The Source: Davud Karbassioun
BBH London’s Davud Karbassioun worries that AI will render us extinct, but takes comfort from Kermit.
Davud Karbassioun, managing partner and head of production at BBH London, wishes he was a Beastie Boy, relates to the tribulations of Kermit, fears the invention of true artificial intelligence, and recommends the You Me Bum Bum Train experience (if you know the right people).
What is the most creative advertising idea you’ve seen in the last few months?
I love the Jeff Goldblum campaign for Currys PC World. That’s my #wishImade moment of the year. It’s pure comedy genius that cleverly integrates the brand and product.
I also love the work our New York office has done for Netflix launching the latest season of House Of Cards, essentially hijacking the presidential race, by pitching Frank Underwood against the real life candidates. Who would have thought that the real world US presidential race would ‘trump’ Frank Underwood’s fictional story?! God help us all.
What product could you not live without?
My skis. I’m Austrian, it’s in the blood. It’s the thing I look forward to the most every year. It’s how I recharge and reset. It’s just a shame that I used to be pretty good and now I’m getting a little bit shitter every year.
What product hasn’t been invented yet that would make your life/job better?
I’m worried we are about to invent ourselves out of existence. There’s a theory that if we properly invent artificial intelligence, it will be the last invention we’ll ever make. That scares the shit out of me.
What track/artist would you listen to for inspiration?
I love classical music, maybe it’s my heritage. I’m a big fan of Ludovico Einaudi and get lost in his music. I need to get lost every now and then to help find something special.
Mac or PC?
Do PCs still exist?
What’s your favourite website?
I want to say shots.net but you won’t believe me. I love Vimeo. They offer an important platform for filmmakers to showcase their work and champion storytelling and craft. I think there’s been a real return to form for music videos.
After years of very few real highlights there is so much great work coming out now. My favourites at the moment: Dom & Nic for Wide Open by The Chemical Brothers; Massive Attack Voodoo In My Blood by Ringan Ledwidge; and everything by Hiro Murai. I’m desperate to make something with him!
What website do you use most regularly?
The Guardian, hands down. I’m proud to have worked closely with them over the years, especially on the Three Little Pigs film. At their best they champion freedom of speech at a time when it’s so important.
Looking back over the last few years, it feels like quality open journalism is keeping this world in check. For me, The Guardian, The New York Times and the like do so much of the work that our politicians are incapable of or reluctant to confront.
Who’s your favourite photographer?
My favourite photographer is Dean Rogers. He shoots a lot for Shane Meadows and has a real artistic honesty to his work. I have a piece from his Death Drive series on my wall. It’s huge and printed on aluminium.
It’s so heavy I had to get the whole house reinforced to get it up on the wall (much to my partner’s disgust). It’s a shot of an empty road at night. It’s haunting but mesmerising and beautiful. It’s the piece of art I own that I love the most.
If you could live in one city, where would it be?
I love London. Growing up as a Eurotrash kid in a small town in Austria it took me a long time to think of London as home, but that’s what it is now. It’s so rich in culture and creativity, it’s a wonderful place to be.
What fictitious character do you most relate to?
Kermit the Frog. Like the best producers, Kermit just about holds the chaos together, keeps the rest of the Muppets on course and ensures the show is delivered to the audience. He pretends to be confident but is always petrified, pretends to be calm but is usually close to a breakdown, pretends to always have a plan but is clearly improvising. He’s my hero.
What’s your favourite magazine?
Little White Lies. I like that they are obsessive about independent film. I love the art direction and illustration; each edition is an insightful work of art.
Who’s your favourite designer?
Anyone reading this will laugh their ass off by the fact that I’m even answering this question. I love Folk. Is that a designer?
What’s the best film you’ve seen over the last year?
I just had a baby boy, so getting to the cinema has been tricky. That said, I just saw the new Jungle Book film and was blown away. I went in a little sceptical, as it’s a story I grew up with and love. The film is a masterpiece: the effects, the storytelling, the casting. To be honest they had me at Bill Murray as Baloo, but the little boy (Neel Sethi) they cast as Mowgli is stunning.
The other film I loved over the last year is the Irish animated film Song Of The Sea, it’s one of the most moving and beautiful films I’ve ever seen. The story made me cry. I think I’ve become a softy now I’m a dad.
What show/exhibition has most inspired you recently?
You Me Bum Bum Train. I know it sounds like some weird sex cult. It’s not. It’s an interactive theatre performance piece that my dear friend Orlando Wood [executive producer at Biscuit London] took me to earlier this year.
The show’s interactions with love and death, comedy and tragedy are an unprecedented and unforgettable experience that resembles being alone in a combination of Disneyland and Banksy’s Dismaland.
Tickets are hard to get (Orlando knows people), but everyone needs to experience it (apart from Noam Murro, who almost attacked one of the cast).
If you could have been in any band, what band would you choose?
Easy; Beastie Boys. I love everything they and their music represents and that they never took themselves too seriously. They are my heroes (after Kermit, of course).
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