“On a distant planet deep within our galaxy, a last surviving pilot searches for the crashed warrior ship that destroyed his colony.”
For the white knuckle ride sci-fi short Prophication, Le Castle Vania (Dylan Eiland) formed a creative partnership with LA based animation filmmaker and composer Evan Viera, to build a visual world which would speak to the musical textures and atmosphere of his new EP. As neither of them were interested in producing a motion graphics dressed up press release, the two worked closely to build the foundations of a world which will continue to develop throughout the live shows and subsequent music videos. DN asked Viera to take us through his exhilarating 10 week journey from conception to completion.
When Dylan Eiland (Le Castle Vania) first reached out several months ago about a potential collaboration we met at his West Hollywood studio and chatted for a couple hours about art, favourite sci-fi books and films, and Chris Cunningham. We enjoyed much of the same things growing up and interestingly enough aspired to be in each other’s shoes as adults.
Dylan played me his music and it was pretty clear a creative partnership was about to take place. There isn’t a lot of EDM that speaks to me, but Dylan’s music did immediately. His new EP is so cinematic and rich of emotion, that it almost writes its own narrative. I left with his track ‘Prophication’ in hand and listened to it on a loop in the car while heading home.
Testing the limit of my car speakers and driving down the 101, the skyline of downtown in front of me slowly approaching as it protruded upward from the flat interstate and low level surrounding buildings. That’s when I started envisioning the distant crashed city in the opening shot of the film. From there I pushed that idea further, playing off many of the stories and ideas we’d discussed earlier.
After sending Dylan the treatment and style frames, we discussed having this music video occupy a unique place in the press release. Neither of us wanted it to be littered with motion graphics or become a literal advertisement for his EP. Rather, we wanted to create a world around his music and have the audience get a taste of it. Furthermore I wanted the visuals to feel like the catalyst and drive the music, not the other way around. Music videos often feel like light shows for music, instead I wanted to create a story that the music could play on top of and accompany.
When I came onboard, Dylan was already signed to Mau5trap and his EP was in motion. Therefore we agreed to a tight production schedule of 10 weeks, from start to finish. In a typical commercial studio environment this might not have been so bad, but because the budget was a modest one, I had to keep the team small and very periodic, producing most of the work myself. It was a crazy 10 weeks. We had to design on the fly and constantly play to our strengths while not sacrificing quality.
Although there were only four of us, we telecommuted from three different continents. Pablo Lizardo from Argentina, Jarred de Beer from South Africa, and Tommy Wooh who sat 10 feet from me in our downtown studio in the arts district.
All of the 3D was done in Blender, which is an incredible open source piece of software. Previously I have always worked in Maya, but have been waiting to switch to Blender. All backgrounds were painted in Photoshop, and composited in After Effects.
My last film Caldera took three years to produce. It featured a young girl with psychosis, which is a topic very close to me. In short, my father suffers from a severe case of psychosis and telling his story has been on my mind ever since I was a child. And so, making that film held a lot of emotional baggage that made it very difficult at times, whereas this project by contrast allowed me a respite. It allowed me to let go of any emotional baggage and simply create for the sake of creating. A personal goal of mine was to enjoy the process and to make something that was fun. Although these are not the films I will always make, I think from time to time I will always need to return to something light and outside myself.
Although there is nothing I can officially announce, Dylan and I have spoken at length about developing this world further. We hope to incorporate other parts of this world into both his live set and future videos.