Award Winning New York City based musician, filmmaker, multimedia artist, and music producer Joey Danger has announced the release of his new five song EP titled Lust & Vulgarity. In addition, Joey also debuted his award winning music video/sci-fi fashion film for his single “Surrender” off the EP.
“Surrender” is an award winning music video / sci-fi fashion film shot and directed by Danger. The video took nearly two years to make and dives into the dark retro-futuristic world of cyberpunk, taking you on a journey with robots, cyborgs, and flying vehicles. It was independently written and directed by Joey Danger as both a music video for Joey’s upcoming single and it was also created as part of a fashion story for IRK Magazine’s ‘Futurism’ issue.
Music Madness caught up with Joey Danger to discuss the artist’s latest creations…
Music Madness: Congrats on the completion of the new EP, Lust and Vulgarity and the new video/sci-fi fashion film.
Joey: Thanks man! I was wondering how people were going to take that to be honest with you. I wasn’t sure if people were going to be confused by it, or it was going to put them off. I’m glad that you had a good response to it.
Music Madness: Yeah, it was definitely intriguing. I watched the video first and thought it was a part of a movie or a trailer.
Joey: Yeah, because I added those intros at the beginning.
Music Madness: After I learned a little more about you and this project, I went back and watched the video again. It gave me a totally different perspective, which was cool.
Joey: Well, that’s awesome. That’s really cool.
Music Madness: What was your inspiration for all that madness?
Joey: This video is definitely a love letter to cyberpunk, which inspired me when I was a kid growing up. That is pretty much what made me want to be a filmmaker. I remember being young watching movies like Blade Runner, Ghost in the Shower, and being like, “I want to do that. I want to do that one day.” That was always kind of a holy grail for me, creatively, as I kind of have grown into a visual effects artist and a filmmaker, which I still have a lot of growing to do. What was great about this project is I felt like I was finally at a level where I could attempt it. Attempt to kind of dip a foot in that world and see if I could pull it off in a way that I would have thought would be respectful.
Music Madness: Do you feel you accomplished what you set out to do?
Joey: Yeah. I mean, as an artist, I’m always going to be highly critical of my work and see a million things that I would change. I heard a saying that pertained to music that, “A mix is never finished; you just have to abandon it at some point.” I feel like that is the same way with all art. I spent 16 months editing the visual effects on this film when it was all said and done, and I could have easily spent two more years doing it if left to my own devices. But at some point, I was just like, “Look, it’s never going to be perfect,” but it’s good enough that I feel like I can put this out and say, “You know what? For a guy on a laptop, this isn’t bad.” I can stand behind it. Once I was like, “I can stand behind this,” then I knew it was time to put it out and release it.
Joey: Yeah. I hit a creative roadblock, because I knew the kind of artist that I wanted to be, and I knew what I wanted to do creatively, but I just didn’t feel like my skills were there. I didn’t have a major label or the budget to hire people to do things for me. I had this weird moment where I was like, “Rather than just staying where I’m at right now and taking different steps, I could just focus all the energy that I would normally spend on creative projects around making a new album or something.” Spent all that energy just learning, trying to grow, trying to stop for a minute, and not just make another album that sounds like the one I just made, but try to remind my taste or evolve my taste as an artist and just grow as an artist, honestly.
So I moved to New York after my last EP and that had a huge influence on me when I was making the album. Just being in a completely different city with all new experiences on every level changed me creatively. I wanted to let that soak in, because I had a bit of an identity crisis. I was just like, “Damn, what am I going to do with all this new inspiration?” I just needed time to sort and figure it out, but now I feel confident with what I’ve got, and I’m really proud of it.
Music Madness: Wow, man, very cool. I mean, when you say artist, it really encompasses you, because it seems like you are into a little bit of everything from filmmaking, multimedia artist, producing and musician. Do you have a favorite?
Joey: It’s a tough one to answer. I mean, the only way I could even try to answer that would be if somebody told me I could only do one of those things for the rest of my life. Even then, it would really depend on what mood I was in. I love making music, drawing was my first creative outlet, and I drew forever when I was a kid. I used to steal my mom’s video camera when I was like 10 years old and make sci-fi movies with kids in my neighborhood. I also played in Marilyn Manson cover bands when I was 11, so I was a little kid. I kind of fell in love with both of those things at the same time, so it’s so hard for me to try to separate the two, or say like, “Oh, I like one more than the other,” because they literally have run side-by-side my whole life as dual passions of mine.
I know it’s going off topic a bit, but musically, I was always drawn to artists that had an aesthetic that matched their music, which is why I loved Marilyn Manson so much as a kid, because he had this look, and he had this vibe, and he had this aesthetic. Rob Zombie as well. Those were the type of artists that inspired me and made me go, “Well, if I’m going to be an artist, I shouldn’t just try to make cool music. I should try to make cool visuals. I should try to make cool videos and cool images.” Yeah, it’s hard, but I guess if I had to answer that one … and I don’t want to, but if I had to … I would pick video only because it’s not as subjective as music. You can cast a wider net and get more people interested in your work if you’re speaking to them visually than if you are with your music.
Music Madness: How did you inspire yourself for the new EP?
Joey: I think for me, I like to challenge myself with each album, personally. I always want each one of my albums to feel like I’m in a different space. Once I’ve already done something, I almost kind of lose my interest in it. Not lose my interest, but I know what that sounds like now. I know what I sound like playing in that sphere of music. So then the new, exciting challenge is, “Well, what if I went in this other weird direction and tried this?”
The funny thing is when my favorite artists do that I hate them for it. However, as an artist, I don’t know how to stay in the same sandbox, so kind of like one of those funny things.
I have always been a bit of a pop culture junkie. I know this might sound weird, but because I have a bug for fashion, to me that is just as much an art form as music or film. Oddly, fashion is what kind of pulls me through different trends and almost lets me feel where my music is going to go.
Part of the fun part for me is trying to make music that I feel is new, relevant, and interesting. I think when I put out Alive, I felt like I was doing something that was new, relevant, and interesting, like cutting edge style-wise. But I couldn’t do that again, because that was old. If I were to try to make an album that sounds like that now, it wouldn’t be relevant. It’s not even something I would listen to. I guess my music is always a reflection of what I’m listening to, where I’m at, and what’s influencing me. I don’t think my albums will ever sound the same because of that.
Music Madness: Do you have a favorite track on the new EP?
Joey: I would say “Surrender”, but I’ve heard it about 70 million times now. All right, “Girls” is a song that lyrically, I think that there’s certain lyrics in there that I’m really, really proud of. I like “Faded” a lot, its fun. It’s a tie between “Surrender” and “Faded”. Then if we are going off just lyrics, it’s “Girls”.
Music Madness: All musicians will do a cover at some point in their career. Which songs would you cover?
Joey: Off the top of my head, I can think of some songs that I would do. My first choice, I’ve already covered it, and I plan on covering it again on my next album, is “Rebel Yell”. That would be my first, but that’s just my go-to song. Billy Idol’s “Rebel Yell” would be one that I would cover. Probably “Burn” by Nine Inch Nails, “Eye” by Smashing Pumpkins is something that I think I could do something cool with that.
Music Madness: How about an outlier? Something that might just throw everybody off, that you would do just for fun.
Joey: If I was going to do something, I would probably go old school, like “Whoomp! (There It Is)” or maybe “Baby Got Back”.
Music Madness: Dude, I could just totally envision the kind of video that you would put together based on what I saw from “Surrender”. Something futuristic.
Joey: I have a video, “Stars” that I did about two years ago. That was me kind of testing the waters visually, because I didn’t want to cut my teeth on the cyberpunk world. I wanted to make sure that I felt like I was competent enough to take it on, so I did a fashion film. I did a couple of music videos leading up it, but “Surrender” is the direction I want to go in visually. It was my first time finally taking it on, because it’s a big undertaking. That world and all of that. I needed to make sure I was going to do it justice and introduce the vision that I have. If it were up to me, I would spend forever in that world. Maybe musically my taste changed, but visually, that is definitely where I’ll be for a long time.
I mean, my ultimate goal is to have a script written. I want to make a movie. I want to make a movie that is kind of like … Well, I don’t want to give too much away, but I have a movie, and it’s very much that vibe. I’m trying right now to get it made. I hope that one day it will happen.
Joey: That’s the ultimate goal, right? For me, if I have to choose how my life goes, I would do music and keep growing as a filmmaker, making smaller sci-fi films like “Surrender”. Maybe within five years from now, I would finally get the opportunity to take on a full feature film and apply everything that I’ve kind of learned or created along the way to the major feature. And hopefully be involved musically, as well, on some level. That would be my ultimate, ultimate dream.
Music Madness: I mean nothing wrong with that, man. If you can’t dream it, you can’t do it, right?
Joey: Yeah, exactly.
Music Madness: Before I let you go tell us about the making of “Surrender” as you got quite creative, as I understand.
Joey: Yeah. Well, the way that the project came together is I had planned to do a music video for “Surrender”. I got a call right around the same time I was getting ready to start on my music video, from this fashion photographer I know named Morgan Miller. I had worked with him in the past and done a fashion film. This magazine, IRK said, “We have this futurism issue that’s coming out. We were hoping to do something somewhat dark, kind of Blade Runner. Do you think you would want to be involved?”
Morgan immediately called me, and he’s like, “I know you got a music video you want to make, but I have an opportunity for you to do a fashion film that’s got a Blade Runner theme, and we can get an awesome team together, just award-winning stylists, an all-star team with great models. Would you be interested?” So I was like, “I will do it, if I can also make it a music video.” I talked to the magazine, and the magazine said, “Yeah, sure. If you’re willing to lend your visual effects skills and all that, then we can do it.” That was the way the project came together.
Then we shot it over the course of three days with Morgan Miller at his studio. That was crazy, because we didn’t have a big budget. I wanted them riding on motorcycles, and I wanted them having weapons, and things like that. We didn’t have time or budget to get those props made, so the motorcycles that they were riding on was something that me and Morgan literally, the night before, just threw together with some metal light stands, a leather couch pillow, and a stool. We just rigged it all together, and the girls were like falling off of it holding on for dear life. I think it actually kind of sold the look that they were in distress when they were on the bikes, because of the fact that they were probably going to fall off at any moment. That was a lot of fun.
We put them through hell. We really did, but it was a good time. It was funny, because everyone that was there had only done more fashionesque kind of shoots and stuff, so I didn’t think that they really knew the action stuff. It must have been pretty wild for them to come on set and see us. After they put all this hard work into making them look pretty, we just threw them on these rigs blowing wind in their face and like jerking them around.
Music Madness: That’s awesome.
Joey: Yeah. I think the hardest part of making “Surrender”, was it became apparent to me early on that it was going to take me a long time to finish the visual effects. I actually had to take all my stuff, put it in a storage unit, and moved to the remote mountains. My family owns a tiny little property out in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Tennessee. I mean, going from New York to being completely isolated where there is no cell service out there was pretty crazy, but I actually moved out there, left the city, just so I could afford to do the visual effects on this.
I worked this sometimes 16, 20 hours a day nonstop, pretty much just living off what I had saved, so that I could make this video. We did a cut 13 months in, and that’s the one that won the award for Best Visual Effects and got me a nomination. Then I went back in, and I did another three to four months after that to finish it and make it longer before I released it last week. It was a lot of work.
Music Madness: That’s awesome, man. Congrats, again. I mean, the final product is amazing. I think people are really going to dig it.
Joey: I hope so. I really do. I mean, hopefully it catches on. I hope that people like it, you know. That would be great.
Music Madness: Awesome. Well, Joey, man, I appreciate your time.
Joey: Yeah, no problem. Thanks for chatting.
For More Information: