11th Annual Short Form Music Video Nominee
Record Label: Handsome Lady Records
Home Base: London
Categories Entered: Short Form Music Video
Work Submitted: “Cog in the Machine”
Artists Featured: Will Knox
Label: Handsome Lady Records
Who are your influences? Nick Drake, Scott Matthews, Ron Sexsmith, Richard Thompson, Tracy
Chapman, Alec Gross, Jake Hill, Jim Hanft & Samantha Yonack.
Describe your nominated work. The video for “Cog in the Machine” is basically one shot of me getting a haircut, though the way it is shot and played back makes it appear as if my hair is growing. It echoes the idea of the song title – breaking a cog free from a machine, & distorting our tedious realities. I sang the song backwards at half speed while my friend Sarah Potempa cut my hair and beard with incredible timing. We only had one take to get it right, otherwise I would have had to wait another 2 years to grow my hair back! All the hair was donated to LocksofLove.org – a very worthy charity if you are considering cutting off your locks.
Did you use any unusual effects or instruments in this recording? The video was shot while I sang the song backwards and at half speed, so we simply reversed it and sped it up to achieve our effect. There’s no trickery otherwise.
Were there any happy accidents while in the studio, or did everything go as planned? I think it went as well as it could have for one take! Though if you look closely half way through I get slightly concerned that Sarah wasn’t going to cut my beard in time – you can just see my lips saying ‘THE BEARD!’ backwards.
How did you raise the funds for this project? How long do you expect it will take to recoup your out-of-pocket recording expenses? I think it cost $100 to rent the salon chair, and $50 in sandwiches – we’ve just about recouped the expenses.
Why did you choose to submit this work to The 11th IMAs? We’d had a really positive response to the video & I thought it would be great if everyone who worked on it could get some recognition for their hard work – nobody got paid, just friends collaborating, so a huge thank you to: Anderson Zaca, Sarah Potempa, Miles Davis, Cynthia Bettis, Nicole Marie Polec & Stephen Francis (not to mention the band and team behind the song – Timur Yusef, Clayton Mathews, Chris Anderson, Kyle James Hauser, Fab, Meredith McCandless and the Flux Studios crew).
What’s your definition of success and how will you know when you’ve achieved it? That’s tricky – my goals are always changing, therefore so does the definition of success. If you can celebrate little victories on the way I think it can help you achieve larger goals – & I think you know when you’ve achieved those larger goals.
How will you leverage your IMA honors to achieve your career goals? It’s great to have recognition for something you’re proud of & sharing that recognition is always helpful when you’re trying to achieve credibility. Sometimes people take you more seriously when they see others believe in what you’re doing too.
Who’s sitting in your audience and what makes your fans unique? Most of the time it’s a room of music lovers in the Lower East Side of New York City. We’re very lucky to play regularly at Rockwood Music Hall where people will come to see music, whether they know who’s playing or not – they’re a listening crowd and open to all sorts. That’s rare.
What is your guilty pleasure on the road? Any close calls or mishaps while on tour? It’s rare I’ll get through a long stretch on the road without beef-jerky and a coffee. I nearly got stuck driving in a blizzard on a Washington state mountain with my friend Jon Solo on at 3am. It was our last day of touring and we were desperately trying to make an early plane flight the next day. We had plenty of jerky and coffee on board though so I wasn’t too worried.
Who are your musical heroes & influences? Nick Drake just moves me every time I listen to his records. I also started a small record label with my friends Alec Gross & Jake Hill called ‘Handsome Lady Records’ – we get a lot of friends and writers coming in who aren’t necessarily getting the recognition they deserve, but the standard of their writing and craft is so high; it’s extremely inspirational to see that kind of talent and drive all the time.
Are there any songs you wish you wrote and why? “Something” by George Harrison – as Frank Sinatra said, it’s the greatest love song ever written.
What artists are you listening to that would surprise your fans? A Tribe Called Quest is the only band to have stayed on my iPod for 7 years.
How do you discover new music? Do you buy music or are you content with streaming? I usually get recommendations from friends. I stream music a little, but I also started a nice collection of reel-to-reel tapes and vinyls which keeps me busy buying. I’m also lucky to be surrounded by amazing venues and artists where I live – some of my favorite new songs are written by friends.
How will musicians make a living if fans continue to expect music to be free? We won’t. But I don’t think fans expect everything to be free – there’s still alternative revenues coming from shows, private concerts, merchandise, syncs, publishing, and plenty more we’ll discover I’m sure! That said I think true fans still like buying the music on CD’s or Vinyl, and sometimes I think they like knowing that they’re supporting the artist by buying the MP3s online.
What don’t fans/audiences understand about the music industry today? I think they get it for the most part – there’s probably more that the industry doesn’t understand about fans & audiences.
Are digital singles/EPs vs. full albums the future? Not for me! I like albums with concepts, themes, & threads. Singles are great, but albums & sometimes EPs can be far more rewarding for an artist and a listener with patience.
Finish this sentence: The music industry is…still regretting mini-discs.
What do you have in the works for the upcoming year? Touring, writing, recording & repeating! I’m also working a lot on the ‘Handsome Lady Records’ project – it’s all recordings with one microphone and an old tape machine, we’re constantly releasing new songs and videos (about 3 per week) so it’s keeping us pretty busy!