and doing their ad campaign. I gave [the helmets] this airbrushed look, and that's my handwriting on the cover of Random Access Memories. I have this whole ream of paper in my house, writing the name Random Access Memories over and over again with a sharpie. The human touch - that's a big theme in that album.”

Isabella Tan

“That was just a great learning experience. That was my next chapter of learning about filmmaking. Everything on that album was analog. We shot the logo (Random Access Memories), all the commercials, Get Lucky, all of that stuff is shot on 65 millimeter film. The logo was cut out on a piece of vinyl, and they peeled away the negative space and shined a light through it to get sparkles to come out of the thing. We had a big dolly track with 65 millimeter film, shooting just the logo. And when they set all of this stuff up, I thought to myself ‘they could do this on the computer and it'd be a lot easier’. And then I saw the dailies - we went to develop the film footage and the film came back. And holy shit, you cannot replicate this stuff, this analog stuff. The glow from the sparkles had so many different colors in it that you couldn't fake, and the imperfections of it all. And after that I was like, ‘Okay, these Daft guys are fucking geniuses. I'll go on whatever ride they want me to’. So that was the beginning of this journey. That was 2011, so [it’s been] 10 years that I worked with them. And yeah, I got kind of emotional when I found out they were gonna split.”

Courtesy Warren Fu

Jing Wang for Jaded