ExP - The Brain
Role:
All 3d work, Animation
Software:
Cinema4d, After Effects
ExP was one of my most listened to artists of 2020 on Spotify, after a chance encounter on twitter, we developed a relationship that led to working on this video. ExP needed a video and I needed a project that would allow me to develop my creativity and spread my wings, both technologically and creatively.
The lyrics of the track are all about the human brain, thoughts and where ideas come from. I wanted to take this and use it as the concept for the video. I sketched out a very rough storyboard as I listened to it for the first time. Drawing out as closely as possible what I could see in my imagination as the song played.
I developed a colour palette and a look that would both reference hip-hop culture through the graffiti elements and bold colours, but also not be tied down to expectations of what a hip-hop video should be. This style developed from a rough sketchy feel, that represented the looseness of thoughts, but was enhanced with the idea of show flyers or "paste ups" on walls, combined with graffiti as you see all around the UK.
ExP showed a great amount of trust, and I continued to develop the video after sending a few style frames, which received positive feedback.
"Bro that is looking f***ing incredible" - ExP
From this point on the project was a joy to work on, and my main motivation was trying to come up with shots that would get ExP hyped for the video. The focus was on trying to make shots that matched the tone of the music, and to highlight the meaning of the lyrics.
I am really proud that I managed to get this video done on evenings and weekends, it was a love for the music and UK hip-hop in general that made this an absolute joy.
This alien shot was the subject of much debate. In the lyrics ExP says "Billions of neurons connected by synapses, communicating via Axons which are protoplasmic .... I have no idea what that means". The alien is meant to represent an Axon which is protoplasmic. I was aware that the viewer might not get this idea right away or rather why I'm showing an alien at all, but in the theme of making the video a direct translation of my thoughts, it felt right to keep it in, and hopefully adds something that people might get from a second viewing.
I would strongly recommend listening to more of ExP's music via his website. As well as the excellent Hip-hop saved my life podcast by Romesh Ranganathan featuring ExP himself.
Website - ExP.ukPodcast - Hip Hop Saved My Life with Romesh Ranganathan #65: Ben Goodwin aka ExP