Gimme Your Answers (Beyond the Stage): An Interview w/ The Perez Brothers

PerezEver wonder what happens beyond the stage? Well we do. These roadies, managers, guitar techs, lighting directors, A&R, and even positions you may not have known about make the music you love come alive! We had the opportunity of speaking with video making geniuses The Perez Brothers, to see what creative tricks they reel-y pull behind the scenes of our favourite bands!

AMBY: How did you first get into your industry?

PB: Well, we were sun bathing at a pool in North Hollywood when Steven Spielberg arrived and the rest is history. But seriously, over the past several years we’ve worked tirelessly on other people’s shoots (we still do, mostly in the lighting department), meeting people, sharpening our filmmaking skills, and meeting like-minded artists. It really helps to have a film production skill beyond posing a “general Hollywood hit-maker.” We love music videos because they offer a fun, short format, which allows us to collaborate with our favorite musicians.

AMBY: Explain to people what you do.

PB: We make music videos, which means that we’re very artsy and very poor.

AMBY: Which bands are you currently working with and which have previously worked with?

PB: We’ve been lucky enough to work with a bunch of talented indie rock bands (although I’m sure they would loathe to be labeled as such) in and around San Francisco. A few of the bands include: The French Cassettes, Kapowski, Ash Reiter, Tremor Low, Mister Loveless, My Second Surprise and Foxtails Brigade.

Um, in terms of bands we’re currently work with, if I told you, I’d have to kill you. I kid, I kid. We’re currently in pre-production for another music video with Mister Loveless and are in the pitching stages for several other groups. Thanks to the power of the Internet, we recently been asked to pitch for a couple international bands, fingers crossed.

AMBY: You have a very cool, unique style with the way you shoot your music videos. Who inspires your work?

PB: Aesthetically speaking (and as generically hipster as this may sound), Wes Anderson and his cinematographer Bob Yeoman influence the look of our films a lot. We really like his muted color palettes, balanced compositions, and his use of the overhead insert shot.

However, in terms of narrative inspiration, we’re all over the place. Devon really enjoys Tim Burton, we’re both huge fans of the writer/director Charlie Kaufman, we also just saw a film called Holy Motors (2012) that really blew our mind. I guess you could say that we’re generally drawn to the strange and surreal.

AMBY: What is the craziest work related thing to happen to you?

PB: A couple years ago were working as grips (guys who lug around heavy equipment and complain about lunch) on a feature film called, About Cherry (2012) staring Heather Graham and James Franco. We didn’t know it until we got on set, but the narrative of the film is centered on the “adult” film industry in San Francisco.

Appropriately enough, the shoot took place at real life adult film production studio, Kink.com. As you can imagine, there were many funny stories from that day, but the craziest thing happened when the equipment truck pulled into the loading dock and interrupted a live web feed featuring: two girls, a bottle of white wine, and a leather paddle. Needless to say the proverbial shit hit the fan when the thuggish porn director started yelling at us, but looking back on it, it was a pretty funny scene.

AMBY: What are some of your favourite moments while being on set?

PB: Um, for me it was filming Devon attempting to drink iced-tea while he was dressed as a robot butler in our video for Kapowski, “Section 8.” Since he was wearing a plastic mask on top of a morphsuit there was no way he could really see the glass, let alone drink the tea. We had to do the shot about twelve times before we got it right and by the twelfth take his shoes were flooded with tea. Once the camera stopped rolling he immediately left the set and changed his underwear, which was also tea-drenched. Probably not one of his favorite moments, but it’s one of mine.

AMBY: What do you do for fun outside of work?

PB: Movies, movies, and more movies. We watch movies (and music videos) as much as possible these days and justify it as “research.” It makes us feel more productive.

AMBY: What is the best and worst thing about your gig?

PB: The best thing is definitely the groupies, they’re invisible, but their love and support is always appreciated. The toughest thing about making music videos is probably the budgetary constraints. We have so many ideas (most of them involving lavish costumes, unnecessary violence, and tubs of butter), but it can be challenging to be as creative as possible with bands that might not have enormous label support.

AMBY: Which three albums changed your life?

PB: 1. The Strokes, This is It (Hart)

2. Third Eye Blind, Blue (Devon)

3. Now That’s What I Call Music, Vol. 27

AMBY: And lastly, what’s something about you that nobody knows yet?

PB: I named my latest hard drive “Dirk Diggler” after Mark Wahlberg’s character in Boogie Nights (1997).

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Check out this amazing video reel comprised of many works by The Perez Brothers! And of course, thank you Perez Bros, for giving us your answers!

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Alicia & Yaz Atout

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