Video Chats: Spaghetto on Sauna by Casey Veggies
Posted by Doug Klinger on December 27, 2012 in Interviews
Hip-hop videos have come a long way since the days when all you got was cars, money, and butts. But, is hip-hop ready for two old white dudes eating popcorn in a sauna? That question is answered by director Spaghetto in her video for "Sauna" by Casey Veggies. We talked to Spaghetto about rolling blunts, popcorn, and making hip-hop uncomfortable.
Doug: How did you get involved in the project?
Spaghetto: "Sauna is on the Fool's Gold compilation Loosies. The label got in touch with me a few months ago when A-Trak called me to direct the video for his song Piss Test ft Juicy J and Danny Brown. Unfortunately, the video didn't happen because of a scheduling conflict between the three of them but when a few months later the label was in LA for the Fool's Gold party, they hit me up for Caseys video. I worked with Casey Veggies before cause I directed a commercial/ skateboarding video for the collaboration that Peas & Carrots International did with Maliceous Skates, and Casey skates in the video and also provides the soundtrack. I like Casey Veggies' music a lot, I like the label, and they were trying to work with me so I'm happy we finally did it. "Sauna" is the first official music video we did together, but I think we're going to do more work together.
Doug: How collaborative were things between you and Casey when it came to coming up with the idea for the video?
Spaghetto: Everyone was really open. The label was really open. They sent me the song, and it's really good. Chuck Inglish produced it, so the beat is amazing. I like the lyrics, and I knew I really wanted to do the video, but since the song is called "Sauna," I really wanted the video to take place in a sauna. I wasn't sure how they would react to that, because it potentially could look really gay. Then, Anwar, Casey's manager, sent me some ideas and I was so happy when I read it because it said, "I envision him in a sauna with some old men doing their own thing. Maybe some chains or something." And I thought, "Yes! This is perfect." I don't take things too seriously, I like to make videos that are ironic. When it comes to hip-hop videos, it isn't my thing to put a rapper in front of a car rapping with a bunch of girls, it's not really my style at all. I want to make something new that looks more ironic and weird. I want to show different sides of a rapper's personality, outside of showing that they have money, or girls, or that they smoke a bunch of weed. That part can be fun, but I think we've seen it so many times already, in so many different videos, that I was really happy when they sent me this idea. It was really what I had in mind as well.
Doug: It's great to read hip-hop blogs and rap blogs react to the old men in the sauna. Where you intentionally trying to make the hip-hop community uncomfortable?
Spaghetto: I honestly didn't think anyone would get uncomfortable. I haven't read many comments because I've been filming a lot of other stuff since I dropped it. But I think people like it a lot. I think "weird" is a compliment. Like, if someone comments and says, "Oh, that was weird," I like that. It's a compliment compared to, "Oh, that looks like 100 other music videos that I've seen." I love doing music videos when the artist is willing to do something different. Artists have a vision about the things they want to do artistically, but its nice when they trust the director's creativity and style and let you free to incorporate your own things and vision into the video. Like, "One day, I want to see an old man eating popcorn in a sauna." And music videos give you the occasion to do it. They let you combine an old man with popcorn and a beautiful girl with a blunt.
Doug: Where did you find the guys? Was it an open casting?
Spaghetto: A producer friend of mine helped me with their casting. They were really cool. I was looking for a really skinny older man and a middle-aged big guy. When they sent me the pictures, I thought they were perfect. When I saw them in person, they were exactly what I had in mind. I didn't know they had the tattoos, and that was a cool surprise. All of them ended up having tattoos.
Doug: Right, including Alysha Nett, who a lot of YouTubers are mentioning when commenting on the video. How did her casting come about?
Spaghetto: She's great, she's super nice. I met her at SXSW, I was there filming and she was there as well. We met there and kept in contact. When she moved to LA, we talked about doing something together. It's weird because I always have different projects, and I hit her up a week or two before we filmed Sauna and I said, "I really want to do something with you, how much is your rate?" Then when I started the treatment for Sauna, I thought she had the right look for what I was going for. I was looking for a really fresh beauty. Not vulgar, someone who was clean and beautiful. She has these really cool tattoos, especially the one on her back. She also smokes weed. I really wanted to have the girl in the video rolling a blunt and smoke a blunt in the sauna. She smokes a lot of blunts, so I knew she'd be perfect.
Doug: What about the authenticity of the sauna, did you guys have to turn it off or something to shoot the video? I don't really know how they work.
Spaghetto: I thought the same thing. I thought if we filmed in a spa or a real sauna that's used by people, there are going to be a lot of different problems. We can't film in high temperature with the cameras, so we would have had to film late at night. There were just a lot of different issues with that. Then I thought, if I find a showroom that sell saunas, I can shoot there because they're all set up but aren't hot. I found a showroom and called them and they were super nice. They just said, "Yeah, sure. Come take a look." It was amazing. They had all these saunas, different styles. Most of them were pretty small, but they were really beautiful. The light was really nice and we didn't have any problem with shooting, like having to shoot at weird hours, or with people coming in and out, no problems with the room being hot. It was perfect, it was almost like a set. We shot on a Red Epic, we put small flexible LED panels, and I had a fog machine for the steam effect. So the sauna wasn't on at all, we just sprayed water. Casey was really good, too. We had a slo-mo scene that he had to rap the song twice as fast, like 200%, and he was really good at it. My DP Justin Potter was great, too. We've worked together a lot and it's a great relationship.
Doug: I wonder if the fact that the sauna was used in a music video is a selling point for the sauna retailer.
Spaghetto: The sauna guy told me that they rent saunas to movie studios all the time (he named some famous movies and TV shows that used his saunas) but that doesn't change the number of saunas they sell. He said my clients need a sauna, they get a sauna, that's all they care about." But he was really nice with us and he was really amused by everything. He laughed a lot. He didn't come out and say, "I love that the fat guy is eating popcorn in our sauna," but I think he was entertained by everything that was going on. And about the weed, we kind of snuck it in. We didn't hide it too much while she was rolling it, but definitely when she smoked it. We basically stole those shots when he would leave to do something, or when someone was talking to him. We'd just light the blunt really quickly and get the shot.
casey veggies, sauna, spaghetto, video chats
Doug Klinger is the co-founder/content director of IMVDb and watches more music videos than anyone on earth. You can find him on twitter at @doug_klinger.
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