O.N.O. for Lunice is the first release from an ambitious film-making project by LuckyMe co-founders Dominic Flannigan and Peter Marsden and Apple Music. The collaboration between the label and the platform will see five films centred on five of the label’s artists, each highly personal to the musician and artistically disparate.
“We’ve made very distinct ambitious worlds for each of our artists,” explains Dominic of what he’s coined LuckyMe’s “visual debut album”. “All the films are somewhat subversions of genre flicks – film tropes flipped into music videos.” The debut film for Lunice exemplifies this approach, as a nostalgic trip through 90s hip hop. Shot in one large set, it follows Lunice through a series of theatrical vignettes that will be familiar to anyone who spent their teens watching MTV Base.
“It’s an abstract representation of Lunice’s influences through music video,” says Peter. “Lunice moves through the space as a kind of stage hand in a theatre, picking up different elements and props as a metaphor for the way he evolves artistically through influence. Each of these elements combine together to complete the staging in the final space which is a replication of one of Lunice’s really early dance videos. That’s how we first got to know Lunice, through his amazing dance videos on YouTube.”
Dominic, Peter and Lunice chose the videos they wanted to reference, but have purposely not replicated them precisely, rather based it on their vague recollections of the time. “[They’re] an amalgamation of combined memories that came together to give an impression of an era,” Peter continues. “You can probably guess what the references were, but it was an interesting process to find out how our memories of 90s hip hop videos had merged and warped over the years.”
Rather than leaning on film techniques, the directing duo wanted to imagine the concept as if it were designed for theatre. “We had to work hard to keep things minimal and impressionistic to have that aesthetic,” says Peter. “As Lunice moves past each room he activates them, like pressing play. I really liked the idea that all these videos exist in the darkness of the internet when we’re not watching.”
The next in the series promises to be diverse and experimental, each developed directly with the artists for what Dominic calls the most “indulgent” songs on their albums. “There’s a near sci-fi film shot in semi-rural location, set to unscripted documentary dialogue; a dramatic film scene with Henson puppets; hand-drawn anime; a car chase in the woods. All are motivated by conversations with our artists and exist as a comment on where we are as a culture in 2017. And hopefully prove that the eye we’ve taken into all our releases now extends into film work.”