Where innovation and boundary-pushing creativity reign supreme, producer and sound designer bb emerges once more into the limelight with their latest single, 'Vacant,' featuring the collaborative prowess of the talented Sainté. This dynamic duo has consistently proven itself as a formidable force within the music industry, and 'Vacant' stands as a testament to their enduring musical synergy.
But what sets 'Vacant' apart isn't just the electrifying soundscape it offers; it's also the visually stunning experience that accompanies it. The music video for 'Vacant' was brought to life under the directorial vision of none other than LAUZZA, a leading figure in a new generation of innovative directors. What's particularly captivating is that this visionary director harnessed cutting-edge AI technology to craft a performance video that morphs and evolves before your eyes, delivering an immersive journey like no other.
This single, 'Vacant,' offers more than just a glimpse into the creative minds of bb and Sainté; it serves as a timestamp, capturing the essence of their musical inspirations during a pivotal moment on their journey. Crafted while on the road together, it emerged from a backdrop of adventure and exploration, mirroring the youthful spirit of their travels. bb's masterful production weaves intricate textures, while Sainté's nostalgia-infused lyrics thread a heady atmosphere throughout the track.
In the words of bb, "After the Vacation Tour; myself & Sainté flew over to LA for a break after a pretty hectic month. We continued cooking up ideas at the Airbnb, and 'Vacant' happened to be one of them. When we created it, we were just having fun, trying not to overthink anything. Spending our time with other creative friends coming out of Jersey & New York, we found ourselves messing around with a bunch of different sounds."
New Wave had the pleasure of getting an insight into the creative process of 'Vacant', where music and creativity converge in a mesmerizing display of artistry and innovation.
NW: You guys have just released your new single and visual for song ‘Vacant’. Is this your first collaboration together?
LAUZZA: Yeah it is. I’ve known the guys for a while but finally locked in on a project.
BB: Yeah, we've been wanting to work together for quite a while and this just happened to be like, I don't know, I think it just made sense.
You guys work separately, we're seeing it a lot, What did you guys see in each other? What sparked their interest in working together?
BB: I would say like, obviously, his [LAUZAA] videos. He's just really consistent. He has his own style, you can watch a lot of videos and not not know it was his, if you didn't see it on his channel. He has like, similar structure, usually as an intro scene, and it goes into something ma creative and abstract. I love that shit. I love getting super creative and weird, and just thinking outside the box, and I think he does similar things in his world to what I do in music. He's always just trying to use new technology and break boundaries, do weird shit that you're not meant to do? For me, it was just all that stuff really combined?
LAUZZA: Very well put, yeah, I've known Brad for a while and I know that it would be a pleasure working with him. That was a given from the get go. Tthe references that he gave and the original brief, which we kind of flipped on its head, really shone out to me as something where I could try something new, something different. I take any opportunity to do that any day, and then, paired with the experimental electronic and singing vocals, which you've never really heard before, I just thought it was something really fresh, really exciting, kind of unexpected. And I think every call you take should be unexpected.
NW: There has been a big buzz or a resurgence of AI technology in various industries. So as a director, how do you feel about AI technology and like the pros and, and cons of it?.
LAUZZA: I've said before to many people that I'm very lucky in the fact that my field of work is very experimental, being music videos. So I think it's easier for me than most to be able to utilize it as a tool. Naturally, that makes me not scared of it in a way that a lot of people are. Right now it needs a lot of human input and a lot of decision-making. I think the only thing that scares me is in the future, you know, not maybe like a couple of years, give it a couple of years, maybe five years, then things are going to become a lot more automated. And that's when it's going to be like, "Okay, jobs are actually going now," but if anything, I don't know, jobs are being created right now. We have Cam, our incredible AI artist on this job, and that wouldn't have existed three, four years ago.
BB: Yeah, I'm kind of trying to figure that out myself. I don't know if you heard that Drake and The Weeknd did something so amazing. When I heard that, it blew my mind! I don't know, for me, I can't listen to that. I don't know what it is. But the fact that a machine or code or whatever is making full songs, it doesn't really interest me for some reason. It doesn't feel real, even though it could sound like it. I guess if someone was to release music, and I didn't know that it was AI, then I guess it wouldn't be any different maybe. But when I know that AI is involved, it puts me off, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I think it would be useful in the early stages of creativity; it's great at throwing loads of ideas at you, and then you, as the director or the producer, whatever, have to pick out of all these things that it throws at you. For that, I don't mind it too much. If you're really good at what you do, it's not going to replace you. Because people who come to you for a specific thing are only going to replace the people that are replaceable.
LAUZZA: I feel like at the moment, you can kind of tell when an AI-generated project doesn't have any soul behind it or any kind of passion behind it. As long as there's human input behind it, and that is there.
NW: Bringing it back to this new song, what kind of passion and energy did you put into this as well in the creation of this visual.
LAUZZA: I was really eager to design something that I hadn't done before. The reference that was given was still relatively fresh and new, but the idea was of faces merging via photos. I just wanted to upscale the whole project, and I thought, "Okay, let's flip it on its head. Let's do the inverse of that. How about morphing the backgrounds instead and putting the scene in this weird world? But also, adding this AI-generated aesthetic on top of it as well." I don't think I've ever really seen that before, and we just wanted to get there before anyone else.
NW: In terms of the song, what influenced the creation of the song or what messaging did you guys want to kind of tell ?
BB: On the music side, I guess we didn't really sit down and talk about what he would be talking about on the song necessarily. But the way that it came about, we basically had just come off tour and went to LA for about three weeks. And Sainte got a huge, crazy Airbnb that was kind of nuts for both of us. It was the first time that it felt like, "Wow, we really have just sold out a tour. And we're in LA in this crazy spot." We were there to regroup, and rest a little bit. We did some sessions; I just took my stuff over there, and we had a little setup in one of the rooms, and we just made a bunch of music. That happened to be one of the songs we made while we were there. And Sainte actually helped me on the production of that one. We had been listening to a lot of Cash Cobain and Shawnee Bin-Laden and a bunch of stuff coming out of New York. I guess we were just trying to make something really fun. We really weren't thinking about it when we made it. We were just having fun. We were in LA, in this amazing place, we just made it, and it sat on a playlist for like a few months. I think my thing as a producer is I really try to get artists to step out of their comfort zone, try different things, push them, and put them on sounds and beats that they wouldn't usually jump on. It seemed like a really good one for that. Similar to when he and Queen did that collaboration before, it was a sound that he hadn't done before. I don't think anyone's really heard anything like that on a song before. It just made sense.
NW: Can you please speak to us about piecing that together, how you decided on the scenery, and how that actually came together logistically?
LAUZZA: Yeah, of course. It came from a lot of back and forth between me, the AI artist and between us Brad and his team, because for literally everyone here, it was a project we've never done before. But we landed on the way a lot of stuff was not working. Brad sent through a load of iPhone photos and funnily enough, a lot of them were from LA. I assume on the same trip, where they made the song so it only made sense. That just gave us that sunset kind of Pinterest aesthetic that we needed. Combined with the AI that made it almost filmic, which is really cool. And then it was a case of cutting Sainte’s performances, like he would on a usual music video, interpolating and morphing them together. And that would give you a very walkie feel. But then the final touch on top of that really was actually the stable diffusion, which is what gives us that kind of flickering look, that new aesthetic. That paired with the Morph gives you a really nice, like flickery morph, which I really like. It was a lot more complicated, there were a lot more steps than that, but that's kind of the simplest way to put it.
NW: What do you feel like you would like your audience to like to get from the song visually, and sonically those you can kind of go first. Yeah.
LAUZZA: I just want to show people, don't be scared of things that are changing, embrace change. I also think the beautiful thing about AI is that it's free. The only thing it costs is time to learn it and to develop it and say if you're training or model, we trained our AI model and Sainte’s phases for example. There's a lot of time needed, but it's free at the end of the day. So like literally anyone, anyone can do it as long as you take the time to learn it.
BB: I just hope it's something that people want to listen to. For me, it's like quite a Summer song. Luckily, it's quite hot right now. I just hope people play it in their day to day lives and make memories to it. It's like a song that they look back on. It's attached to good times in people's lives.