LURK is a self-described "lowbrow artist and lover of the weird." He's originally from England, but is now based out of Canada and simply told me, he did art as a kid and now, does art as an adult. "A little while ago, I did a portrait for the @homeboysandman; if you haven't heard his music and love Hip-Hop, go give him a Follow. @schlonglord offered to animate a quick clip using the portrait! Kris and I are now Skype friends. It's getting kinda serious," @thelurk1 half-jokingly gushed on Instagram roughly 24 weeks ago. 2-D animator, visual effects artist, music video director, and musician Kris Baldwin (@schlonglord) had reached out in an effort to animate LURK's recent zombie-esque The Boy Sand portrait for a short animation to accompany Sandman's Jonwayne-produced "America, The Beautiful" from HALLWAYS (2014.) Not only did Instagram play an integral part in initially connecting LURK and Kris Baldwin with each other, as well as Homeboy Sandman and Robert "Photo Rob" Adam Mayer, it also played a major role in connecting myself with both LURK and Baldwin; once I watched Sandman's "Bamboo," I almost instantly decided to message LURK on Instagram over Easter Weekend.
Upon completing his half of the interview, LURK (Russ) instructed I reach out directly to Schlonglord in an attempt to obtain some Hi-res "Bamboo" video stills to use within the body of my write-up. I then, proceeded to message @schlonglord on his Instagram page and after speaking a bit, we collectively decided it might be best of Baldwin to answer his own batch of questions, as well to accompany LURK's answers and together, make a more fully-formed comprehensive interview. It wasn't until after I had interviewed Kris Baldwin concerning his duties writing, directing, editing, and animating Sandman's "Bamboo" that I realized he's also spent many years actively recording and touring as a musician. Kris Baldwin played with rumored United Nations frontman Daryl Palumbo and long-time guitarist Justin Beck as part of Post-Hardcore band Glassjaw from 1993-98. Baldwin has played with Long Island Ska-Punk band Edna's Golfsish, played with Victory Records-signed Indie Rock band Action Action, acted as a session musician and co-writer for Epic Records' Kid-Punk band Graystar (which ended up scoring him a Jimmy Neutron song-writing credit,) and is currently working on what he calls an Indie/Ambient/Dance-inspired "Outer-space music" solo project.
I. How did you initially come to meet Homeboy Sandman? I would assume you're a fan first and you did a silhouette for him, correct?
LURK: He actually found me through a mutual friend of ours, Her name's @marthalicia on [Instagram.] She did a portrait of me that Sand liked, he contacted me after that!
II. Who exactly contacted you to work on Homeboy Sandman's latest video for "Bamboo" from VEINS? Now, in addition to yourself, who else did you get to collaborate with during its creation?
LURK: So, I contacted Schlonglord, or he contacted me maybe, about animating the floating head—it went from there. Sand was so stoked on the animation that he decided we should do a music video together. He hooked up the [photographer] for the shoot, Mr. Photo Rob NYC! Schlonglord came up with some storyboard ideas and we all went from there.
III. How did you go about picking which images fit best or what to design to accompany Schlonglord's various "Bamboo" scenes?
LURK: Pure luck, Schlonglord had some cool ideas. He was the experienced animator and knew what would work best.
IV. Were you contacted to simply design artwork to be overlaid atop director and animator Schlonglord's previously filmed "Bamboo" footage, much like the majority of RUFFMERCY's work?
LURK: Yes, but it was all very planned out. Each shot worked perfect for the storyboard.
V. What else are you currently working on that both fans of my site and your work can expect to look out for before too long?
LURK: I have a very cool project coming out late spring 2018 with Chris [Collins] D.O.G.T. I have lots of smaller projects: socks, shirt designs. I'll be showing work at a Lowbrow convention in Portland in August. I'm also producing a LURK wedding this summer!
VI. How did you initially come to get involved with Homeboy Sandman's latest VEINS video-single, "Bamboo?" Were you directly discovered and contacted by Sandman and his camp?
Kris Baldwin: LURK and I have been friends on Instagram for a few years now and last September, he created this amazing alien-like portrait of Homeboy Sandman that I absolutely fell in love with. Something about it just called to me and just for fun, I asked LURK for permission to animate that very portrait. I worked on it for a few days and I created this. Well, Sandman actually saw it and DM'ed that very day and asked if I wanted to work with him. I couldn't believe how something I just did for poops and giggles turned into one of the coolest projects I have ever worked on!
VII. How did you go about recruiting your fellow "Bamboo" collaborators, artist LURK and cinematographer Robert "Photo Rob" Adam Mayer? Were all three of you ever on set together or did you collaborate electronically?
Baldwin: Check out the answer to question one for the LURK backstory! "Photo Rob" had worked with Sandman before on his "VerbalSoulClapmania"chris music video. I loved the clean look and crispness of that video and was beyond stoked to have him on board the "Bamboo" train. LURK is up in Canada, I'm in Southern California between San Diego and LA all the time, and "Photo Rob" and Sandman are in New York. So, we all haven't all officially met in person. So, mainly emails and I would Skype with LURK and talk to Rob on the phone.
VIII. Where did your inspiration behind "Bamboo"'s sick, twisted, and whimsically deranged concept stem from? How exactly do the assorted "AND SO IT GOES," "WHAT DO THEY KNOW?" "I'VE BEEN WAITING FOR YOU," etc. title cards play into said underlying concept?
Baldwin: The only thing we knew in the beginning was that we wanted to somehow bring Sandman into LURK's demented world. I'm a huge ginormous Sci-Fi fan, so I suggested that maybe Sandman should be a space/time/multiverse-traveler and travel through some portals or wormholes and get super-weird between dimensions. Everyone was down with that concept and we went from there. The phrase "so it goes" foreshadows Sandman's death at the end of the video. It is a frequent saying in Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, which represents death, as well as a detachment from death for beings who live in the fourth dimension. In the fourth dimension all moments, past, present, and future always have existed, always will exist. So, death is just an illusion. The "I've been waiting for you" title card is to just emphasize the exact moment of the death of 3-D Sandman and the re-birth of 4-D Sandman.
IX. I know you previously mentioned you "wore many hats on this one;" what exactly were these various "hats" and would you care to briefly describe each?
Baldwin: So, I wrote, directed, edited, and animated the "Bamboo" video. I came up with the concept of space/time-traveling Sandman. I created the story, drew storyboards, and edited together all the amazing footage that [Photo] Rob captured in NY. Then, I got to work with LURK and gave him a basic idea of what was going on in the shot action wise and he would send me these absolutely amazing creatures. Then, we would both pow-wow and work together to figure out how to best bring these monsters alive and then, I would animate and composite them in After Effects.
X. What else are you currently working on that both fans of my site and fans of your work can expect to look out for before too long?
Baldwin: I'm talking right now with one of my favorite bands, Small Black about doing an animated music video. I am also a musician and I just started pre-production on a music video for one of my own songs. That project has yet to be [named,] but I like to call it "Outer-space music;" Ambient/Indie stuff with Dance beats. I am also beta-testing some animations for an Augmented Reality App for smartphones, which looks super-promising. And as always, I'll be hanging with my cats Milo and Princess xZoey animating big fat schlongs!