Friday, July 5, 2013

Wide Streets - "Saga of The Bruja" Video and Interview with Imma Zimma

I reviewed Wide Street's album "Laughing in The Jungle" last year and have been a fan ever since. Their music, to me, is a convergence of progressive post punk, late 70's British Mod, art rock and glam. Most of the songs are tightly wound jammy affairs of the heart. Jet Elfman's vocals can equally hold despair, hope and romance in every breath (even when you cannot always decipher the poetry of the lyrics). Songs like Stingray Ballet and Sweden come immediately to mind.

Their brand new album  "Saga of the Bruja"  (which I will review at a later date) is out on Trabajo Records and currently streaming on Soundcloud. The single off the album (which bears the same name) is a delicious full charge of staccato sounds that build upon themselves. In the short 2 minutes and 10 seconds it feels like a celebratory sprint, fully alive as the refrain "Won't she go back where she belongs" seems to attempt to exorcise the spirit of the Bruja away. Check out the Video for Saga of the Bruja which percolates with very cool animation and then check out my brief interview with Imma Zimma who created it.



Imma Zimma is an exuberant 27 year old who immigrated from Moscow only 13 years ago and just celebrated her first 4th of July as an American citizen. Currently she works for a Patent Agent as an artist doing drawings and preparing various documents. She aspires to one day start her own Creative Group focusing on animation related freelance work. I spoke with Imma Zimma about the making of Wide Streets "Saga of the Bruja" video.

AP: Imma, I really love the video and was wondering how it came to be. What is your association with Wide Streets? How did you guys find each other?

IMMA:  Tabor and I, Danny and Chris all went to O.S.H.A which is the Orange County Highschool of the arts in Santa Ana (California) so we know each other from back then. I moved away to college in San Francisco and then I moved back to LA and reconnected with all of them. We live in this kind of art collective community, all in a house in Alhambra.

AP: O.S.H.A is a super fertile place for creativity. I used to work out near Alhambra. A very cool city with many old craft style homes and such. Tell me about this house full of people.

IMMA: Our house is super cool. It looks like a real 70's house, like sliding roof ceilings and the rooms are really big...big square windows. It is a really great house but it is always a complete mess because we have a film maker and Danny does illustration art and there is always band practices going on so there are instruments and art supplies all over the place.

AP: It sounds great actually.

IMMA: Yes! It's cozy that way but like you wouldn't bring your mom over.

AP: That does sound cool though and you get to see Wide Street live all the time. I have not had that pleasure yet.

IMMA: Wide Streets are major shredders. They put on a great show!

AP: So apart from the animation did you shoot the footage in the video as well?

IMMA: I did everything. It actually worked out cuz one of the guys who lives at the house was shooting a video for Traps PS. They set up a green screen so I was lucky enough to just kind of come in after they were done and use the green screen to shoot the last section where you can see a bit of live footage. And actually, the bass footage are just photos that I sequenced together and animated over.

AP: Do you mostly animate freehand (?) drawing with a Wacom tablet, things like that?

IMMA: Well, the video got so complicated and so heavy for my laptop that I eventually ended up buying all this different equipment over the 10 month period to be able to finish it because it was totally killing my computer (laptop). So I got a new desk top, Wacom tablet... I have this crazy super pro set up now and I've only really done two music videos. I do use the tablet a little bit but everything is done in After Effects. I drew all the shapes as vector art and moved them the way I wanted.

AP: Honestly the density of the art looks amazing, it looks kind of grafitti-esque, 70's psychedelic... I really like it a lot. How did the concept come about?

IMMA: Danny drew the original graphic and I was really inspired by it. I imagined her haunted soul and her spreading terror every where she goes. I imagined her bewitching all the Wide Streets music equipment, flying around, rumaging around in all her dark magic and all this colorful magic oozing from the instruments. Honestly, I don't like using this word but the process was super organic. I didn't have story boards or anything. I just went from image to image. Sometimes I would stare at a 3 second loop for hours seeing where it would take me because I didn't know what the next step would be. That is why the process took so long because there was no structure whatsoever.

AP: Well, planning it you would have a totally different result. In a way, this is like an animation jam creating right to the music (and shot images) but, yeah, that is a long time!

IMMA: At 29 frames a second yes! Sometimes I spent 2 to 3 hours per frame. It was insane. Other times maybe 10 to 12 hours for every second of footage.

AP: Great art takes time! Would you do it differently if you could go back?

IMMA: No. It was like my own project. I was really inspired by it and it was Danny who did this great original graphic for it and I was able to bring it to life! I am always inspired by what those guys do!

Imma on VIMEO
Imma on Behance
Imma on Instagram

Wide Streets- Saga of the Bruja on Trabajo Records
Wide Streets - Bandcamp
Wide Streets - Facebook

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