RUFFMERCY has The Avalanches, Jamie XX, Company Flow and Keifer on his Playlist.
My Accomplice's RUFFMERCY aka Russ Murphy is an animation director based in Bristol. After cutting his teeth at MTV in the late 90’s as a producer he moved onto become a freelancer animator working for a variety of broadcasting networks and agencies before moving into the world of music videos full time
He has become known for his loose hand drawn animation style sometimes utilised over live footage and mostly within the genre of Hip Hop music.
To date he has worked with the likes of L'One [below], Young Thug, Freddie Gibbs & A$AP Ferg [bottom], Lily Allen, Run The Jewels and MNEK.
What’s the best promo you’ve seen recently and why?
I have 3. I really loved The Avalanches Because I’m Me. The whole thing made me smile, cracking feel good track, the kid is just ace and I’m a big camp lo fan from way back. Jamie XX’s Gosh by Romain Gavras had me hitting repeat and searching out the making of video. The scale of the project fascinated me also. I also really enjoyed the new Michael Kiwanuka Cold Little Heart video. Why? Because it fits the song so well and also it’s by my friend David M. Helman and it makes me smile to see his growth as a director.
What’s the first promo you remember being impressed by?
Company Flow’s End To End Burner. The song is awesome, dirty, raw complex NY rap and the video encompassed that with grimy subway shots with some killer 3D graff moving at speed through the subway tunnels. At the time I hadn't seen anything where graff had been turned into 3D and moving without being cheesy and off. The video I think was by Psyop.
And what’s your all-time favourite music video?
Shynola’s video for Lambchop’s Is a woman. The truth is that I find it hard to pick one video. I don't know how anyone can have just one as so many leave strong impression. This one by Shynola is one that stands out to me though. Shynola on the whole have been a big inspiration for me. Everytime they released a video I was both instantly blow away by their creativeness and also madly jealous.
This video for Lambchop was one of their collaborative videos with the artist Fiona Hewitt. It's a simple idea so beautifully executed with a lovely positive ending, nothing cynical about this at all. I think one of the hardest things as a film maker is to make something that is genuinely beautiful, it's easy to be cynical and to shock really.
What other directors/artists do you look to for inspirational?
Khalil Joseph, Hiro Murai, Para, Shynola, David Helman, Parallel Teeth, Jeremy Cole, Chloe Hayward, Jason Jagel, Van Minnen, Paul Insect, Martin O'Neill, Alex Williamson, Winston Hacking, Theo Jamison, Neil Krug
Raleigh Ritchie: Bloodsport '15 (dir. Shynola)
What are you listening to at the moment?
Keifer Kickinit Alon’, Bastion Keb 22.02.85, Killer Bee Otaku, Jonwayne Rap Album 2 & Lojii & Swarvy due rent , Bambooman, Paul White, War on Drugs, Bruce's Nebraska, Frank Ocean, Washed Out, Alex Ebert, Edward Sharpe, Lee Fields, Will Sessions
What’s your favourite bit of tech, whether for professional or personal use?
Wacom pen [pictured, below]- It was about 12 years into my career I started using a Wacom Pen. Whenever I tried to use one I always hated it. Then one day I was asked to draw over a video Blu x Flying Lotus Doin Nothin and for some reason after about 4hrs of frustration it clicked and opened a whole new way of working for me that became more fluid, loose and overall fun. I'm a doodler. I can never make lists on paper because I doodle all over them until they are unreadable. When I finally got to grips with the Wacom tablet and pen it just made a lot of sense.
What artist(s) would you most like to work with and why?
I think I would make something pretty special for MF Doom. I have been lucky to work on videos for a lot of artists that whose music I love and respect as people Dilla, Madlib, DJ Shadow, NAS, Run The Jewels... There's something about MF Doom though that has me thinking creatively it would bring out the best in me. MF Doom with Mos Def that would be perfect.
How do you feel the promo industry has changed since you started in it?
It got better. I'm joking of course, worse probably in reality! I actually don't feel I can comment on this question to be honest. I watch a few videos here and there from the artists whose music I listen too but I’m not that up on what's what and what's happening. Obviously I feel a little ignorant saying this but I’m being honest.
Music videos have had a resurgence of late; where do you see the industry being in five years’ time?
Have they? I feel like there has always been amazing music videos happening. A ton of creative people making them and whether the budgets are big or small directors and production companies see to be adapting to whatever the climate.
Like I mentioned above, I don't follow the scene too much so what you say is most likely true. I do get a feeling that there's more and more people that will and can make stuff for little to no money and that makes it harder for the older more established generation in the industry to make a sustainable living from it.
Young Thug, Freddie Gibbs & A$AP Ferg: Old English (dir. RUFFMERCY)
Tell us one thing about yourself that most people won’t know…
I'd always rather be surfing.