KIN: Director duo Jonathan and Josh Baker’s Sci-fi drama

If brothers Jonathan and Josh Baker, directors of the sci-fi feature film KIN, hadn’t delved into filmmaking nearly 15 years ago, you’d probably find them attempting perilous physical feats for Likes on social media.
“There’s a part of me that’s a little sad that parkour wasn’t a popular thing when we were growing up because if it was, we would have been on Instagram jumping across buildings,” says Jonathan, one half of the directing duo known as TWIN.

Instead, They set their sights on directing, moving from Sydney to New York in 2007, working on music videos and commercials. Through a decade of professional stagnation, The Brothers developed the short film “Bag Man”, a 15-minute film with a nameless cast of characters whose protagonist, a Harlem-bred African-American preteen, ventures upstate with his mysterious duffel bag to carry out an undecidedly valiant mission.

“Bag Man”, which premiered at 2015’s South by Southwest to great acclaim, quickly evolved into KIN under the joint tutelage of 21 Laps Entertainment, the production company associated with 2016 Academy Award-nominated film Arrival and the Netflix breakaway hit Stranger Things. Both KIN’s cast (James Franco, Zoe Kravitz, Dennis Quaid, Jack Reynor and emerging talent Myles Truitt as the film’s lead) and the filmmakers’ gritty, independent sensibilities, coupled with a predisposition for classic 80s sci-fi and coming-of-age cinema, are sure to attract discerning moviegoers.

How did you decide which elements of “Bag Man” to incorporate into KIN and which to leave out?

Josh: That was one of the toughest things about it. We didn’t just assume that there was a feature-length story to be told there. The short film already had a couple of things going for it: it was mostly a tone piece; it was about trying to make something feel restrained and quiet. Our lead character doesn’t say a word throughout the whole film, which is very much on purpose. And then it was about clashing that quietness with a surprise ending so the audience maybe think that they’re getting one thing, but then you give them another.
When we were putting the concept for feature together, I guess we decided we wanted some more meat on the bone with regards to the characters and where the story was going. We decided that we wanted to tell a story about family. And specifically about unconventional families. So this story is about brothers, and that was our jumping off point. Quite quickly, we realised that the unconventional structure of having an African-American lead character who has a white older brother after being adopted into a Polish family in Detroit was really interesting.

Jonathan: There’s a lot of things in the movie, in KIN, that are about acceptance, and a lot of themes about what makes a family, or what makes brothers. Is it blood, or is it something beyond that? Is it more experience and love? A lot of those things weren’t in the original short film but as soon as we started to talk about what KIN would become, it became apparent that those fraternal themes would be in there.

What are some of the challenges of working as a collaborative team?

Josh: There’s plenty of challenges. As brothers, we’ve gotta be really careful that we have a unified front when it comes to the idea of being a directing duo.
Ego is a huge part of being a director – it really is. It always has been, and I don’t think it’s going anywhere. You’ve just gotta be careful of that and realize that you’ve got someone else who’s on the same level as you and who has to be a collaborative part of making decisions.

Jonathan: The good thing about having a directing partner is that you have this inbuilt level of collaboration and patience and respect – mutual respect – so I think it’s very easy for that to then affect everyone else. Everyone begins to realise that this is how these guys work, this is the kind of set I’m on. They see us as the kind of directors who listen a lot, who accept other people’s’ ideas.

What advice would you give yourself ten years ago?

Josh: I think the main thing would be trust your instincts. Having a twin brother as a director helps a lot when it comes to making decisions. I think it helps to have someone next to you so you can talk stuff out, come up with the right solutions and make the right decisions on what to do with certain things. A lot of where we are right now just comes from instinct. All a director really has is their personal sense of taste and that ability to follow their gut. We were offered films years ago, and I’m really glad, at this point, that we didn’t take them. Just because of this film that we made, KIN, is very much based on who we are and the things we love.

Jonathan: KIN is a movie that we made for us, and we genuinely believe that if you do that – if you make a film for yourselves and a movie you would want to see – then there is going to be a very strong fan base of people who agree with you. It may not be for everybody, which is not something that everybody involved in the film wants to hear or wants to say, but the truth of the matter is that you never want to make something from a false place, trying to please everybody. You want to really have it come from an authentic place and a human place.

Josh: This movie is undeniably ‘us’.

What is your FAULT?

Jonathan: I think one of our faults is caring a little bit more about art and about sophistication and about credibility than commerce. And I think that’s a very challenging dynamic to balance in what we do. Pleasing people, while pleasing yourself, is a very challenging kind of way to live, and to do.

Josh: I guess if we didn’t operate that way then we would be much richer gentlemen, and at different times of the week, I look back and say, ‘did we make the right decision based off money?’ But I think I’ll always choose something that feels honest to us over financial gain. And sometimes that feels like a fault, but hopefully, it’s not.

Jonathan: …and we hope – that KIN is an example of hope. But at the end of the day, if for some reason it doesn’t connect, we’ll feel good within ourselves as directors and as filmmakers that we made the honest choice in something that speaks to us as humans. That’s the most important thing.

KIN is out now in Cinemas everywhere. See local listings for details.

COSMO’S MIDNIGHT FAULT MAGAZINE INTERVIEW

Let’s get this out into the open straightaway: Cosmo’s Midnight is a banger addict’s dream come true. With their full-length debut, What Comes Next, producer twins Cosmo and Patrick Liney are here to enable you.

Once scrappy upstarts in Australia’s beat-making scene, Cosmo’s Midnight has since become one of its finest electronic exports. The duo’s newly-released 12-track effort is dreamy, intoxicating, and complex—with the brotherly duo enlisting both local and international features to help bring their insatiable project to life, from L.A. rapper Buddy to Swedish wunderkind Tove Styrke, and Melbourne vocalist Woodes to Sydney’s six-piece Winston Surfshirt. Libidinal R&B (“Lowkey”), heartbreak disco (“Talk To Me”), cloud rap (“Where You Been”), near-instrumentals (“Polarised”), and sultry come-ons (“History”)—their tightly curated, summery, feel-good songs are all here for the taking.

The album dropped ahead of their Australia/New Zealand tour, which kicked off in July, and the fellas are now on the Asian leg of their tour before heading off to Europe next month. FAULT caught up with Cos and Pat at their show last week in Seoul, South Korea to discuss the music, the inspirations, and their journey to her.

Interview: Kee Chang

Photography: Jordan Kirk.

What Comes Next is incredibly addictive. Did it exceed your personal, creative expectations?

Patrick Liney: I think it definitely exceeded our expectations. At the very start of the process, we just couldn’t see the end and we were finding along the way what we really wanted to do with it. Looking back now, I’m really glad we ended up where we did. Three years ago, when we were writing the first demos for the album, I don’t think we—

Cosmo Liney: It was stabbing in the dark.

Patrick: With a lot of the album, it wasn’t like we went in like, “This is exactly what we’re gonna make.” We were figuring it out over three years and piecing together all these bits. So it wasn’t an album like, “This is the concept and we’re gonna smash it out in two months.” When we finished it and looked back, it sort of made sense that it was a combination of all these different things that influenced us growing up, up until the point that we became producers and musicians.

Cosmo: We feel really lucky to have had it work out, especially with a lot of the things that happened in the process. It was very fortunate because they may not have happened. For example, when we sampled N.E.R.D./Pharrell, that could’ve not happened.

Patrick: Yeah, they might not have cleared it.

Cosmo: A lot of the features were very difficult to get and hard to maintain contacts for.

Patrick: For example, we’d get a sick verse from a rapper and you just wouldn’t hear from them for like six months. You’re like, “This demo is so sick. Let’s finish it off,” and then they hit you back like, “Here’s a finished song.”

Cosmo: We’re very used to writing songs in the studio with the person and getting the songs made that way. A lot of this album was done over the Internet.

Patrick: Yeah, just emailing back and forth with ideas and stuff.

Cosmo: We’re just really glad it came together and that it’s something we can be proud of for our first album.

Patrick: Again, with a lot of the songs, we never met who wrote on them so a lot of it feels like we have this connection with the people we haven’t met yet. We wrote that song with Jay Prince and Buddy as well.

Those guys worked independently from each other as well, right?

Patrick:  Yeah, yeah. Then there’s Boogie, Winston Surfshirt, and Tove Styrke. Panama is from Sydney so and that was good for the process. I feel like we write our best music like that.

Cosmo: It’s easier to write like that.

Patrick: It’s definitely a challenge to work over emails. You can’t be like, “Change that take,” and stuff like that because it just takes too long, whereas in the studio you can change so much in a minute.

What was it like curating what ultimately ended up on the album? Are there a lot of unused demos?

Patrick: So, so, so much. The album has 12 tracks including the interlude, but I think we had somewhere around 50-ish demos.

Cosmo: And a lot of them were good. It was about finding—

Patrick: What works. There were songs that we really liked that we kind of put on hold. They just wouldn’t have worked for the album. We’re saving them for something later, further down the line. We sort of curated the album four months out of release like, “This is the final ones,” and then we went out and finished all the tracks after that. You always have the “What if?” in your head like, “What if we did this song instead? What if I tweaked this song forever?” which is why it’s good we didn’t mix it ourselves. This is the first project we’ve not mixed ourselves. I mixed all of our previous singles up until “Get to Know.” We brought in this incredible mixing engineer, George Nicholas, on board. He’s from this band called Seekae. Sometimes when you’ve been working on a song so closely for so long, you get tunnel vision. You need someone who’s objectively looking at it like, “I know what’s best for this song.” When I mix my own stuff, I don’t know what to change: “Am I making it worse or am I making it better?”

Cosmo: You just don’t know. You kind of lose track of the entire thing.

Patrick: We often come up with ideas really quickly and take a long time to finish it because all the details take a long time.

Is there any validity to artists who say that the songs that come together fast are usually the best cuts?

Cosmo: There’s no really right or wrong way to do it, but I think you can’t argue that when you write something that quickly and something that feels so right, you’ve kind of hit a nerve in some way.

Patrick: And you can only hit it every now and then. A lot of the times, you’re banging your head like, “Come on! Come out, song!” Then sometimes it happens without you even doing much and it sort of writes itself. It’s super weird. It feels really good when it’s effortless.

You guys came to play a show in South Korea just around this time last year, right?

Patrick: We did.

You were just in Singapore and headed to Thailand tomorrow. Are the vibes glaringly different?

Patrick: Oh, it’s so vast.

Cosmo: Even in Australia, it’s so different between cities. I don’t know what that comes down to at all.

Patrick: Cultural differences and like—

Cosmo: Just how much it’s different, though.

Patrick: Yeah, it’s insane. Playing in Singapore yesterday was kind of a shock. I couldn’t believe that people came to see us play in Singapore. It was really cool. Then you have the different crowd vibes. The crowd here in Seoul—at Soap anyways—they go crazy. [Laughs] At least at our last show, it was so much fun. We’ve played in China and other places where they’re more reserved.

Cosmos: They’ll politely enjoy the show and come up to you afterwards like, “That was amazing! I had so much fun!” and you’re like, “Really?” But they really did. They just didn’t show it.

What do you prefer?

Patrick: Obviously, the instant gratification of everyone sort of jumping around is really fun. But a lot of the times, we also go and talk to people after the show to see what they thought or just to say “Hi.” Hearing what they thought of the show is where you feel good. Some people just don’t like dancing and drinking or whatever—it’s not necessarily their vibe. There are different flavors. As long as they enjoyed it, that’s all that matters to me. At the end of the day, if they have a good time, then we have a good time. If someone’s not having a good time, me and Cosmo will not have a good time and it would just spiral. If everyone’s having a good time, it spirals in the reverse way.

Cosmos: Upwards.

One of the things that seems to come up a lot when you’re asked about your early influences is your older brother Nik who really turned you onto music, as older siblings tend to do. Is he shocked by how much you took to music and how far you’ve come?

Patrick: I think so.

Cosmo: None of us were prepared for what would happen. None of us really knew that we’d be touring and playing around the world and stuff. To him, being our brother, I think it’s just more shocking because he knows us so well. To see it happening is really surprising for him.

Patrick: It’s weird. And he lives in London so he has this outsider’s perspective. Even though he’s our brother, he sees a lot of stuff through—

Cosmo: He won’t be at the shows, but he’ll see recaps or photos or something.

Patrick: We’re gonna go over to Europe next month so we’re gonna hang out and he’ll come to some of the shows. I don’t think he’s seen us play in a super long time—it’ll be cool to hang out. We’re really close, even though we don’t see each other that much. He’s only two years older than us so we’re pretty close in years as well.

What Comes Next is an interesting title for your debut album because it sounds prophetic. It seems to really set you up for what’s to come after this work.

Patrick: Yeah, it’s kind of cool because it’s acknowledging that it’s our debut effort—a launchpad for all the things that can come afterward. It’s prophetic in like a hopeful sense. It’s a prediction. At the same time, it acknowledges all the stuff that built up to this point as well. When we’re talking about our album and our process, we’re referring back to when we were kids. On the album cover, the artwork is based off a collage of all these photos of us from when we were little. We’ll be sitting in different rooms in our family house and my dad would be playing vinyls to us. They’re basically three things: Switch-On Bach, which is like a Minimoog version of all these Bach songs. Then he’d play us Jim Hall’s Undercurrent, which is this jazz-guitar album that I heard a million times. Also, a lot of disco as well. At the time, we were like, “Ugh—I hate this so much.” But then, you know, as you start getting into music, you come to appreciate it. My mom and dad would email us all this music like, “You listened to this when you were little! Don’t you remember it?” It’s like, “Holy shit. We’re really just a product of our parents.” They totally put us into this shit without us knowing. Then you’re like, “Cool.” [Laughs] I’m happy for it. That’s sort of what the album is about. It’s all these things that have coalesced and shaped us into musicians and just as people in general. We’re sort of filtering that through our experiences into a musical format. So a lot of the inspirations behind the album is super far and wide. There’s a lot of the disco stuff like Chic and Nile Rodgers. There’s some jazzy elements as well on a few tracks. Then there’s like 2000s R&B and Hip-Hop that we listen to a lot. Recently, we came back to Pharrell’s stuff and Timbaland and N.E.R.D. and The Neptunes and stuff. Then there are new inspirations—we listen to so much stuff. Lately, we’ve been listening to BadBadNotGood, The Internet, Blood Orange…

Cosmo: It’s obviously a big one. I just love Kaytranada for the fact that he can still sound like he’s got enough going on, even though he has such a specific sound.

Patrick: It’s just what’s really minimal about it that’s really full. We learned a lesson listening to all these artists we like where they do a lot with little. A lot of people will try to—us included—fill in the album’s gaps and stuff by adding more layers and details, but often, you just have to get rid of that and just make the initial sound bigger. You can write a really good, incredibly dense song with just 10 layers, whereas when we were starting out we’d do like 100+ tracks and it would just get super dense and get to be a nightmare to mix. This album was about paring back from that and going back to the fundamentals—just really focusing on the core things that make a song great to us. It’s about what we really like about the song and not over embellishing it and trying to keep it to “This is what works.” If it gets overdone, when we finally know that we’ve worked a song too hard, we can stop and pull back a bit and then send it off to George so he can just mix it. It’s good—we finally figured it out. The funnest part of writing a song is like the first day and the rest is hard, meticulous work where you’re concentrated but not necessarily creative. You’re just working at that point and it doesn’t feel fun.

What is your FAULT?

Patrick: Maybe I’m too meticulous—to a fault. I’m too overanalyzed and too self-critical and detailed.

Cosmo: My fault is that I’m the opposite of that. I don’t bring enough control to what I do. It’s too off-kilter to what we’re trying to do.

Patrick: So it kind of works out.

The yin and yang.

Cosmo: It’s totally feng shui.

Patrick: Cosmo brings the vibe and I bring the technicality to it.

For more information on COSMO’S MIDNIGHT, including tour dates, head over to www.cosmos-Midnight.com.

A special thanks to Astral People and SOAP Seoul.

FAULT Magazine interview with Jack Brett Anderson

Photography: Miles Holder

StylistEdith Walker Millwood 

Grooming: Charmanique Thompson

Assisted by Leslie and Felicia

While you might know Jack Brett Anderson’s face from the stage with a lead role in Tina Jay’s ‘Held’ or his portrayal as Prince Edward in the Christopher Marlowe’s King Edward II, many art and history buffs have recently fallen in love with the young actor following his portrayal of Honoré Joseph Géry Pieret in National Geographic’s Genius: Picasso. . With so many prestigious roles behind him and we’re sure many ahead, we caught up with Jack to find out more about one of 2018’s most exciting acting talents.

 

When you’re depicting a historical figure as opposed to a fictional character, is there more pressure on you as an actor to depict them exactly as they were or are you able to interoperate and change the roll to more suit your style?

I think telling anything factually has a huge sense of responsibility, to portray it as accurately as possible so people get a true reflection of the story. So yeah, I think there’s a lot more pressure as opposed to a character that has been created, that’s when you can add your own flare.

What first drew you to the character of Géry Pieret when you saw the script?

When reading and doing my research on this character, it came to light that he was a free spirit with such poise and confidence in the face of the most powerful characters and one way or another he made his way. I loved that about him and his involvement in Picasso’s life and all the ways that he influenced him.

What’s been the best part about playing such an interesting character?

The freedom of it and I guess, getting to play out scenes that I can never do myself, like steal from the Louvre and sell them to Picasso haha. Doing those scenes, knowing they happened once upon a time, that was the best part for me.

Did you have much previous knowledge on the whole story of Picasso and his life before joining the project?

Yeah, I knew of Picasso, from school, his art and that he has a huge impact on the world. I think that’s the best thing about this job – the retelling of real stories and how much you can learn and then be able to share what you’ve learnt and created. One thing I did know about Picasso was his Cubism. Picasso’s genius was his Cubism. How he did that is incredible. He was a true visual artist, an original trendsetter.  

What’s been the favourite part of your acting journey so far?

This job has been one of the hardest to get and keep but once you do get your foot in the door, but it can be the most rewarding. I’ve been able to see the world, so much of it while doing what I love, to perform, and I can say it’s all been a dream so far but my favourite part is meeting all the amazing people I have. I think that’s what life is about, meeting people and forming relationships. That’s why we tell stories right?

What’s next for you this 2018?

This year has been one busy time for me already and I’m real proud of the stuff that people are getting to see and the things that I’ve done already. I’m gonna take my time and find the best project, something fruitful and that the fans can get their teeth into, but coming next will be my film ‘Acceptable Damage’ a british Indie and ‘Intrigo:Samaria’ – directed by Daniel Alfredson.

 

What is your FAULT?

You know what is my fault, us being here talking about all this, that’s my fault because I worked really hard and never gave up and I guess that’s my message too. Never give up on whatever you want to do, you never know what may come of it.

 

Keep up to date with Jack’s projects over on Instagram @jackbanderson 

Daniel Bruhl covers our Film section inside FAULT Issue 28

Daniel Bruhl – FAULT Issue 28

 

Daniel Bruhl for FAULT Magazine Issue 28

Photographer – Udo Spreitzenbarth
Stylist – Ty-Ron Mayes
Groomer – Nate Rosenkranz
Imaging – Lorraine Baker
Photo Assistants – Daniel Stauch & Nate DeCarlo

Words: Alex Bee

You might call Brühl an Actor-demic: his performances as an actor are always backed up by extensive, academic-level research. For his role in American period drama ‘The Alienist’, Brühl studied. Hard. The intelligent star, known for his credits in Good Bye Lenin!, Rush and Inglorious Basterds, embodies pioneering criminal psychologist Dr. Laszlo Kreizler in the eight-part series.

FAULT: How did you prepare for your role in ‘The Alienist’?
Daniel Bruhl: I didn’t know the book before but it’s one of those that you cannot put away. I felt like a 12 year old with a book and a torch under the blanket. I read it very quickly and was immediately fascinated by the world that Caleb Carr [the author] created, about each of the characters and the fact that it’s the beginning of so many things at the time that are so important now. My wife [psychologist Felicitas Rombold] put me in touch with criminal psychologists and I’d read a lot about these famous psychologists at the time the story is set. I also read books about New York in the late 1800s just to get an idea of how that place was back in the day.

What do you think makes the series so successful in telling the story of the time?
Daniel Bruhl: What helped tremendously was the passion that was put into that show in recreating the time because its so real and so authentic. When we were working on it we didn’t feel that it was fake, which sometimes can happen if there’s not enough energy and money and passion on a project. I come from movies, and when I was young when I would read a script for a period film and it would say there will be 500 extras and 50 characters and on the day you have one carriage, an old donkey and three extras and then you are supposed to recreate the magic – it just doesn’t work! What was very nice was the chemistry and the friendship we had. Dakota, Luke and I even spent most of our downtime together. Almost every weekend we met and I think that chemistry is something you cannot take for granted.

Daniel Bruhl for FAULT Magazine Issue 28

What series have you been watching at the moment?
Daniel Bruhl: ‘Mindhunter’ [a Netflix series that explores similar developments in criminal psychology] is amazing. I was absolutely blown away by ‘The Handsmaid’s Tale’, it’s a masterpiece! I was very pleased to meet Elizabeth Moss at The SAG Awards, who I think is one of the best actresses around, and I was happy to be able to tell her how magnificent she is. I also spent some time with Matt Smith who is such a great guy and interesting in ‘The Crown’ portraying Phillip – I’m hooked on that show!

How do you find the time to keep up to date with the latest programmes?
Daniel Bruhl: I always find the time! I have a couple of days where I can watch shows in my downtime or I’ll watch them when I’m travelling on the plane.

What was it like working on the third installment in the ‘Cloverfield’ series, which unexpectedly hit devices all over the world after a surprise announcement during a Superbowl ad break?
Daniel Bruhl: It was such a great ensemble. It was interesting because you have astronauts from all over the world and they managed to get all these wonderful actors from different countries, so the opportunity to work with them all was really great. Also, it was something really different for me as I am usually always travelling back in time and this was the first time that I’d actually explored the future.

Daniel Bruhl for FAULT Magazine Issue 28

How does working on an – equally cinematic – series compare to a film?
Daniel Bruhl: It’s the luxury of time that you have. You don’t feel so restricted as you do when working on a movie when sometimes you feel that pressure. To have that privilege of 10 hours a day and 100 shooting days with one character and the ability to explore the character to the core is very rewarding.

As a pacifist, how do you find taking on roles that are often borne from a conflict?
Daniel Bruhl: That’s whats fascinating about our job as actors: to try and get into the skin and the head of somebody who is different.

What bands or artists are you listening to at the moment?
Daniel Bruhl: There’s a band called War on Drugs that I’m listening to lately and someone from the US called Francis and The Lights. Also Roosevelt, Sigur Ros and Alt-J. There is a lot of great music here in Berlin too with artists and DJs like Frank Wiedemann, Henrik Schwarz and David August – I can highly recommend coming to Berlin for clubbing.

Daniel Bruhl for FAULT Magazine Issue 28

 

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