Audley has returned with an artistic new visual for his song, “This That,” a track from his latest LP, ROY. Produced by GrandAce, the four-minute track finds Audley flexing his lyrical prowess while riding a jingling beat. The new “This That” video, creatively directed by Death To Brand Guidelines, matches the single’s off-kilter energy.
Audley raps to the camera while artistic drawings representing his lyrics are set on fire. All the while, the video’s focal point is constantly changing, as the Cincinnati-bred MC’s face appears in different boxes that pop up in rotating corners of the screen. “Minimalism is dead!” Audley declares with the captivating clip, which features illustrations by artist JJ Baker.
The visual also ends with a cliffhanger: “New music on the way.” Watch “This That” below, and read on for a Q&A between Audley, JJ Baker, and Audiofemme.
AF: Congrats on the release of your “This That” video! The concept for the clip is really cool, where did the idea come from?
JJB: Thank you! The ideas basically came from Johnny (Audley) and from the lyrics. He put together a PowerPoint with pictures and images based off of the lyrics and I used those as the starting point for my drawings. Some drawings were straight up what Johnny’s idea was, but a lot of the drawings I added my own ideas and inspiration too.
A: Thank you so much! It’s been a 19-month process, so we are thrilled this babe is out to the digiverse. Once the song was recorded, I knew I wanted to work with JJ to bring the lyrics’ random imagery to life. Initially, we were strictly focused on producing a sketch for each stanza and as that process developed, we organically took note of what visuals we could collage together to make a compelling, stimulating piece.
AF: The artwork is unique in that it’s reflective of the song lyrics, but also tells a story on its own.
JJB: Thank you, I appreciate that. I like the idea that the art tells its own story. I wanted the art to simultaneously reflect the images of the lyrics while also expanding the meaning of the song. A lot of the drawings are references (Dimmsdale Dimmedome) or mention other artists ([Devin Burgess’] “Bounce Back,” Goulet), so it was fun to draw these people. It was also a blast to incorporate text into the drawings. Audley and I are both drawn to fonts and typography, so it was fun to combine image and text for a delightful, visual cornucopia.
AF: I especially love the different media boxes drawing your eye to all parts of the screen. What made you want to format the clip this way?
JJ: All the FaceTimes that me and Johnny had! Picture-in-a-picture is a ubiquitous aspect of our lives and I find it a fascinating visual trope. I’ll be browsing on my laptop with 37 open tabs, a different window streaming a documentary, Spotify playing music, and Photoshop. It’s wild. It’s part of our lives these days. There’s so much going on. We wanted to use this maximal approach, but still harness it together to create an impactful and compelling video. We also had so many different ideas and videos that we made in the process, so using picture-in-a-picture allowed us to combine basically everything we created into the final product.
A: Minimalism is dead! We are in a loud and bright era of expression. Artists are weaving twelve textures onto a canvas and sending it to their friends to add 3-D shapes and text and then they are sending it to a virtual photographer to take pictures of it “in the woods.” The dial has been turned and that inspired JJ and I to do the same thing, but from our perspective.
AF: Audley, the last time we spoke you mentioned some of your ideas for new ways to format visuals and marketing; can fans expect more creative videos like this coming their way?
A: I will always attempt to push the envelope when it comes to creativity. What that means and where it lives is a friendly mystery that I am semi-solving one project at a time. I truly believe that the work should speak for itself, and the marketing should be rooted in amplifying the ideas presented. Bells and whistles are an afterthought for me at this point. We still like bells and whistles, but not as a driver of the experience.
AF: The video ends with a cliffhanger promising more music. Audley, what are you working on right now?
A: I’m working on a few audio projects with some very lovely superhuman creatives. All very different, but they all feel honest. Outside of tunes, I just moved to Chicago and am delicately absorbing what it has to offer. I intend to interact with the community and hope to assist in its growth. A big line item for me over the next two years is to cultivate a space for creatives to connect. I want bands in the corner, visual artists projected on the walls, vendors in a circle facing the projections. Death To Brand Guidelines!
AF: Is the city skyline in the clip from Chicago or Cincinnati?
JJ: Funny enough, it’s Houston! That’s where I live these days even though I’m a Cincy boy. My studio has a pretty dope view of the Houston skyline, so we were able to include that shoot when filming.