Kristoff Krane on his new video being like chocolate-covered broccoli
Kristoff Krane has spent years in the Twin Cities hip-hop scene cultivating a reputation as one of its most consistently innovative and provocative artists. In a career trademarked by bravery and a commitment to experimentation, Krane is bringing his bold artistry into the visual realm with his latest video "Kristoff Krane." Set to premiere at his show tonight, a video release party at Nomad World Pub with Unknown Prophets, iOne, Sophia Eris and Zac HB, the clip will make its internet debut next week on Sage Francis' Strange Famous website.
The second single from his fanfaronade album, as well as the second video he's releasing this week (following a performance clip recently shot for his 2008 song "Crystal Clear"), the video for "Kristoff Krane" ranks among his most ambitious artistic endeavors. We spoke to Krane about tonight's release and translating his style into the music video medium.
With the success of your "Birthday Song" video earlier this year and "Crystal Clear" this past week, how different was the process of making the "Kristoff Krane" video?
Well, "Birthday Song" and "Crystal Clear" were shot in one day. "Birthday Song" was a little more extensive, but they were both very minimal videos to give people an additional reason to check out my work. Whereas the "Kristoff Krane" video was much more elaborate and took a lot more time, energy and resources to execute.
What can you divulge about the video's concept?
The "Kristoff Krane" video is capturing the idea of fanfaronade, which means an empty boasting to please the masses, hence the [album cover's] white suit. It's me saying, "if I need to do 'this' to get attention, then I'll do it." It's sacrificing my ideals to get the attention of people, as a trick. It's like a chocolate covered piece of broccoli. The new video portrays my tendency to see thing from a more existential point of view and communicating them in ways that have a little more shock value.
The video contains two basic characters, one being very aggressive, lacking respect, and another which is more-so the survival needs Paleolithic caveman. I play both of them, and it goes back-and-forth between these two characters, highlighting that all the "negative behaviors" of mankind can be [traced] back to similar behavior from early man trying to gain power and point aggression outward. There's also the understanding of me, as an artist, sitting at a table eating [wholesome foods] and then eating cayenne pepper and going through the process of what that feels like. It's a commentary on the extent people are willing to go to in order to get attention from the world and sell their art, and I'm poking fun at that.
Being that it also stems from the fanfaronade album, was there a similar intent behind the "Birthday Song" video?
The "Birthday" video tried to capture the feeling of being let down by people and not being valued. Not only pointing fingers at people for not showing up, but the flaw in getting too wrapped up in people not coming to your shows. It was more of a metaphor for people not supporting my art the way that I wanted, but watching it now, it's portraying the mindset that a person can get to when getting too wrapped up in feeling undervalued.
Now that you've moved on from that state of mind, how do you feel about fanfaronade today?
I was two songs into the project when [Eyedea] died, and the rest was made after his death. I was very cloudy, negative, resentful of other artists. I was in an unclear mindstate, and a lot of the seeds that I planted for the video were examples of what somebody produces when they're in that state. I don't regret making the album or anything, but it's a manifestation of what can happen to somebody when they're trying to process pain and escape from it, rather than accept it in finding their roots. It's me crawling my way up a mountainside that was crumbling, rather than just looking at the mountain.
So, the album is you working through your own stages of grief?
Yeah, kinda. I don't want to make it come off like I regret making that record, but it's an example of something I created when I was kind of lost. I look back at it as where I was, and it's a part of me. We all have a template, and it's a spectrum.
Do you have that feeling toward any of your other releases?
Yeah. With Abzorbr, that was a part of me that was so eager and so fluttered. I was like an active volcano, coming to an understanding that all these ideas I had about religion, politics, sexual orientation, what I was eating, were all these illusions that I bought into. With the first Kristoff Krane release, This Will Work For Now, I'm very proud of that album, but that was a spectrum of a character of mine that was focused on telling some stories and what I was grateful for, a little more deliberate with the message. But I feel that album captured a bit of my naivety. It was an example of me coming into my new skin, but being uncomfortable in it.
Do you feel a challenge in finding the same artistic satisfaction in pushing the boundaries of a visual medium as you do in your music?
To me, in the future, I'm going to be focusing much more on making something [in music videos] that's touching and real. Not necessarily entertaining, but more visceral. A good example is that video Sadistik just released, the "Michael" one. It was so heartfelt and powerful, and the mystique was maintained. If you can cut to the chase and go straight to the heart, to me, that's where it's at. Anyone can watch [it] and people will watch years from now, and a truth will resonate with them.
Kristoff Krane performs at the Nomad World Pub on Friday, October 19 with Unknown Prophets, iOne, Sophia Eris and Zac HB.
21+, $7, 10 p.m.
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