:: Spotlight :: Preserving Efforts Volume 1 - Interview with Draino
By: Saeed Saeed
Ever get sick and tired of the same old hip hop video clips that contain girls, cars and bling? Preserving Efforts Volume 1 quenches the thirst of hip hop fans thirsty for viewing the clips of influential (and non commercial) artists that seldom get played on television. Saeed Saeed talks to the man behind the concept, Aussie hip hop artist and archivist – Draino.
The Preserving Efforts took two years from conception to completion. Can you explain the process of creating such a release?
Initially it was going to be an all Australian DVD, however Obese Records would not release any of their recent clips as they were saving it for their future DVD, which was fair enough. I then decided to make it half Australian and half overseas. I had seen the Australian clips on the web or on TV once and approached the artists to obtain copies of the clips in full quality. For the overseas clips I followed up my communications with various labels by asking if there had any clips. They then sent them through to me. I had about 30 clips in the end and I chose a wide spectrum of clips based on their style and budget.
Once I had decided on the clips I asked the respective labels if they would like to be involved. Once they said yes I sent them the contracts to be signed (this took 6 months to do). While the contracts were being signed I designed the intro’s to the DVDs and the theme of the DVD. Once all the contracts were signed I then got Mexi to do the artwork and then sent it to be manufactured. I then sourced out distribution options and found Shogun Distribution were the best for the job.
What inspired you to come up with the idea for such a concept?
Well apart from 1200 Techniques and Hilltop Hoods no one else in Australian Hip Hop had released a DVD with video clips on it. I felt the clips that were been made were not getting the full respect they deserved and had to be preserved. A lot of artists have made video clips but do not have enough of them to make their own DVD. I’d viewed a few video clip DVDs from the USA and liked the concept however most of them were not paying royalties to the artists and recorded the clips straight from various TV shows. I wanted to make something official that the fans could enjoy again and again.
You fell in love with hip hop at the age of 12, when you first heard Run DMC’s classic ‘Raising Hell’ album. Can you tell us something about that time?
I’d seen “Walk This Way” on the Rage TV show a couple of times and liked the song. So I went to the local shop in Eltham called Eltham Sound. They had one copy left and the cover was a photo copy because someone stole the real one. I was the first one in my street to buy a rap tape! Soon after a few of my mates started getting into rap music as well. Now 18 years on my brother and I are the last remaining rap fiends from Malabar Crescent, Eltham.
Do you feel that the artistry of making hip hop video clips is slowly taking a back seat to more flashy market savvy clips that include girls, blings and cars?
We all know sex and violence sells so record execs go with the sure thing. Most uneducated folk will be sucked in by the image of fast cars and sexy girls in bikini’s shaking their rumps. If you look at independent video clips on the other hand, they are most of the time very creative, because they have a limited budget and resources. Don’t get me wrong there are some very creative video clips, like Gnarls Barkley is one. That’s original. The creative clips are out there, your just don’t see them on TV much.
Was it a challenge getting the artists to consent to having their clips included in the DVD?
No not really, locally the parties involved were keen to be involved from the start. The overseas artists were also open to the idea when the price was right!
When selecting the clips for the DVD, what were you mainly looking for? The quality of the song itself or were you focusing more on the visual aspects of the clips?
The quality of the song was the focus, however I did receive some clips to songs that were not up to par with the music. In the end I chose what I enjoyed and appreciated the most. I also factored in the effort and the creativeness behind the making of each clip.
You have been involved in the Australian hip hop scene since the beginning as both a performer and as an archiver. What is your opinion on how it is progressing at the moment?
I think the artists who have been working hard for all these years are finally hitting their peak and creating high quality recordings and live performances. There are now more avenues to obtain information on Australian hip hop artists and buy products from a variety of stores. The number of shows some acts are doing is crazy. From doing 10 a year to 40-50 is a big step up. But that is the natural progression of things as you start at the bottom and work your way up.
You are in the unique position of having worked on both sides of the Australian hip hop scene, both on stage and behind the scenes. Where do you feel most comfortable?
I feel most comfortable behind the scenes, but also less appreciated. On stage I had no fear and did every show sober. Saved my bro Muph a few times in his early years when he was practically falling off stage! I enjoyed it but found it hard to do both. I choose ‘behind the scenes’ as the skills developed in making therapcella.com and managing projects are more helpful to me in the long term for corporate work.
There are some people out there that don’t see the point of going out to buy the DVD, when they can easily download the clips from Youtube. What is your response to this?
Well that is easy. Youtube is great for low-res stuff but if you want to have full quality (Video + Audio) then you need it on DVD. Plus the DVD includes exclusive info on each clip to give the viewer an idea of the time and money that goes into these clips.
Do you feel that internet sites like Youtube and Myspace has been invaluable in spreading the word on obscure hip hop artists by showcasing their video clips?
Youtube and myspace are great tools that I use all of the time. Youtube for video clips and Myspace to connect to artists. They both serve their purpose but as they become bigger and bigger finding something that matches your wants will become even harder to do.
Preserving Efforts Volume 2 is said to be on the cards. What should we expect from the next instalment?
Well. Vol.2 will hopefully have more clips and perhaps some behind the scenes footage from a few of clips. I’ve been receiving some e-mails regarding what should be on Vol.2, but even with the structure now in place from vol.1 it will still take a good 200 hours to put it together. If anyone would like to drop some requests on what clips they would like to see on Vol.2 e-mail me - firstname.lastname@example.org
Preserving Efforts Volume 1 is available via Jasmatuph Creations / Shogun