A few years back we described designer, director and previous It’s Nice That graduate Josh King as a “Kingston graduate who spends his days being paid to come up with brilliant ideas because that’s exactly what he’s best at.” This statement remains undoubtedly true. In his latest creative endeavour Josh directed Khruangbin’s genius music video for their song Evan Finds The Third Room, which involves Han Li, a smiling lady in green, picking up an imaginary hula hoop while taking out the trash. She then proceeds to dance her way through Shanghai’s various neighbourhoods.
“I had been working for Wieden & Kennedy in London for a while but drunkenly loaned myself to the Shanghai office seven months ago where I’ve been making some stuff for Nike. Last month I decided to stay out here and soak up more of the culture and dumplings,” the director tells It’s Nice That. That Josh is in high demand comes as no surprise. His past projects include a display case exhibiting what was supposedly former Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson’s last piece of gum – Josh put it on eBay where it reached £200,000 – and, what appears to be, a yoga-doing rubber chicken. Josh’s strength lies in his ability to transform a straightforward idea into a unique and often hilarious piece of art.
The opportunity to shoot Evan Finds The Third Room came about after Josh’s good friend Laura Lee, who is Khruangbin’s bassist, asked him to visualise the cheerful song. “Me and my mate Felix showed Laura a few ideas that involved walking as the track suits a Travolta-esque strut. But we then witnessed our friend Chris, the film’s choreographer, get pissed and perform a dance move where he pretended to have a hula hoop. So we wrote a short story about a cute old lady who discovers an invisible hoop in the backstreets of Shanghai.” The outcome is brilliant in its simplicity; the creative team have found possibly the happiest woman in Shanghai and follow her through supermarkets, revolving doors, water fountains and Shanghai’s backstreets as she repeats the catchy choreography.
“When we listened to the track a few times we knew it needed some sort of happy movement, and it turned out that happy movement was imaginary hula-hooping,” Josh explains. Working closely with fellow directors Felix Heyes and Mi Tian and with choreographer Chris Miller, the team intuitively crafted a smile-inducing video that takes the viewer on a stroll through Shanghai’s beautiful, character-filled neighbourhoods. “Like the music we just wanted to make people feel happy and funky. And we’re hopeful the next time Khruangbin perform the track live, the audience discover their own invisible hoops.”