What a treat this is! We have for you today a special conversation between bearded electronic wizard Todd Terje and two very talented illustrators Espen Friberg and Bendik Kaltenborn about the fantastic new music video they have been working on. If you haven’t already seen it, it’s a hilarious whirlwind of illustrations painstakingly animated together frame by frame, and something the three of them have been working on since October.
The animation is half in Bendik’s style and half in Espen’s, making it a blur of friendship, hard work and mind boggling skill and perhaps – and I don’t mean to go overboard here – one of the most entertaining, joyous animated music videos of all time. Here we have a conversation between Bendik, Todd and Espen, and an EXCLUSIVE outtakes video! Read on to find out the story behind this magnificent achievement and to get a glimpse into the trio’s rather funny friendship.
Bendik: At first I was gonna do this video all by myself, but I very soon panicked and contacted you, Espen Friberg, my long time friend and colleague, and luckily you wanted to do this with me. And I just want to point out that this video is a 50/50 teamwork by the two of us, combining our two drawing styles equally, since I notice many sites write that Espen directed and I animated, which is not right.
Todd: How did the collaboration work; did you draw your own pieces and send them back and forth or were you working together in the same room shouting, screaming and biting each other’s fingernails?
Espen: We were literally sitting with our backs to each other and pushing out pixels on our Wacom tablets.
"We should do that merch idea with my head on one side of a pillow cover! That way everyone can sleep with me."Todd Terje
Bendik: Yeah, back to back! Animating our own drawings in Photoshop, dropping it in Dropbox and putting it all together in After Effects. Before that we spent weeks just throwing ideas and spreading small pieces of paper all over Espen’s studio. Although the video looks spontaneous it is actually very carefully planned down to the smallest beat, but we still had some room for improvisation as well. I guess none of us are really professional animators, so I’m really happy that we managed to make this video look exactly like we planned from the start.
Todd: What is the deal with the wasps?
Bendik: I sincerely HATE wasps! I think that’s the only idea I had from before Espen was involved that we kept. I liked the idea of working so intensely with something that you hate so much.
"The wasps and smileys are related in colour of course, but also I guess it is sort of a contrast to the horror of the wasps and also a small nod to acid culture."Espen Friberg
Espen: I actually don’t find them that scary, but rather nice and graphic to look at. And when Bendik was talking about the wasp idea, I liked the idea of the alfonso rhythm paired with the wasp flying through all kinds of crazy stuff. Also I liked the idea of turning you into a wasp, Terje.
Bendik: By the way, how did you react when you realized you were in the video, Terje? We didn’t allow you to see anything of the video until we were almost finished, actually.
Todd: Ha ha yeah, I remember. I think I look a little bit Swedish. Hipster bartender Swedish. But I liked it. Or loved it. Or love it. I still chuckle every time I see him/me, and I’ve probably seen the video about 100 times now including the five times we showed it at Izakaya (a trendy Japanese-themed bar) at the oh-so-cool preview partay. And we should do that merch idea with my head on one side of a pillow cover! That way everyone can sleep with me.
Todd: Speaking of ideas that weren’t kept… I remember you showed me an early clip of the businessman hitting an egg with a spoon, in a 7/8ths time. But then again, a week before deadline, you told me you had accidently made it 30 minutes or something? Haha! No wonder it takes a long time to finish. What will you do with all the extra material?
Espen: Haha, I think it was 30 seconds too much, but 30 minutes sounds much better! I guess the extra material will be featured on some “Golden Todd Terje Moments” DVD when we are all old and bold in the future.
Todd: Oh right, 30 seconds…Still too much.
Bendik: Let’s put those extra seconds together as small bonus reel for this interview!
Todd: Great idea! And what about smileys?
Espen: The wasps and smileys are related in colour of course, but also I guess it is sort of a contrast to the horror of the wasps and also a small nod to acid culture.
Todd: How do you translate “gutta gønner på”?
Espen: “The boys are back in town”? Haha, it’s a hard one to translate.
Bendik: Yeah, we added some random sentences, just because it fitted with the beat, like “Wong Kar-Wai”.
Todd: As you weren’t paid bucketloads for this video, I guess the real value here is promotional. Is it weird that you’re promoting something you don’t want to do too much of, as animation takes too much time?
Bendik: Ha ha yeah, but still, we were free to do exactly what we wanted. Making this into our own project has been tremendous fun!
Espen: Promoting wasps and smileys was big fun!