Wednesday, 16 October 2013


"Aydin" directed by Pleix, music by Discodeine (Pschent Music) 2013

PLEIX is an award-winning group of seven graphic designers, animators and musicians, who are well known for their idiosyncratic adverts and promo videos. Their work has appeared everywhere from the contemporary art galleries of Europe to prime-time television advertising.

Their promo video for Discodeine's 'Aydin', is a provocatively druggy piece that caught the eye of FUTURE-ROCKER a few months back. The colour palate is so 'us', we had to make it this edition's intro video. Naturally, we always want to know more, so we managed to catch one of Pleix's members, on the hotline from Paris. 

Leti explains the ideas behind it:

It's a colourful and macabre scene that takes place in a villa. A girl tries to remember what happened. Hallucinatory reality or real hallucinations? The two worlds blend in this strange clip. 

The film is made of synthetic images where chrome objects contrast with multicoloured 2D solids.

From a technical aspect, the entire video is made of CGI. Motion capture was used for all the animation, and rendered as coloured solids. This technique is used in 3D post-production to easily separate objects from one another (one colour per object). We liked the effect and used it for the overall appearance. Post-processing was used to add texture to the film. 

All the best from Paris!


''it's within the reach of anyone willing to put in the hours, which are very antisocial''

Shynola are a famous London art collective, known for their eye-catching TV ads and visually-arresting pop promos.

I first heard of them back in September 2000’s edition of Creative Review, when the four members ( Chris Harding, Gideon Baws, Richard Kenworthy, and Jason Groves ) were living and working from their flat in Muswell Hill. In the short space of time from having left the Kent Institute of Art and Design, Shynola seemed to have made a name for themselves with a notable and eclectic client-list, featuring everything from NatWest Bank to rock 'national treasure' Radiohead. 

FUTURE-ROCKER interviews SHYNOLA'S Chris Harding.

FR: Chris, I can state from experience that living with your student mates after college doesn’t always turn out as planned - how did you manage to make it work long enough to establish yourselves?

I know what you're saying! Living and working in each other's pockets can be tough. As to how it worked for us, I have two parts to the answer - we met at art college in the mid-90's and soon realised we were very like-minded. When we started “working” as Shynola, we had already spent around five years collaborating on student films, paintings, poetry, music and so on. Most things we produced in those days were dreadful, but it taught us a lot about getting the best from each other, not being precious and just getting things done. So, it wasn't as quick a rise as it probably seemed, not that I realised anyone was paying attention!
I can't give a definitive description of how we achieved what we did. I think it was just a combination of good luck and hard work. I don't mean any false modesty – I'm incredibly proud of the work we've produced – but I do think it's within the reach of anyone willing to put in the hours, which are very antisocial.

 After starting out as a tightly-knit foursome - how many people work for Shynola now? Is it just the three remaining members ( Gideon Baws sadly passed away in 2008, at the age of 33 ), or do you have a larger staff?

Still just the three of us. For one thing, no-one could ever replace Gideon. And for another, we never wanted to become a company with staff. We hand-craft every piece of work between the 3 of us, within reason. We obviously need a crew if we're doing a live action shoot, and over the years we have met people we like to go back to, but our goal was never to become a production line.  It's a decision that's paid dividends in terms of artistic satisfaction, but we're every so slightly beginning to regret it as our families continue to grow and mouths need to be fed!

Below: Shynola 'portraits'

 Tell us about your amazing new Science Fiction short, Dr. Easy. How did you discover the source material?

Matthew De Abaitua heard through a mutual friend that we were looking for a project to turn into a feature film, so he sent us the manuscript for his book, The Red Men, which was about to be published. I hope he won't mind me saying that when someone sends you their writing to consider adapting for film, there is a certain reluctance because if you don't like it then there's an awkward conversation ahead. So we left it for a while, fearing the worst.

As it turned out, we read it, loved it, and immediately bought the rights to adapt it and started writing a screenplay. The screenplay writing was slow. It took us about four years, being totally inexperienced in the field, and when we had it to a level where we weren't embarrassed to show it, we took it to Warp Films. Warp were into it and took it to Film 4, who also saw the potential.

Dr. Easy is a beautifully-made piece, reminiscent of recent urban sci-fi like the excellent District 9 and Dredd movies. What was the intention in doing a short film? To get interest for a full-blown movie?

Thank you, those are kind words indeed. Being music video directors, Film 4 wanted us to make a short film as a little test of our abilities. So, that's the long winded way of saying Dr Easy is the first chapter of the book The Red Men.
But just to elaborate a bit, our intention was originally to make The Red Men into a feature film. Dr. Easy served not only as a dry run, but to get interest in the larger project, The Red Men.

Explain the reason to use Jellyfish Pictures for the visual effects. Was it not possible to do it in-house?

We simply don't have the manpower or abilities to do what Jellyfish Pictures did on Dr. Easy. We contemplated the idea of doing it ourselves, looking for artists to come in and help us, but I think if we'd done it that way we'd still be animating now.

What are Shynola’s collective influences? Comic-books? Sci-Fi? Cartoons?

Certainly those were our influences in the early days, and those things still hang heavy in our heads and in our work, but these days we take influence from a far more diverse range of sources, from every day life with our families, to films and not least from things we see on the internet.

What’s next for Shynola?

Hopefully more film making. We have built up a head of steam with Dr. Easy, and are just entering a new development phase on Red Men with eyes on actually getting it made ASAP.  As well as that, we will likely always be making music videos and commercials because sometimes it’s fun to work on something that turns around in a matter of months, not years.

Well, we're definitely looking forward to seeing the full-blown movie.

To be frank, I haven't done an interview for quite some time, and it's quite pleasant to think your work has excited someone enough to get them thinking and asking questions about it!

WONDER WOMAN ON FILM: HOW DO YOU 'REBOOT' A POP-CULTURE ICON? - a talk with director Jesse V. Johnson

''She is intense, focused, and physically powerful''

Update 2017: This article was written in 2013, well before Wonder Woman's awesome big screen debut in 2016's Batman V Superman. Future-Rocker will review her actual solo debut this summer, but in the meantime, this article discusses the obvious groundswell of support for a Wonder Woman movie, that surely made the Warner executives think that now is the time to bring her to the screen. First week of June 2017 is when we find out if they got it right. We definitely didn't, when you consider FR's ideal dream-team choice to make the film ( see article ). 

Illustration by Alexi K, 2012/13.

It seems that Wonder Woman fan trailers are like buses: You wait ages for one, and then suddenly two come along at the same time. Evidently film-makers are getting impatient with big studio stasis, and are taking matters into their own hands. Action movie director Jesse V. Johnson puts it succinctly: ‘I just felt Wonder Woman was a terrific character who had been seriously maligned by her on-screen depictions.’

Jesse’s was the first of two completely separate clips to become big internet hits this year. What made him pick the distinctly alt-rock’ looking Nina Bergman to play the iconic character? ‘Nina is an actress-singer I have known for some time. She is intense, focused, and physically powerful, attributes I felt were perfect for Wonder Woman.’

Below: Wonder Woman 2013 ( dir. Jesse V. Johnson ), as played by actress and singer Nina Bergman.

So why are Warner Bros - the studio that owns the entire DC Comics pantheon - so reticent to push ahead with a big-budget movie adaptation of such a well-known character?
The reasons are manifold, but the main one is probably the age of the character herself. Wonder Woman, like Superman and Captain America, is essentially a 1940’s creation, and represents a first-generation of superheroes who became default mascots of World War II America and its ideals, and therefore proves difficult to re-tool in our era of cynicism and suspicion of traditional values and authority. Johnson explains: ‘DC is rightfully protective of its characters - meaning it can be difficult to get a feature going, but that protective attitude leaves a vacuum for a well thought out fan film to make an impact.’

They have good reason to be cautious: As other studio adaptations of vintage comic heroes such as The Phantom, Dick Tracy, and The Shadow have shown, no matter how lavish your period styling and art deco set designs, a movie can easily be regarded as no more than a curiosity to all but the most hardcore genre fans. More saliently, female-fronted action films have also historically performed badly at the box office ( Aeon Flux, Elektra, Catwoman ), and even worse at the hands of the critics ( Tomb Raider ).

So now there are two interpretations: Johnson’s, with its kinetic and punky vibe, and Sam Balcomb's ‘300’-style interpretation, going for that mythical Greek look. Both examples show that with the right vision, it is still possible to portray the character in a credible way.

For the budding film-maker, if the studio is so protective of its property - and you want to make your own trailer - what are the legal ramifications? According to Johnson, ‘I made it with no permission from anyone, and posted it to Vimeo which is non-profit. I made my Wonder Woman with no view to making any kind of financial profit from it, internet profit doesn’t interest me. It wasn’t - and cannot be - the reason for me to make these shorts. I made Wonder Woman to show that I had an artistic vision for the character, that could, with a little imagination, be seen to initiate a successful feature film premise.’

The final result is spectacular. What did the studio make of it?

The WW trailer brought me a wonderful series of meetings with execs at Warner Brothers, it would be a dream come true to work with them, but I believe I am going to have to deliver a more solid reason for them to bank on me as a director of a studio picture. He then adds cryptically, ‘I am working on that aspect as we speak.’

Interestingly, it transpires that the actress playing Jesse's Wonder Woman was a good choice, too. ‘Nina is repped by Warners Records, they saw our short was doing well and put it on their Youtube channel.’ 

Below: Great profile shot of Nina Bergman as Wonder Woman.

Indeed, Nina confirmed to FUTURE-ROCKER that it was an incredible opportunity to work on Wonder Woman with Jesse.’ ( Scroll down to the end of this edition for more info on Nina ).

Sounds like a nice bit of synergy for all concerned. What does Jesse think of Sam Balcomb's Wonder Woman, played by Rileah Vanderbilt?  ( see clip, below ).

‘I like it, the visuals are beautiful, ’ he enthuses.

Below: The second Wonder Woman fan clip of 2013 ( dir. Sam Balcomb )

Below: Wonder Woman 2013, as played by Rileah Vanderbilt ( dir. Sam Balcombe ).

How lucky for Warner Brothers. While they dither in a creative limbo, energetic and talented film-makers are producing movie prototypes for them, creating huge viral publicity in the process - and all completely for free! Warners should fire their publicity departments.

DC is now ten years behind Marvel in terms of getting characters successfully to the screen. One of the reasons could be that Marvel’s characters more readily translate for a modern sensibility, birthed, as they were, during the 1960’s counter-culture. The earliest geeks and hipsters found themselves amused by Stan Lee’s smart-mouthed dialogue, dazzled by the psychedelic visuals of master artists like Ditko, Kirby and Steranko, and thus the characters’ spirit has remained intact ever since.

Unfortunately, the longer Warners/DC wait, the more pressure there is to deliver a massive hit. No executive wants to go down in history as the guy that killed the Wonder Woman franchise, so you can see why the studio doesn’t want to put itself through the pain of another Superman-style reboot. Maybe to play safe, they should introduce her in a team-up context, as with Ben Affleck’s Batman, in the Man of Steel sequel.

FUTURE-ROCKER thinks that a successful Wonder Woman film should be a courageous and full-on Inglourious Basterds-style World War II blitzkrieg, and if it has to be from a ‘known’ director, let it be Quentin Tarantino directing from a David Mamet script.

Ultimately, like their super-strong heroine, Warner Brothers need to man-up - and show Marvel how it’s done.


This is an ongoing series of articles that will be spread across both FUTURE-ROCKER and MONOBLOG over the coming editions, featuring the work of the visionaries who document the more 'colourful' side of 21st Century life.


FUTURE-ROCKER is blown away by Sebastian's vertiginous shots of Dubai's skyscrapers. His super-sharp photographs make the desert city look like a megalopolis from a science fiction movie. How does he prepare for a shoot? See below!

Sebastian says: For cityscape work, you need a comfy pair of shoes, lots of recon work and patience.  Since I mainly shoot late at night it's a lot of long exposures, dodging cars sometimes, getting strange looks and comments from drunk people walking back to their hotels.  I hope to get more elevated shots over the next year from roof tops and high balconies.

All photographs copyright Sebastian Lee, 2013


''I like the idea of data as a raw material.''

Justin Palmer's gorgeous 'data maps' have rightly caught the eye of the design community in recent months. We ask him how he turned a relatively sedate subject - the age of the buildings in the neighbourhoods around Portland - into a prismatic array of futuristic hieroglyphs.

To fully enjoy them as wonderful abstract pieces of art, we've taken our favourite bits of the map and zoomed in. If you want to know more, see the link at the bottom of this page.

Below: Beaverton, Oregon

Below: Close-up of Ladd's Addition, southeast Portland

FUTURE-ROCKER: Justin, These maps are really stunning, and fascinate on so many levels. How did you do them?

The map was possible through open source tools and open access to public data.  The city of Portland maintains and releases a bunch of public data, and the building dataset is one of those releases. The dataset contains a record of over 600k buildings and many of them list the year they were created. 

After acquiring the data, I imported it into the open source map editor, TileMill.   This is where I worked on the visuals of the map, tweaking the color ranges via Carto, adding rivers and parks, etc.  After I was comfortable with everything, I exported the resulting tiles to MapBox and then used GitHub Pages  to host the website.

It's kind of fascinating to think that none of this would've been possible five years ago.  The tools didn't exist, and the data was locked away on some hard drive.

FR:  What does 'data' mean to you? To many people, it represents something scary and Orwellian, whereas you show that it can be have an inherent aesthetic quality.

Data forms the basis of art and information.  I think cartography is an especially compelling use of data, because it's easy for individuals to identify with.  People see themselves, their lives, on a map; places they've been, places they want to go, places they feel safe and places they fear.

I like the idea of data as a raw material.  Like most raw material, it's up to the craftsman to decide if they want to use it responsibly.  Data will always exist, and unlike other raw material, it's only going to become more abundant with time.  

FR:  Have you had any offers to 'do' other cities? Or would you like to?

I've been informally asked to do other cities, but I doubt I will.  Portland is my home and it's the place I identify with the most.  However, I've seen other maps pop up for the Netherlands, NYC, Chicago and London among others.

FR:  What originally got you started?

I guess you could say I started out doing design for software.  Not long after, I started programming in a bunch of different programming languages.  Along the way, data visualization became a great way for me to merge the two skill sets. 

I've been influenced by a number of sources.  I really love the way the NYTimes uses data to help tell a story.  I'm also a big fan of Eric Fisher's work.

Below: North Portland, with the Willamette River on the left

Below: Showing neighbourhoods between Beaverton ( in the north ) and Tigard ( south )

Below: Portland, showing the Willamette River ( grey ), and the Banfield Expressway ( black line curving across the centre ).

Below: Expanse of neighbourhoods, with the Banfield Expressway ( across the top of map )

Below: Map of Portland

Below: Sabin / Irvington neighbourhood, northeast Portland

For get more info - go to Justin's Website and follow the link to his blog.

Our look at the urban environment continues back here in a few months, and also in our sister mag, MONOBLOG.


Okay, so now you're wondering who exactly Jesse V. Johnson's Wonder Woman is... 

FUTURE-ROCKER introduces N.I.N.A.
Photo: Robert Sebree

Nina, you appear to have acted in loads of things, but it's difficult to pin down your biography on the internet. You seem to be an international woman of mystery. What's your background?

Haha, I know, I'm kinda confusing.

I was born in Denmark, Copenhagen - My Father is Russian - I moved to New York alone when I was 17, and moved to LA for good a few years ago!

At FUTURE-ROCKER, we love female vocalists, so it was great to discover that you are a new signing at Warner Brothers. What vocalists most inspired you?

Nine Inch Nails: Trent Reznor, he says what I only dare to think, he's so brave and brutally honest. He's my biggest inspiration.
U2's Bono: His vocals rips my heart out. I LOVE the sound of his throat - he's an inspiration as an artist and human being.
VAST ( Seattle industrial combo ): His lyrics mixed with beauty and aggression I love him.

Massive Attack ( Bristol UK trip-hop combo ): Sonically there's nothing better....

Lisa Gerrard ( Dead Can Dance vocalist and Ridley Scott's soundtrack muse ): She's from another world - her voice makes me cry...

Chester ( Linkin Park ) I LOVE the aggression, makes me feel so good...

Some great picks there. Okay, one last thing. Judging by all your promo pictures, you seem to have a rather pro-choice attitude to hair colour. ( We like our rockers dark and gothic, so we picked only NINA's black-haired photos ). What are you, a blonde or brunette?

I had to go blonde again... my agent threatened to drop me if I didn't... I work more as a blonde in this town!!


''I work more as a blonde in this town!!''

Photo: Robert Sebree


Tuesday, 16 July 2013


'PG-13' / SLIGHTLY TOO CHEEKY FOR WORK: Features unruly Japanese people, motorcycles, and octopus wrangling.


Here at Future-Rocker's Bikini Atoll base, a big buzz went round the office over this spectacularly fun video from rising garage rocker Hanni El Khatib. Hanni, an LA resident and product of Filipino and Palestinian heritage, is one of the most exciting Alt Latino artists current on the scene.

The cheeky - and hilarious - promo is directed by LA photographer Nick Walker. We caught up with Nick to find out more.

- Nick, the 'Family' video that you did for HANNI EL KHATIB is one of most stylish & memorable we've seen for a while. As a photographer and film-maker, who are your influences?

- Obviously the legends... Penn, Avedon, Malick. But I think the influences I appreciate the most are the people that I've been fortunate enough to work for, and develop friendships from. Robert Maxwell, Hilary Walsh, Emmett Malloy, and Doug Inglish. They have taught me and supported me so much.

- The promo looks like it was shot in California. Is that where you live?

- Yes, I'm based in LA. Trips to NYC periodically, but I pride myself in being based here.

- Judging by the cast and credits of Hanni's promo, the team you had working with you looked pretty sizeable [ - it included 'octopus wrangler' & 'nutritionist'! ], was this an expensive shoot?

- The video was expensive. But I had a great team behind me, and couldn't have done it without them. Hanni's record label Innovative Leisure is incredibly supportive and made everything come together seamlessly.

- Was the promo influenced by any particular movie / genre? It reminds me of one of Tarantino's homages.

- In the end, the video paid homage to 'Japanese Pinky Violence' films [ - Japan's homegrown grindhouse / exploitation sub-genre ].  I had the idea years ago and developed my own story to what I thought it could be. Once Hanni and the label gave the green light, I did more research in found so many gems in that genre of film.

- The actors are great.

- The producers did a great job in helping cast the actors all locally in LA.

- What's been the reaction, so far?

- The video was really well received and since then, I've been writing treatments for other projects. I'm just planning on staying busy creating new content for both photo and video. 
To see more of Nick's work, click here.


'It's been gratifying having the movie seen by more and more people who are attuned to its very particular frequency'

For those of you who feel that thoughtful, experimental - and even stylish - Science Fiction movies died with the advent of Star Wars and the proliferation of mindless summer blockbusters, FUTURE-ROCKER presents you with the antidote: The hallucinogenic world of Panos Cosmatos' BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW.

Set in the bold and futuristic year of 1983, the film features a young woman ( Eva Allan ), who finds herself trapped in an experimental lab watched over by the sinister Dr. Barry Nyle, played by the superbly twitchy Michael Rogers ( possibly channelling ubiquitous 80s genre star David Warner ). The film's exceptionally druggy atmospherics are augmented by the throbbing chromatic lighting and pulsing synth tracks of 80s-revivalists Sinoia Caves. Even the DVD cover art is styled in faux-VHS packaging. Beyond The Black Rainbow caused quite a stir at Cannes, and immediately got picked up for North American release by Magnet Films, purveyors of edgy horror, sci-fi and Asian cinema. FUTURE-ROCKER talked to director, Panos Cosmatos, currently in-between projects.

 - Panos, the film's attention to detail, regarding the feel of pre-Star Wars film-making, is astonishing. You are obviously deeply fascinated by this whole period.

My mother Birgitta Ljungberg was a huge inspiration to me. She was an avant garde sculptor with a very open and experimental imagination. No matter what crazy music I was into that I'd play for her, she would always listen intently and comment thoughtfully on it. She always encouraged me creatively, and even though she passed away many years ago, she is still an influence. My father taught me about film history. He had an impressive Betamax collection, mostly recorded from HBO, Showtime and Z Channel, that exposed me to every era and style of film-making. Through general exposure to him, and by watching him work, I learned about the film industry. I gleaned a lot from overhearing his phone conversations with various producers and executives.  Even though at home he was a very sentimental man, at work he was a hardened realist.

- Talking about your dad ( blockbuster film-maker John Cosmatos ), he directed Rambo First Blood II, a seismic cultural hit that bisected the 80's, so how did that huge mainstream success impact on your family, and on you as a youngster?

It was astounding, and somewhat frightening, to watch the Rambo phenomenon ripple across the cultural landscape. On a personal level it had the effect of exacerbating my already extremely shy nature. Since I grew up in Canada, away from Hollywood where such a thing was more commonplace, it made me feel incredibly self-conscious. It's interesting to look back now and see it all with the clarity of hindsight.

- BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW is definitely the vision of a Betamax / VHS obsessive, as if you filtered the Andromeda Strain, Kubrick, Cronenberg, Colossus The Forbin Project... you seem to have nailed those aesthetics. Explain why you wanted to tell the story in that way.

In many ways the film was an experiment. An attempt to take an abstract idea and make it crystalline. I wanted to try and capture my memory of how a film felt, seeing it for the first time at a young age, on late night cable television or a random tape. The story grew out of that notion, and as a result it ended up reflecting the landscape of the era in more ways than just aesthetically.

- How do you feel it was received - by both critics and audiences?

When we first started showing the movie, it felt like people were perceiving it as a straight sci-fi genre piece, and didn't quite now how to take it in. It wasn't till we showed it in New York City, that the influence of experimental and underground film was picked up on. It's been gratifying having the movie seen by more and more people who are attuned to its very particular frequency.

- The film is such a strong stylistic statement, that as a viewer, I'm left wondering ''what's next?'' - I hear the follow-up is a 'bit bigger', so will it have the same art direction and style, or have you gotten that out of your system?

There's stylistic and tonal aspects of Black Rainbow that I'd like to continue to explore, but I'm not interested in making the same thing twice. Each idea is its own organism and that has to be nurtured for it to flourish. Movies are an unlimited dreamscape, and it feels like the medium has barely scratched the surface of what it's capable of.

- Is sci-fi / horror your main interest, or do you ultimately want to try other genres?

Various forms of science fiction, including sci-fi horror, were my favorite genre for most of my life, but recently my obsessions have shifted more towards horror. In a way horror is the purest genre there is, and it's incredibly flexible, expressive and diverse. I love genre cinema and feel inclined to dedicate my life to trying to contribute to it. When you love something, it's almost a moral imperative to do so. Horror and science fiction have always been ghetto genres, and that's one of the things I love about them. I feel at home in the cultural ghetto.

- Finally, who would you most like to work with?

I'd most like to continue working with people who are creative.

'In a way horror is the purest genre there is, and it's incredibly flexible, expressive and diverse'
- Panos Cosmatos


BONUS FEATURE! - Panos recommends his favourite cult classics!

- Features, The Fly 2, Ben Hur, Black Rain & Motley Crue - 


- Hi Frank, good to catch up. We saw your work [ LED Freerunning ] in the first edition of FUTURE-ROCKER. Like its predecessor, 'Sleepless' is a relatively simple idea, stunningly executed. The backdrop of both videos reminds me of Tokyo's Roppongi district. Is that where it was shot, or did you use a variety of locations?

It wasn't Japan at all. Simply beautiful Bangkok, Thailand. We filmed in the centre of this vibrant city as well as in some districts in the suburbs.

- How big a crew do you need for a shoot of this sort?

We were a team of 5 people - director, Director of Photography, model and two LED runners.

- It looks very lush - not to mention, expensive - how was it financed?

We were asked by Universal [ the record company ] to do the job, and of course we got paid! ;). Due to my experiences with LED Freerunning, we knew the location, and the way we would shoot it to get the best out of the time that was given, in terms of budget.

- How long did the shoot take?

The shoot took 9 days plus additional 4 days of post-production.

- What are you working on next?

There will be some interesting sh*t coming up pretty soon!

The Future-Rocker: Pic by Axel Ki


Anthony is a movie director ( see his work with TENDRIL, in the recent MONOBLOG, and our BONUS FEATURE, below ), as well as an accomplished musician, and as you may have gathered, since childhood he has been immersed in the polished-chrome ambience of 1980's films and soundtracks.

His beautiful debut album PILOTPRIEST - ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK is available to buy now, and is due out on vinyl shortly. You can hear the whole album on FUTURE-ROCKER right here, while we chat with Anthony:

- How long have you been playing? Has the synth always been your instrument?

I’ve been playing for 20 years. I play drums, bass, guitar,and keys. I started with synth. 
I’ve always been into this sound ever since I was 5. I loved the way it was so odd, yet popular. I have been writing this style since I started... I’m lucky it came back into style.

- Explain the titles - you wrote all the music, so they're not cover versions. Did you watch the films first, then write the music?

I just titled the tracks based on the film from my childhood that the song made me feel the most. ( Cont'd ).




3. Lou Reed – Transformer
2. Jeff Wayne – War Of The Worlds
1. Michael Jackson – Thriller


3. Repo Man – Various
2. The Thing – Ennio Morricone
1. Bladerunner – Vangelis


- Any scoops on the collaboration with artist / designer Ash Thorp?

We are developing numerous films right now... All different types of genre stories. We are really trying to bring back the realism of character, that was in stories put to film before the studios got scared of new untested ideas.

- Apart from that, what's next from you?

I’m always working on new music, and I’m trying to develop the next album as an oculus rift experience [ - meaning a head-mounted, high-field-of-view virtual reality device ].
I'm mostly focusing on directing... This month I’m directing an episode of a new horror anthology series.

Pilotpriest - Bodydouble (Phace Remix) / Neodigital 001



- Your TRON: DESTINY fan video looks like a teaser trailer for a real mega-budget movie. Did you do it just for the hell of it, or with a show-reel thing in mind?

I did it because I wanted to show my love for the world of TRON... And show Hollywood that us nerds with cameras were hot on their tails :)

- Did it get you any interest from the real TRON producers?

No, but Disney shut our film down numerous times on Youtube. I did get some really nice words from designers and vfx guys involved with TRON: LEGACY though.

- If you were going to do another fan video, what would it be? Glen A. Larson's TRON rip-off 'Auto-Man' by any chance?

Buckaroo Banzai. No question.


Bradley G. Munkowitz is a much in-demand movie visual FX artist, introduced to FUTURE-ROCKER by fellow designer Ash Thorp. He has worked on Disney's TRON: LEGACY, and most recently, on this summer's Tom Cruise vehicle, OBLIVION. We caught up with G-MUNK - as he likes to be called - to talk about movie designs, and his new abstract art poster series.

GMunk, the graphics that you design for films like OBLIVION and TRON: LEGACY ( I'm thinking of the hologram displays, especially ) look incredibly complicated. For example, the 'TRON Throne Room' graphic: Not only is it a great cinematic sequence, but it contains some of the most beautiful and enthralling abstract art I've seen. Describe how these sequences come together. Every little speck of visual information seems to have a journey on the screen. How does it go from your roughs to the finished sequence? Who works on what?

It all starts with a brief from the Director, then a long process of research, reference, style frames, storyboards, animation production and finishing. Yes I do appreciate and strive for a high level of detail in my work and push very hard to make sure that isn't compromised in the final product...

I always like to talk about creating what you love, and savoring the process in doing so... The work that speaks to you, deep into your soul, is the work you should be creating... I've been doing this over 13 years, and have finally, in the past few years, found that magical spark that's more inspired than I've ever been.


How did you create the art in your OpArt and GEO poster series?

I create them using Generated Geometry that is taken into Maya, my 3D software of choice, and rendered using either mentalRay or vRay…

My main Inspiration is the great Andy Gilmore, who is the modern-day master of this style... I'm also greatly inspired by the great Victor Vasarely's artwork, and the copious usage of psychedelics in general... 






[ Editor's note: There's more GMUNK art in MONOBLOG - out at the end of August 2013 ].



I've been living by a few quotes as of late, and I'd love to share them with you:

"Nothing is original.. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, lights and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work ( and theft ) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is nonexistent. And don't bother concealing your thievery - celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: 'It's not where you take things from - it's where you take them to.'" 

- Jim Jarmusch.

"To progress in life you must give up the things you do not like. Give up doing the things that you do not like to do.. You must find the things that you do like. The things that are acceptable to your mind." 

- Agnes Martin.

and my favorite:

The Law of Detachment

''In detachment lies the wisdom of uncertainty... In the wisdom of uncertainty lies the freedom from our past, from the known, which is the prison of past conditioning...

And in our willingness to step into the unknown, the field of all possibilities, we surrender ourselves to the creative mind that orchestrates the dance of the universe...'' 

- Deepak Chopra.