[This piece is taken from the documentary series that follows independent musicians in the recording studio called Shaking Through, that I directed from 2010 to 2014]
Role: Producer, Director
Raj is one of my favorite people, first and foremost because he'll seize any opportunity and maximize it. I approached him about working together and the idea he pitched me was big. Like a "conceptual 4-movement hip-hop epic" big.
A project like this takes a lot of planning, and so we collaborated closely over the course of a few months. For a conceptual framework we settled on the mysterious Toynbee Tiles that can be found around Philadelphia and elsewhere. We also worked to pull in luminaries like RJD2 and full string and horn orchestration for the piece. We had to track it in one day, too. It was a BIG feat.
My goal as director was to follow the two threads--tracking the song and the story of the tiles--and find their relationship. As Raj researched and wrote for the piece, I watched his sense of empathy for the mysterious "Tiler" grow, and we realized that while their methods diverged, their ambitious were remarkably similar. The contours of the piece follow this revelation nicely.
There's a nice companion piece about the behind the scenes that I'm including too. This really was an interesting production, and it shows the value of pitching me a big idea. I'm always interested in taking a big swing.