Mac Miller, "Brand Name"
I’ve had versions of the album in different capacities over the past year. Mac is the type of person where his album creation process is a very organic one, and I’ve learned at this point to not get too set on a specific song because it may not end up on the album. But when I got the mostly finished version at the end of the summer, we started talking about videos. It was cool; we had picked a song we wanted to do a video for, we were going to write out this big story and do this Tarantino-style, Spaghetti Western action film. We were prepping it, and we realized our version was a bit too big for what we could afford to do. That was three weeks ago.
We had to shift course. Mac was like, “I want to do ‘Brand Name.’” So we took a week and a half and worked on the concept, but there was this small voice in the back of my head, that started to get louder and louder. It was telling me that the album comes out on September 18, and at the time it was getting deep into August, and we still hadn’t shot the video. I knew it was going to be a complex thing to shoot and a complex thing to edit. We’ve done fast turnarounds in the past, but if you’re trying to do something more complex than a performance video, you want the time to sit with the video or have the option to reshoot something. On September 1, we were like, “Okay, we’re gonna shoot for three days, and you’ll have six days to deliver the video.” We were like, “Here we go.”
It’s been an insane week. The concept of the video is basically Mac as the star of a sitcom TV show, but he doesn’t really know that he is. So he’s moving through a life that seems very stable, with a wife and kids, a 9-5 job and an office, but you can tell he feels disconnected. At the end, he realizes that he’s in a TV show and he makes the decision, because the world around him is not real, to shut the show down. It’s very Truman Show-esque. But it can go in a bunch of different directions. With the time that we have, it was very hectic to wrap our heads around such a complex concept and make sure we executed it in the best possible way.
It’s been really cool to watch, over a short period of time, an idea morph over every day. It’s been really cool to say, “You can do it in a week,” and still make this really conceptual product that’s relatable to Mac in a lot of ways. I just probably need to sleep at some point.