Friday, November 19, 2010

I've tracked down director and photographer Michael Lawrence for a chat on the recent "Short Order Cooks" music video release for Boston-turned-Brooklyn based band Emil and Friends. Sitting high in the trees surrounded by flowing rivers and abundant rice paddies, Michael's jabbing away at his computer keys and scratching at his scruffy beard. I think the hills in Bali might be having an effect on him.

How are you feeling today?
I'm sitting in a treehouse in Bali, so I'm feeling good.

What do you have going on in Bali besides treehouse chilling?
I've been working on the finishing touches for my first published photo book, Waves. It was shot over the past four years in North Sulawesi, Indonesia. So it feels good to see the finished project after so much work. 

That's cool, congrats. So, you're in North Sulawesi now?
No, I'm working on the photo edits in Ubud, Bali now. I was in Sumatra and Mentawai this last week photographing the after effects from the tsunami with SurfAid International. It was a grueling process with a lot of time spent on a rocking boat, but it was  pleasure to work with such a great organization. The people in Mentawai still choose to smile after all of it.

Wow, so you're all over the place with work these days. I thought Bali was a place for relaxing and yoga classes. 
I don't find my work to really be work, I enjoy doing it. It's sort of cathartic. But I guess the gods of Bali are telling me to slow down. I dropped my motorbike yesterday and got a few scrapes that'll take a week or so to heal.

Ouch! Well, to keep your mind off the road rash, I'd like to know what your favorite thing is in Bali and if you plan on ever returning to the US.
Early morning bike rides, when it's still cool outside, and the only sounds are roosters. It's quite different from New York. 

That's for sure. And as far as heading back?
Right now I'm really happy with the way of life here. I've been lucky enough to work on a lot of really cool projects, so I won't put a date on it, but I'm sure I'll know when it's time to move on.

And how do you plan to celebrate the Emil and Friends release?
I don't know, I don't tend to celebrate things like this. Maybe I'll take a day off and go to the beach. I was talking to my friend Sahil over at Transparent the other day, and funny enough it had originally leaked over a year ago. Exactly November 17th, 2009. So in some ways, it's felt done for a while. But it's cool to see it up and getting some attention.

What inspired the spandex onesies and balloons?
Emil and I were in this divey bar in Southie, and after a few pints of Guiness we started to sketch out ideas on napkins. An hour later we came back to the bar and Emil was dressed in a spandex onesie and from there the idea took shape into what we see now. There was an Indian head dress at one point, but it didn't work too well with the running and horse riding, so we lost it.

Brave man to walk around South Boston in a red onesie! 
Yeah, we got a lot of looks. One guy thought his drum machine was a calculator and he followed us for four blocks reiterating the point with a bat in his hand. He was yelling, "It's a fuckin' calculatuh!"

Sweet, you've got that Revere/Boston accent down! 

And for your seeing and hearing pleasure, check out the funkadelic "Short Order Cooks" music video directed by Michael...

Also, see Mike's tsunami pictures and donate to Surf Aid.

1 comment:

  1. Great interview the video...very creative and happy!