Sophomore film student Nikko Gary integrates his own song mixes and visuals into music videos as a way for listeners to get lost in their own thoughts.
He created an experimental short film “Club Milk,” with a mix of hip-hop-inspired beats and psychedelic graphic visuals as a creation of “music therapy” to experiment with the listener’s mind and release one’s thoughts through personal interpretation.
Gary used “Club Milk” for an assignment in a video production class last semester and translated his music mixes and visuals into experimental filmmaking, a type of cinema he described as using abstract techniques to produce the filmmaker’s vision by receiving the audience’s reactions and personal interpretations – a common concept practiced amongst film majors.
“It’s about creating a certain amount of visuals, and depending on how you react to them when watching and listening is how you get lost in it,” Gary said.
“Club Milk” was featured in the TU Arts Fest held at Tyler School of Art March 22-27 and was shown as a week-long projection on a big screen, looped with another music video he made, “KNGHT PSYLENCE BUMP.”
Gary said his idea was created as a fictional TV program inspired by Adult Swim on Cartoon Network.
“Adult Swim had these 30 second blocks of music playing with images and I found that very interesting and thought, ‘What if I created my own fake program?’” Gary said.
“I wanted to make a big mix of music that people could just get lost to, get lost in their own thoughts, go to someplace and call it therapy,” he added.
The disclaimer of the video reads, “For the best experience, please insert headphones and watch in a dark environment.”
Gary said the music is heard best with headphones to enhance the bass and sound quality, and “catch everything you want to hear” while watching the visuals.
The video’s introduction music is a mellow hip-hop beat he sampled, slowed down and dubbed with a voiceover that translates the opening narration into Japanese dialogue.
Gary said he got the idea from hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest, and its album “Midnight Marauders,” where the group also created a fictional program and fake narrator.
He combined those ideas with his fascination and interest in Japanese culture to come up with the video’s introduction narration describing how its purpose serves as a visual aid to the listeners.
“I’ve always been a fan of random anime shows that have serious music direction and I’m really interested in Japan,” Gary said. “I actually applied to study abroad in Tokyo next spring semester.”
“I guess I just always want to take things that have been big influences in my life and incorporate them in the video somehow,” he added.
Gary reached out to producers to use their music beats for his mixes in “Club Milk” and collaborated with Marc Jacobs, a senior marketing major who makes beats as a hobby and DJs at local bars and house parties for fun.
Jacobs started making his own beats in high school and got into the DJ scene when he came to Temple in 2011. His collaboration with Gary also became a new idea for him to view music as a type of therapy.
“Music in general has a way to portray feeling you can’t speak and can only do by listening to, and the music I make kind of gives off thoughts and feelings that I just can’t really put into words,” Jacobs said. “It’s a stress reliever.”
Jacobs said his beats and mixes are inspired mostly by hip-hop, classic rock, electronic, house and a lot of underground music rather than mainstream.
“The hip-hop group, The Cool Kids, was a huge influence that really got me into it because they had crazy, weird types of beats,” Jacobs said. “I don’t really like mainstream rap too much like the stuff you hear on the radio.”
“I just try to craft my own sound,” he added.
Jacobs has created a good amount of beats and mixes over the past few years. He uses programs and music samples to create drum tracks as the basis of his beats, then adds different sounds with keyboards, beat pads, turntables and more.
“People shouldn’t be afraid to try new things with music out here,” Jacobs said. “It’s good to come up with your own style or flavor by making a whole new sound or genre even.”
Jacobs said his collaboration with Gary for “Club Milk” and the music therapy concept was like creating a whole new style of music.
“I remember when Nikko and I were making it, he said to me, ‘Dang, I’ve never even heard anything like this, I think we just made like a new genre of music,’” Jacobs said. “I’ll remember that.”
Alexa Zizzi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.