Cannes 2013: My Conversation On Creativity With OK Go Lead Singer Damian Kulash

June 28, 2013 — 0

As part of Viacom’s trip to this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, I sat down for a conversation with Damian Kulash, lead singer of OK Go. Last year, Damian and the band won 7 Cannes Lions, 4 of which were gold. Here’s an excerpt from our chat:

Also check out OK Go’s new app, which is super fun to play and shot to the top on iTunes. Here’s the video the band made to explain how it works:


Bjoern Ewers’ Berlin Philharmonic & The Vast Expanses Of Benny Chan

January 27, 2013 — 0

We spent yesterday afternoon having brunch at Nancy and Michael’s house, talking with our friend, photographer Benny Chan.  More about Benny, later, but something in the scale of his thinking, particularly his older compositions of the LA Philharmonic…

…and the Ronald Regan UCLA Medical Center:

— remind me of  this print campaign for the Berlin Philharmonic:

Using macro photographs taken inside the cramped spaces of instruments, art director and photographer Bjoern Ewers makes the inner space of a violin, cello, flute, and pipe organ appear vastly habitable.

Inside Instruments photography music instruments design advertising

I need to walk inside as chords ring through and bounce off the light. You can see more at Behance.

Inside Instruments photography music instruments design advertising


Your Final Status Update

August 5, 2012 — 0

Just before she died of Cystic Fibrosis, 25 year-old Eva made a video saying goodbye to all the friends and family who had loved and supporter her.  It’s as difficult to watch as you’d imagine.  So are the thousands of videos just like it.  And those are from people we don’t even know.

When someone we know dies, more and more often they’ve left for us some enduring message on the web (a goodbye, a space for memories, an album).  Sometimes, as in the case of the inspiring Jennifer Goodman Linn, their legacy endures — grows, even — as friends, family and supporters carry on their message.

For most people who die, their web presence remains disturbingly still, no life behind the pages, the social graph, the empty feeds. The comments spike with loving memories, then fade.  Months pass and no one updates a thing.  No one takes anything down for fear of burying them deeper.  Finally, the web domain expires, Facebook deactivates the account, Twitter shuts the handle.  They fade, harder to summon in the results of a search.

That fade is slow, and it’s painful.  For example, a popular lecturer and ethics professor died a few months ago, yet you can still go to his site and book him for a speaking engagement.

Of course, hip-hop artists (and their labels and managers) figured all this out long ago.  Remember when PBS found Tupac and Biggie alive and well in New Zealand?

So did Nostradamus, whose voice lives on even today in blogs recalling his “vision” premonition of the Penn State atrocities:

Paterno will hear the cry from Sicily,
all the preparations in the Gulf of Trieste;
it will be heard as far as Sicily
flee oh, flee, so may sails, the dreaded pestilence !


I wouldn’t be thinking about any of this had I not come across this video, which I suppose is an advertisement for life insurance?  Watch, and when you’re done laughing at the music, ask yourself, what will become of you…

Also, here’s Adam Ostrow’s TED talk on the subject.


Blasting The New Album By “Fore” This Morning

March 13, 2012 — 0

 It’s Tuesday morning, I’m in the office blasting tracks 25 year-old Mutaurwa Mapondera, a.k.a. “Fore” (formerly “Foretold”), just sent me from his underground debut called GOING BACK IS NOT THE SAME AS STAYING.

Fore, born in Zimbabwe, describes it as “an album about Distance. Distance from the people and places you love, and Distance from the life you feel you should be living.”  Fore produced the album largely himself. 


Listen for influences of Big L, Big Pun and, of course, Nas, alongside samples from the Cocteau Twins, Mali’s Amadou and Miriam.  The schemes are complex, the writing’s true and the emotional depth belies Fore’s age.   Listen for the “Zim in him…”

Here‘s where I downloaded it.  Here‘s Fore’s Tumblr.  And you might recall Fore freestyling in my office, last year, which is here.