Directors Profile: LAMAR + NIK
Promo's Directors LAMAR+NIK put Oklahoma City on the map with their cardboard craft.
Oklahoma City might not sound like the next cradle music video creativity, but director duo LAMAR+NIK are turning heads with their ingenious ways with storytelling – often involving cardboard and lots of craft – which have already helped them to scoop a UK Music Video Award and work with Pixies. David Knight meets the pair on the cusp of major-label success
Jesse Lamar High and Stefan Nik Harper are young directors who are already award-winners. They have made music videos for the godfathers of modern indie rock, Pixies. They also have representation in the UK and France – and they recently made their first music video in London and their first commercial in Paris. But they also happen to work in what many would consider to be – and let’s try to be polite about this – the back of beyond.
A can-do attitude to DIY
Ironically, their work has been largely reliant on old-fashioned virtues – usually hand-crafted and, due to tiny budgets, often requiring weeks of painstaking work. Maybe it’s down to their Midwestern backgrounds, but these are can-do guys, comfortable with the idea of building things.
Then came the Lushlife job in late summer 2012. Raj Haldar, aka Lushlife, flew in from Philadelphia to appear in the video. “When he saw our work, he was like ‘what the fuck?’,” reveals Nik. “He didn’t believe we’d make every word of the track.” By the time of its delayed release – due to Hurricane Sandy disrupting its premiere on influential music blog NPR – LAMAR+NIK were completing their impressive skate film Raindrops, featuring their friend, pro-skater Clint Walker.
Bagboy was followed by their video for Pixies’ follow-up EP Indie Cindy – which has a far more complicated, almost palindrome-like narrative structure. The promo starts as a film noir-like thriller of conspiracy and murder, but running in reverse. Then, halfway through, it starts to run forward, telling the story again in the right direction, but also adding new details about the abusive relationship that leads to Cindy’s partner’s murder by an intruder.