Friday, 15 May 2015

The Rest


Photo by Sirius Film
So here it is; my first interview of the year, and I couldn't think of anyone else to kick things off with. I spent the day with Alex and Lewis, two filmmakers who go by the name 'The Rest'. We had a great day chilling and finding out about each other. In this interview we talked about how they started out, what projects they've been working on and their goals for the future. Enjoy!

Who are you?

Alex: Alex Motlhabane, Lewis Levi and were The Rest, a filmmaking duo from Northampton.

How long have you guys been doing film?

Lewis: Ive been filming for just over three years now. Two years at uni, one year freelance.

Alex: Ive been filming for around four years now. I had a music video module at college, it was the only part of the course I was good at and enjoyed, so when I had to go to uni, I wanted to do more of that and took a film production course.

How would you define The Rest? What does it symbolise?

Alex: We dont try to apply to any genres and dont feel a part of the mainstream culture when it comes to being filmmakers/videographers. Its about making work thats a representation of you and if other people like it then great.

Do you think coming from Northampton limits you as far as creativity and reaching out to other creatives?

Alex: Yes and no. In terms of access, London is second to none because when were in London, we have access to cameras, to studios etc. But not being from London works to our advantage in my opinion. Not like a major difference but it gives us more of a universal way of looking at things.

I love London, but I think sometimes people forget that there
s life outside of the city. We all pay attention to whats happening here because its the capital and we visit often but I wouldnt be surprised if people from the city dont venture out.

Do you feel like the people you grew up around have an understanding of what you do?

Lewis: From the age of around thirteen, I was hanging around with Alex and weve always shared similar interests/thoughts when it comes to anything Art based. But all the people I grew up with, I no longer talk to. I guess I just grew up and grew apart from a lot of people. So as far as anyone else having an understanding of what we do, I dont really know.

Alex: The people that are around do understand and thats what matters. Its difficult and its hard to justify to your parents and family because money wise its not great right now. But theyre very supportive and always impressed.

How did you first get connected with Kojey Radical?

Alex: We first met Kojey shortly after his Chapter 2 show. Craig MPH (co-founder of PUSHCRAYONS) checked out our work, passed it on to Kojey and they must have liked it.

How did the response to The Garden Party make you feel?

Photo by Ray Fiasco
Lewis: The response was sick, right now its just over 25,000 views. But, we dont really care about views because to us, its more about who sees it, not how many people see it. Id rather people watch it (whatever it may be) and connect with it negatively or positively rather than to just watch it because its got a little hype around it.

How was filming Bambu different from filming The Garden Party?

Alex: Visually, Bambu is more the style we want to do at the moment compared to The Garden Party where at the time we wanted to make dark, social realism films. But we knew what The Garden Party needed and we knew we could deliver cause weve done similar in the past. But Bambu is the opposite. Technically, Bambu is sick and everything came very natural.

Can you tell us the story behind Bambu?

Photo by Ray Fiasco
Alex: If you want to teach somebody something, youre supposed to give them a little bit of new information with a little bit of what they know so that its easier for them to digest. And thats what Kojey does with the track, and thats what I believe the video does. 

What was it like having your work published via The FADER?

Alex: The FADER is great, we appreciate it because it gave us a great place to jump start from. But being virtually nobodies, it can be a nightmare getting on those platforms. We kind of appreciate it and dont appreciate it at the same time.

Lewis: I just dont like the idea of relying on those platforms. They scramble to post the latest Kendrick Lamar or Drake video etc, but theyll have new talent on hold for weeks before they set a release date. Its all long. Either way, I appreciate all the love the Bambus received so far.

What is your proudest piece of work to date?

Alex: It has to be Bambu now because its a quality shift for us. But The Boy With The Thorn In His Side rivals Bambu because I feel like we just knocked a short film out and it came out sick.

Lewis: Bambu, easy.

Whats the ultimate goal for you guys in the end?

Lewis: The ultimate goal for me is to be making feature films. I also want to be one of the people that change the way in which we create and view music videos. Weve got the ideas, but a lot of musicians are scared to break the basic conventions that music videos follow currently, which is understandable because its safe, but its getting boring.

Alex: Feature films, for real. But Id also love to have a production company where we also housed other directors. I want to be an Andy Warhol type figure and have an input in all things once I get to an influential place. What seems more important right now though is that I feel like we need an online media company that will treat our work properly, you know. Somewhere that cares about celebrating great work and not just chasing the hits. There are some out there but not the leading ones. Its difficult.

What creatives are you supporting in London right now?

Lewis: So many people are doing stuff I support. But right now, Im going to say Jasper Sommer because Ive heard whats to come and its [flame emoji]. 808INK / Black.Anubi$ are keeping things interesting, those guys are crazy talented. Lastly, Kojey Radical. I think hes either hit or miss with a lot of people, but his unreleased material is powerful/ground-breaking. Genius level.

Alex: A lot of people. I agree with Lewis on all those people and honestly we could sit here and drop names all day but its long. But beyond just music, London is really strong because of this. But as soon as people pop off, they go and set up shop in US. Fuck that, let them come here. We can still make money in America without selling America.


Photo by Sirius Film

[Watch Bambu here if you haven't]

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