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Make Believe

Tell me about the project.


OR—It’s an animated music video that’s about not having to search for love in outer places, but actually realizing that a lot of times it’s really close to you and also I think it’s a great message for young boys—I think a lot of boys are really pressured to be really good at sports, to be masculine, to not show your feelings, and this was really for all the boys and girls who instead of being social prefer to be in their room and play with their imagination. I think there are a lot of people in the artistic community who probably have grown up with this weird childhood and not really fitting in and this is a presentation of that—it’s okay to be socially awkward and it’s okay not to be great at sports, it’s okay not to be great at what your parents want you to be.


Do you think children are a lot more solitary now?


OR—There are those kids who are classified as weirdos or kids that don’t exactly do what their parents to do—some parents, because they were the star football player, they expect their kids to be the star football player. Or for girls they want them to be really good at dance. Or if their parents are really academic, they want their kids to be really studious. It’s also like your parents might not always love you the way you want them to love you. I think a lot of kids have grown up with their parents expecting them to be one way and then being completely the opposite.


HN—We think it’s really important for people to be able to use their imaginations to transcend their reality. Our thoughts create our beliefs—beliefs are just thoughts you keep thinking, so in Scooter’s scenario, he really believes that he can change his current reality, and that belief actually opens up a black hole for him, and for what he thinks he needs to be. The belief itself is what allows the new portal to open, this new take on his reality.

We think it’s really important for people to be able to use their imaginations to transcend their reality.


I love that, it reminds me of ‘to think a thing is to create a thing.’ I think about faith a lot, the idea of faith and believing in something, and not even necessarily in a religious sense, can be so powerful. Do you think that connects to the music as well?


HN—Certainly. I’m glad we agree. What we think creates our reality. I think a lot of people are trying to be something that they think will impress other people. In a world where everything is photoshopped and shiny we’ve been presented this perception of reality that’s not really true, and I think a lot of these people are comparing themselves to others in order to be loved or liked without realizing that everyone has their own take, who you are is so unique—no one has had your experiences, the love you’ve had growing up, or the heartbreak, the things that make you uniquely you. So instead of comparing ourselves to others in a way that we believe will make us happy, or a state we’ll be in to be happy, but the only person you should compare yourself to is a previous version of yourself. And the most unique thing you can be is you—no one can have this life you’ve had.


You definitely get that feeling from the video without it being necessarily didactic. Is it important that it’s a cartoon?


OR—When I first heard the song, I was thinking something super simple—this is how all our ideas start, I say to Harry, ‘This is going to be so simple, so easy.’ We did another video, I was like, ‘Harry, we’ll shoot it in your kitchen, it’ll be so easy,’ so it always starts from a really simple idea, so this one started from an idea of a flipbook animation, like a bunch of pictures one after the other. I think the way Harry’s songs are, they’re so simple and yet so complex, my work as a visual artist is similar, I can’t just let things go, I want them to be better and better, I want to be improving the minute until it comes out. It started with a little boy and a balloon, and then now it’s what it is.


HN—It’s so funny, we have so much fun with this. I was shooting with Odeya the other day in my kitchen, she had this amazing idea where she sad, ‘Harry, I want you to be making a sandwich, and then I want the sandwich to come to life and fall in love with a croissant.’


OR—It actually started as just making a really good sandwich, then went from there.


HN—Even on the day we were shooting, we ended up coving all the surfaces in my kitchen with fruits and vegetables, it looked like a fruit market. So as we’re shooting it the story is evolving as it happens, which I think makes the whole thing more fun.


How do you guys know each other?


OR—My boyfriend was Harry’s across-the-hall neighbor. So we had a Seinfeld situation for a while. It was me, my boyfriend Ryan Lee, our friend Josh, and I was like Elaine because I didn’t live there but I came over often. Harry was Kramer, constantly coming in with olive oil.


HN—I’m Greek, so I had the olive oil. It’s good currency.


OR—He’d come over for things like that, and we started to become really good friends. A year or two after we were all close friends, we said, hey, we should work together. It started for us as a true friendship before anything.


HN—There’s nothing more fun that making things with your best mates.


Now where are the photos from?


OR—We just went to Pasedena.


HN—You know it’s funny, we talk about overcoming fears and concepts of taste—this whole idea of shooting and stuff is kind of daunting, especially with all these photographers and this type of lens and that type of film and all that. I just jumped on eBay and got an old Canon camera, went to CVS and bought some film, and decided that we’re not going to let it scare us, just take a bunch of photos randomly and it wasn’t until eight months later that I had fourteen rolls of film here that we thought, ‘let’s take a look at what’s on these.’ I think the fact that we were just trying to have fun and not taking it so seriously, the photos came out on a different level. One of my favorite photos of Odeya ever is her eating cereal from the bowl.


I love that about film, it’s one of those things I remember—you lose a roll of film and then find it again, and then you have this surprise. It’s a surprise anyway because you forget about what you photographed, and we’ve lost touch with that, definitely.


HN—Definitely. Everything is so instant and not as valuable these days because we have thousands of photos on our phones. Something about film, you’re restricted to that moment.


OR—And there’s something about film, everybody looks better, it’s not super clear.


HN—There’s a grainy look to it.


OR—It’s so much more appealing. All these cameras are like, higher definition, higher resolution—I don’t need that, I don’t need to see every pore. Film is so romantic look, it makes everything feel nostalgic.


HN—I think I naturally gravitate towards the nostalgic across disciplines. It just reminds us of a different time, a more organic time before this current, super hectic, serotonin-blocking world we live in right now.


Do you feel like the music video and the music tap into that as well?


HN—Certainly, yeah. I used to produce dance music and that sort of stuff, but now everything is quite lo-fi, it’s very organic. I’m at a point where I’m singing my own songs rather than writing them for other people, it’s quite freeing in a way, because you don’t have to make this bubblegum, pop, shiny thing, it’s just something that we like, something that’s a bit more relaxed. The visual story we’re telling across the EP and the other projects really tie in together, and we’re really playing off each other’s tastes and direction, so it’s really fun that way as well.


Has the collaboration with Odeya affected the music as well?


HN—We’re always in and out of each other’s places, always showing each other our projects and I run ideas past them. I think it encourages a creative direction overall for all of us, even if just subtly.


You mentioned fruits and vegetables earlier—if you were a fruit or vegetable, what kid of fruit or vegetable would you be and why?


OR—Harry would be an olive because he breathes olive oil, and he’s kind of green and fun. I think he has olive oil in his veins.


HN—My family has a little farm in Greece.


OR—He always brings the best olive oil, and I’m from Israel so I know good olive oil. And I think I’d be a strawberry. I’ve been asked this question before, and I’m going to go back to my same answer


HN—You would be a strawberry. And you’re wearing a red sweater. I can totally see it. Strawberries and olives don’t really go together very well, though.


OR—Yeah, it’s kind of gross.


HN—I kind of like that, though.

Listen to Harry Nathan's EP 'Songs About Dreams About Her' here.

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