Meet The Dove & The Wolf

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By Corrina Gramma

The Dove and The Wolf are two French girlfriends who started to play music together at age 14. They came to FAULT’s attention through Nowness that recently shared Lou + Paloma’s The Words You Said music video directed by Zack Spiger and featuring models and actors Paul Boche and Jessamine Bliss Bell. A special thanks to Paloma’s mother for matching these two souls together and to fashion designer Gaby Basora + singer Rachael Yamagata who sort of boosted up their music career… Meet the dove, Paloma Gil, and the wolf, Louise Hayat-Camard.

FAULT : Louise, Paloma, who are you ?

Paloma : We are both twenty-four and were full-time students up until 6 months ago – as we were offered to go on a 7 week long US and Canada tour, we both decided to drop out of school. I was studying cinema.

Louise : And I was studying architecture.

FAULT : School is out of mind, forever ?

Paloma : We’ll see. For now we’re taking the year off to focus on music, because that’s what we really want to do.

FAULT : How did you two connect ? Tell us how it all started please.

Louise : We actually met online, ten years ago, at age 14. I was living in Martinique and I met Paloma’s mother IRL, at a dinner party. We had a very long talk and I guess I somehow reminded her of Paloma so she thought it’d be fantastic to meet. But because I lived across the Atlantic, that had to happen on MSN messenger!

Paloma : Yes, we were only talking about music. We met two months later, in April 2004, when Lou was visiting her father in Paris.

FAULT : Where does this passion for music come from ?

Paloma : I don’t really know… I started playing the viola when I was 4, and then I got into playing the guitar when I was 13. I enjoyed it more cause I could sing along.

Louise : I started with the piano, and played it for years – I was taking lessons but I smoothly stopped as I was not really into reading music sheets… So at 13, I swapped the piano for the guitar. The first guitar I played was my birth’s gift from my father.

FAULT :  How would you describe your musical genre ?

Paloma : A friend of ours once described us as a ‘ambient pop-folk’ band, and I liked it. I think it is pretty accurate.

Louise : It is a tricky one. We don’t really have a specific genre – it is a mix of 1960’s harmonies and modern sounds.

FAULT : Where do your respective musical influences meet ?

Paloma : We listen to the same music. I mean, we first became friends because we were listening to the same bands…

Louise : And we spend almost all of our time together, so our references are very similar. We used to listen to a lot of British bands but most of the music we listen to now, is american. We listen to everything… From Boyz II Men to Grizzly Bear, Sharon Van Etten, James Blake.

Paloma : And Beyoncé !

FAULT : What is on your mind at the moment ?

Louise : I recently went to see Phox live – they gave such a generous performance, it was magical !

Paloma : Blake Mills’s new record just came out and I have been listening to it a lot… We also went to see Lauryn Hill a few days ago. It felt amazing to immerse ourselves in her music again.

FAULT : Why did you pick an English name for your French band ?

Paloma : Lou woke up one day and said she had a dream about us being called The Dove and The Wolf. It felt right.

Louise : Paloma is Spanish for « dove » and people call me « Lou » which is almost « Loup », « wolf » in French.

FAULT : And do you think it suits both of you in the end? Paloma being the dove and Louise, the wolf…

Paloma : I think there is a little bit of both in each of us.

FAULT :  Woodstock, NY vs. Paris : was it more inspiring to record in NY ?

Louise : I’m not sure whether or not it was more inspiring to record in NY, it was just a very different experience. One thing is for sure, we enjoy recording in houses surrounded by the woods! We recorded our first EP (4 tracks) two years ago in the countryside two hours away from Paris. We packed the car with a bunch of instruments and recording equipment that we borrowed from friends and we locked ourselves in for ten days to make music. And six months ago, we went up to Woodstock, NY, to record a full album. It was such an incredible experience. We’re only releasing two of the songs we recorded because right now we do everything ourselves, from A to Z, and it would’ve been difficult to mix, master and press a full record all by ourselves. It will be our first full album and we want to do it the right way. We’re hoping to release it with the help of a label ; we will see after touring with Rachael Yamagata what is next for us.

FAULT :  How did you meet Rachael Yamagata?

Paloma : We met Rachael two years ago after she played in Paris and we had a mutual crush on each other. We kept in touch and she invited us to sing with her in NYC a few times when we were visiting. When she heard that we were going to record an album in Nashville, she said there was no way we’d go there and that we were to record in her home studio in Woodstock, NY. No question asked! So we did, and it was amazing!

FAULT : I read a piece about you and your very first video Springtime through the New York Times blog. Nice for a young French duo…

Paloma : We collabotared with Gaby Basora, the fashion designer for Tucker, for our Springtime video. The deal was to make a promotional video for her new collection and in exchange we’d have a music video for our new track. It was shot at Far Rockaway, in Queens. It was a lot of fun. The director had planned that I would be driving a car in the video. Except that I didn’t have my licence! So in the video, when you see me arriving in a legit 1968 Mustang, I am actually being pushed by the team not to take any risks: the owner of the car was on set! (Laughs) Anyways, It was a fantastic experience.

Louise : The director, Yelena Yemchuk, is a wonderful artist. I feel very lucky we got to work with her. She also paints and does photography ; she has directed music videos for The Smashing Pumpkins before… So the combo of the indie New Yorker fashion designer + the young french duo + the artist/director caught the eye of the New York Times and they wrote a piece about it.

FAULT : And this post led you to acclaimed photographer Sebastian Kim.

Louise : It was an incredible experience to work with Sebastian. It was so easy to pose for him. We stayed in touch since ; the cover of our new record is actually an illustration by Corinna Gramma based on one of the photographs he took for the New York Times.

FAULT : Since your early beginnings, what are the best encounters you’ve made ?

Paloma : The Swedish singer Isabel Sörling who sang on two of our former tracks and the singer/guitar player of the band The Shivers. I saw him play at a house show in Brooklyn ; we talked and kept in touch. We asked him to play on our new album because he is just so fucking talented…

FAULT : You seem to be surrounded by a cool crowd of friends… Can you tell us more about your collaboration with Zack Spiger please ?

Louise : A friend, who works with Zack told me about him. I started watching all of his videos and I literally fell in love with his work. He has a very unique way to film music, I’m not sure how he does it but it is magic! And I find it so amazing that he uses film only. We both really support that.

Paloma : About a year ago, we met up and started talking about working together. When we got back from Woodstock, we played him the rough mixes, and he picked The Words You Said.

FAULT : How do you two write and compose ?

Louise : We write and compose together. Paloma sometimes comes up with a chord progression and I find a melody to go with it or vice-versa. It’s a bit like in our daily routine when we finish each other’s sentences… For the most part we write the music first and the words come along.

FAULT : And the words naturally come in English…

Louise : To be honest, we don’t really know how to write songs in French!

Paloma : And besides the fact that we both speak english a lot on a regular basis, our musical background is mostly American, so writing in English feels more natural to us.

FAULT : Can you tell us about your Sofar Sounds experience please ?

Louise : I first heard about this series of gigs through friends. Our mutual friend Sophie attended a gig and she thought it would be awesome to have us performing at the next session so she introduced us to the Parisian organizer and he contacted us. We played in a beautiful apartment at les Abbesses. I had never experienced that before. An acoustic set can be very tricky but playing for people who were being very attentive, with no glasses being broken or doors being slammed, that was amazing.

Paloma : We had played at the Bus Palladium the night before so it was definitely different! And even if the audience didn’t know us at all, they were really listening to our music. Makes playing and singing a lot easier!

Louise : And when we played our sing-along song and they sang with us. It was a lot of fun.

FAULT : What if music wears you out one day… ?

Paloma :  It won’t ever happen !

Louise : For the moment we have no other aspirations than to share our music and I hope it will stay that way.

FAULT : What is your FAULT ?

Louise + Paloma : We are too cool for school !

 

Tour dates US & Canada, with Rachael Yamagata, October 2nd – November 18th.

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Meet New Yorker contrabassist Aakaash Israni, DoM.

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Qasim Naqvi, Amino Belyamani and Aakaash Israni

I remember when I first found out about them. It was during the Winter Jazz Festival 2014 in New York city at Le Poisson Rouge. I was primiraly coming to see perform my friend Keren Ann for a little hour, where I unexpectedly met the French couturier Maxime Simoens and his Press officer Tomek Kolarski. We chatted for a bit until the next band… Red stripe done, I was totally washed out and went to the exit when I got curious about three guys playing new sounds in the pitch dark room with tiny blue spots lighting their instruments. I wanted to listen more so I stayed and I got trapped into their lawless universe… I rushed to the NYC Law School, a few doors down from Le Poisson Rouge, to buy their record and I played it five times in a row before sleeping. The New York Times, NPR Music, Pitchfork, The New Yorker, BBC 3 recently raved about them and now FAULT invites you to take a minute and listen to their haunting -perverse in a good way- music. Meet New Yorker contrabassist Aakaash Israni of the promising band Dawn Of Midi.

 

FAULT : Who are you, Aakaash Israni ?

Aakaash: I was born in India and raised in California. I never felt quite right anywhere until moving to New York at age 29. I started music in 3rd grade, mesmerized by Beethoven’s 5th symphony and Paco de Lucia as a child…. I grew up in San Diego, which is 2 hours south of LA.

FAULT : How did you connect with Amino and Qasim –the pianist and the drummer of the band respectively?

Aakaash : We met at CalArts as friends before we ever thought of playing music together. Amino and Qasim were in a trio with an excellent bassist named Sam Minaie already, so instead we played tennis.

FAULT : Who were your mentor(s) at school ?

Aakaash : The great bassist and composer Mark Dresser and the Master Ghanaian drummer Alfred Ladzekpo.

FAULT : What does DoM mean ?

Aakaash : Dawn of Midi was a phrase Qasim spoke once describing the music of the classical composers of the early 1980’s. It was sort of a non-sequiter in relation to the music we were making at the time (Our debut album First), which was freely improvised and sort of avant-garde. It made no sense. We had no idea we would make an album years later (Dysnomia) that would make the band name appear deliberate.

When we started we only made completely improvised music, so obviously there was no leader. Dysnomia, which leans heavily on the knowledge of African rhythmic concepts, has shifted this dynamic a bit. The album was composed by Amino and myself. Both Amino and I studied in Paris, but at different times. He was at the conservatoire for piano before leaving for CalArts, whereas I left CalArts to go to Paris and study music composition.

FAULT : Can you share with us an anecdote when writing/composing for Dysnomia, please ?

Aakaash : There was a lot of tension, Qasim was losing his father to cancer and was being given these incredibly challenging drum parts to learn and we had about 150 rehearsals before we went to the studio. By the time the album was recorded, our girlfriends had all left us, Qasim’s father was gone, and the hard times were only just beginning!

FAULT : Why creating/performing in darkness ?

Aakaash : This began at CalArts when we first met. I’ve always enjoyed closing my eyes at concerts and have always wanted to give concerts in complete darkness. I think vision dominates our perception and removing it enhances our experience of sound so when we first began improvising together I suggested we do so in the dark.

FAULT : What kind of music do you listen to ?

Aakaash : A lot of African drumming music -from Ghana and Morocco. Also a lot of pop music. I like to try and understand what makes pop music work on the ear the way it does. It is extremely efficient, it has to make you fall in love in three minutes.

FAULT : What are your latest findings in music ?

Aakaash : Shing Kee by Carl Stone.

FAULT : What is your dream collaboration ?

Aakaash : A music video with dancer Marquese Scott directed by David Lynch.

FAULT : What is your FAULT ?

Aakaash : I care too much

 

Dysnomia

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Demi Lovato for FAULT Issue 19 – first look (issue is available to pre-order NOW!)

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FAULT Issue 19 reversible cover star Demi Lovato was shot by Giuliano Bekor and styled by Avo Yermagyan.
Click here to pre-order your copy of this issue!

FAULT Magazine Issue 19 – the Millions Issue will feature American pop phenomenon Demi Lovato as its reversible cover star this Fall. Eminently suitable for the issue theme, Demi has over 60million fans on Facebook and Twitter alone and is one of the most influential popular culture figures in the world today.

Demi’s feature – which includes an in-depth interview and exclusive photoshoot by photographer Giuliano Bekor and stylist Avo Yermagyan – runs over 12 pages in the print issue. Demi also covers the Beauty section inside the magazine.

The shoot, based on the issue’s theme of ‘Millions’, showcases Demi as an artist whose every move has ramifications on a globally impactful scale. As a role model to millions, her words and actions are reviewed, analysed, dissected and reflected over and over again. Under those circumstances, one can only imagine what a surreal experience it must be to come face to face with the person behind the lens…

In her interview, Demi discusses the responsibility that comes with being a role model, her collaborations with people like Cher Lloyd and the Vamps, her incipient interests in philanthropy and world affairs and, of course, her music.

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Production by Giuliano Bekor + Leah Blewitt

FAULT: You’ve spoken about how the album marked a real shift in sound for you, towards more dance-inspired tracks. Was that something that you deliberately wanted to create or was it something that happened organically?

Everything that happened on the album happened organically. Nothing was really planned in terms of “I want a dance song” or anything like that- it just kind of happened! It’s exciting to show people a different side of myself.

In terms of the collaborations (most recently with Cher Lloyd and The Vamps), how do they come into being?

Sometime you come up with a part in a song and you instantly know who you’re looking for. With ‘Really Don’t Care’, [her latest single], Cher instantly came to my mind. She’s got a lot of attitude and a lot of sass and was perfect for the song. Other times it just kind of happens- you meet someone and you write together and it turns out to be an awesome song.

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Interview by Will Ballantyne-Reid

You’ve become an inspirational figure not just for your fans but even for those unfamiliar with your music as a result of your philanthropic projects and your work with anti-bullying campaigns and mental health awareness. How do these projects shape your career and your own creative process?

Well these projects were really born out of my relationship with my fans, where they are able to look up to me no matter what they’re going through. I really like being there for them in that way. I pride myself in being a role model but I’m not perfect- I curse like a sailor and I sometimes make mistakes but at the same time I want to be what I know my little sister and that younger generation needs.

Are there any difficulties that come with being in the public eye, and especially that ‘role model’ tag?

I use to get frustrated that just because I wanted to sing, I was automatically expected to be a role model. But I had to grow up and realise that no matter what I do I’m going to be somebody’s role model. It’s true what they say- “with great power comes great responsibility”- and everybody’s career is different but for me, I had to grow up and embrace it rather than resent it, as that only made me resent my career.

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Get the full shoot and interview – only in FAULT Issue 18.
Click here to order your copy for delivery worldwide!

Going forward with your music and your philanthropy work, what do you feel is the next step?

I take my life day by day; some day I’m really involved with one charity, and another I’m really focussed on another. In this moment, I’m really dedicated to the scholarship program that I created in order to provide mental health services to people that can’t afford it on their own.

Demi’s album, DEMI, is out now

FAULT MAGAZINE ISSUE 19 – The Millions Issue – IS AVAILABLE TO PRE-ORDER NOW

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Usher – first look at our exclusive shoot for FAULT Issue 19’s front cover

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FAULT Issue 19 front cover star Usher was shot by Sinisha Nisevic and styled by Sammy and Judy/Cloutier Remix.
Click here to pre-order your copy of this issue!

FAULT Magazine Issue 19 – the Millions Issue will feature legendary R&B recording artist Usher as its front cover feature this Fall. Having already sold nearly 23million records in the US alone, Usher is undoubtedly one of the most instantly recognisable faces in the music industry today – just as he was after the release of his first UK number one single, ‘You Make Me Wanna’, back in 1997.

Usher’s feature – which includes an in-depth interview alongside the exclusive photoshoot by photographer Sinisha Nisevic and stylists Sammy and Judy (aka renowned LA celebrity stylists The Kids) – runs over 13 pages in the print issue. Usher also covers the Men’s Fashion section inside the magazine.

The shoot, based on the issue’s theme of ‘Millions‘, is designed to showcase two distinct sides to Usher’s character. In one sense, the shoot presents the public face of a star known and loved by ‘millions’ but, juxtaposed with this, we also see a revelatory side of a sensitive, thoughtful man. The latter gives insight into the thought process of a man who has reached the point in his career where keeping his fans happy and challenging both himself and the limits of his creativity have become his most important goals.

There is an Usher who poses happily with models and plays up to the camera and also the Usher who dances in the studio as much for his own amusement as for the sake of a great photo. The great thing for Usher, one feels, is that for him– more often than not – those two worlds are intertwined.

In his interview, entitled ‘The Man Who Can Do it All’, Usher discusses his role on ‘The Voice’, his motivations and goals for producing music that he loves, regardless of commercial success, his upcoming acting role in ‘Hands of Stone’, the biopic of famed boxer Sugar Ray Leonard and, of course, the main themes of his highly anticipated new album.

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Interview by Heather Seidler

FAULT: Did you learn anything from doing ‘The Voice’ that you’ll use in your own career?

Usher: Part of the reason why I did ‘The Voice’ was so people would get a chance to see a different perception of me….The more I know about life, the more I know about people, the greater the person I am, the more understanding I have about how to make music and how to do things that will grow us as people.

[So making this album was] not about making commercial hits?

I don’t feel that I’ve got to sell out this tour, or sell crazy amounts of albums, or have the number one single. It’s great to have all those things, but that isn’t what I’m doing.

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Creative Director: Andre Bato Producers: Leah Blewitt & Bryant Robinson Special Thanks: Shoshanna Stone & Team Usher

 

Let’s talk about the movie you just finished, Hands of Stone. Tell me about your role as Sugar Ray Leonard.

The film revolves around a very compelling story in history. A lot of people want to know what happened with Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard during that infamous fight. Why did he quit? Why did he walk out of the ring? No one knows the truth. We address all of that. It’s going to be a great piece of work, because of everyone involved in telling this really significant part of boxing history.

I spent time with him [Sugar Ray Elonard] in Atlanta, and here in Los Angeles. We boxed together; we chilled. He became a great friend of mine, almost like a brother to me.

Get the full shoot and interview – only in FAULT Issue 18.
Click here to order your copy for delivery worldwide!

Tell me about the new album you’re working on.

It’s still a work in progress. I’m at a place where I really just want to have fun and do what I feel is significant to me.These last three years have been the hardest times of my life. I’ve wanted to break down, I’ve wanted to quit. I’ve wanted to throw in the towel but my spirit wouldn’t allow me… The one thing the album represents is confidence. Not confidence in a cocky way, but being open about what I feel, take it or leave it. If I’m not honest about my feelings then you’ll never know how I really feel.

Who are some of the people you’ve been jamming with, who’s producing and working with you on it?

I reached out to work with people that I haven’t worked with before like Ryan Tedder, Ed Sheeran, and Skrillex. Also people who I have worked with before like Diplo…and Pharrell [Williams].

‘She Came to Give it to You’ – the new single from Usher’s upcoming album – is out on 28th September

FAULT MAGAZINE ISSUE 19 – The Millions Issue – IS AVAILABLE TO PRE-ORDER NOW

 *FAULT MAGAZINE IS AVAILABLE FOR DELIVERY WORLDWIDE*

…Or get your copy digitally via Zinio! 1 year’s subscription = just £14.40

Zara Martin – exclusive Focus section cover shoot for FAULT Issue 18

 

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Zara Martin was shot in London by photographer Paul Whitfield and styled by Rachel Holland exclusively for the internal Focus section cover of FAULT Issue 18
Click here to order your copy of this issue!

 

FAULT Issue 18 Focus section cover star Zara Martin never misses a VIP party. In fact, she’s usually the one who keeps it going all night when she’s spinning the tunes from behind the decks for the international glitterati crowd. Zara is also a model and TV presenter and you’ll often spot her on red carpet style lists or sitting on the front row at fashion week presentations with her countless celebrity friends, including Tali Lennox, Caroline Flack and Miquita Oliver. For FAULT’s RAW issue, we looked underneath the glamour with Zara to discuss her hidden talents, charity work and what her younger self wouldn’t believe about her now.

FAULT: Which came first: your modelling or DJing?

Zara: I started doing some work for MTV back in the day when there weren’t so many girl DJs. So it was the music connection that helped with the DJing but I’ve always had a model agency. I’m not super tall so I never did any catwalk stuff, more commercial work, so all the cool opportunities came from the DJing. The shows that I do on TV are mostly fashion or music based as well.

It’s slightly strange that my first job was given to me by Al Gore. It was really random.

So you’re a model, a DJ, a TV presenter and you’re creating a line of headphones… do you have any hidden talents?

Well, I’m working on doing some acting at the moment. I went to drama school before I got into all of this but I never finished it. So in my spare time I’m taking classes and auditioning. I’ll be in LA for pilot season and I’ve just got the trailer through for a short film I worked on with Director Wayne Che Yip called Toledo. I have an American accent in it and it’s all really weird. It’s based on a Charles Bukowski poem called ‘For The Foxes’.

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Interview by Olivia Pinnock

What new music are you really pushing at the moment?

I’ve liked Angel Haze for a really long time and it seems like she’s just blowing up at the moment [Ed: FAULT Online featured her recently]. So I’m like ‘see I told you!’ I really like her, she’s just wicked.

Other than that, I love it when acts collaborate and do something a little different like the Iggy Azalea/Charli XCX track ‘Fancy’ is amazing and it kind of reminds me of old Gwen Stefani. I still love The Weeknd, he does this cover of XO by Beyoncé that’s really good!

There are so many good artists about at the moment. It’s hard to pick just one. ..

You also manage to fit in time to be an ambassador for Women for Women International

Women for Women are the most incredible organisation. I met Brita [Fernandez Schmidt], who’s the chairwoman in the UK, and I immediately vibed with her. You know when you just meet someone with such pure energy you just have to know more about them? She’s so inspirational. Every time I see her I feel like I’m not doing enough! So I wanted to get involved. At the moment we’re just working out the best way and I’m trying to get some younger people involved in the organisation and hopefully we’ll be doing some events this year. You’ll be hearing more about it soon.

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Get the full shoot and interview – only in FAULT Issue 18.
Click here to order your copy for delivery worldwide!

What advice would you give your younger self?

Stop messing around and do some work! I wasted a lot of time in night clubs but I have no regrets. I don’t like to live my life like that.

FAULT MAGAZINE ISSUE 18 – THE RAW ISSUE – IS AVAILABLE TO ORDER NOW

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FAULT Focus: Moving Picture Company’s VFX Maestro Sheldon Stopsack

A flaring storm of future sentinels, engineered from Mystique’s DNA and harnessed by nanotechnology, has descended upon X-Men: Days of Future Past. These sentient creations incorporate 100,835 blades and 1019 moving parts inside faces that open up as extra weapons against adversaries. The forces of nature transcend into a seamless computer generated and 2D empyrean, all orchestrated by the Moving Picture Company: a portal from the ultimate heights of technological potential to the world at large.

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Close-up still shot of a Sentinel in X-Men: Days of Future Past

MPC is a global, feature film VFX (visual effects) studio that has recently worked on heavyweight, large-scale international productions including the X-Men trilogy, The Hunger Games, and Guardians of the Galaxy. Powered by technology right the way through from initial concept art to final compositing and stereoscopic workflow, and punctuated by a labyrinth of seemingly-supernatural forces and immersive interactive systems, MPC has been awarded a prestigious Gold Lion in Cannes, an Academy Award for its contribution to Ang Lee’s Life of Pi and a myriad BAFTA and Emmy awards.

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Sheldon Stopsack, VFX Supervisor at MPC

This week’s FAULT Focus interviewee is Sheldon Stopsack, VFX Supervisor at MPC. Since he first started in the industry back in 2002, Sheldon has progressed from his speciality in Lighting to oversee a combined symphony of R&D, CG modeling, Animation, FX and Lighting in his current role. Integrating bespoke and highly complex VFX has led to him managing multi-site projects for the likes of Skyfall, Harry Potter: the Deathly Hollows I and II, X-Men: First Class and The Chronicles of Narnia while he has also simultaneously spearheaded the company’s technological development projects (ACES implementation, Katana adaptation, etc) in London, Vancouver and Bangalore.

FAULT: Sheldon, you worked as CG supervisor on recent projects for MPC like the most recent X-Men film and Guardians of the Galaxy – and have since been promoted to VFX Supervisor for various upcoming projects.   X-Men: Days of Future Past marks MPC’s second return to the Marvel based franchise. The CG sequences, make-up effects and pre-visualization was initially headed up by 12 different VFX studios – after it was originally engineered with 528 shots by MPC. Tell us about the challenges associated with the production stage of the ‘future Sentinel’ sequences?

Sheldon: The development of the future Sentinel was probably the biggest challenge MPC faced during the production of X-Men Days of Future Past. We were involved with the design of the Sentinels from an early stage. Our in-house Art Department provided a wide range of concept work for the killing machines.

The final design of the sentinel incorporated the idea of having hundreds and thousands of individual blades, similar to Mystique’s shape-shifting ability. The biggest hurdle there was the pure complexity of the asset, [all the] while maintaining flexibility. We needed to have control over each blade to allow flaring, transforming, swapping for varying blade instances and shader variations.

At the beginning we looked into existing technology that could be adapted for our needs. MPC’sin-house fur and feather system called Furtility was one of them, however it became quickly obvious that we would need to develop a new system that scaled better for our needs. We ended up developing a new system for which we build a low resolution version of the sentinel.

Individual blades were represented by a much simpler five sided geometrical shape that acted as a proxy. These were rigged up in a traditional way, ensuring optimal performance for animators. From the blade proximity we then cached out point cloud data for position and orientation. But also blade ID and various other primVars.

At render time, we then swapped out the proxy representation for a full scale render model. Dependent on the state of the sentinel at that time we could use different blade types (eg, damaged blades) or use primVars to drive various shader attributes to change the sentinel appearance (eg refracted ice for Iceman or glowing hot as Sunspot).

A sentinel attacks Storm (played by Halle Berry)

A sentinel attacks Storm (played by Halle Berry) in X-Men: Days of Future Past

The X-Jet, Cerebro’s crimson-hued virtual world where Xavier searches for mutants and Sunspot’s confrontation with the sentinels were all orchestrated in a CG environment by MPC. Tell me about the collaborative process with [Animation Supervisor] Benoit Dubuc and [VFX Supervisor] Richard Stammers – from concept to final composite? How were the fight sequences between the mutants and the Sentinels developed?

The orchestration of the sentinel fighting our hero mutants was an important part for us and, of course, for the client. Benoit handled this part incredible well. The challenge was introducing the correct mix of agility without competing with the scale and weight of each sentinel. Richard had a clear idea of what the character of these sentinel was supposed to be. Throughout the process Benoit and his team blocked out each individual shot and went through various iterations of animation. The challenge here is to find a consistent language. Even though the Sentinels are impersonal futuristic killing machines, it was important to have a uniform and distinct characteristic.

Sheldon and MPC’s work on display in Guardians of the Galaxy

Sheldon and MPC’s work on display in Guardians of the Galaxy

Your work on Skyfall was an altogether different challenge – a hybrid approach that included over 1300 visual effects shots ranging from the MI6 building’s explosion, the Komodo Dragon casino attack, the Merlin helicopter crash at the manor and the London Underground encounter. What was your methodology with regards to the CG sequences and explosions for Skyfall? How did you manage the workflow amongst the various VFX offices?

Projects like Skyfall are very different from a typical VFX project that requires unreal effects work. The goal here was almost to hide that fact that any visual effects work were used and to provide the audience with an experience that they don’t question – or ideally even notice. Even though realism always plays a key role in our work, it is much less forgiving on something like Skyfall where our work needs to blend in with the non VFX surroundings.

On Skyfall we had the pleasure to work with Steve Begg as the client VFX Supervisor. Steve is a real veteran in the business and planned the helicopter crash into the Manor as a miniature shoot. The resulting plates gave us a great basis to work from.

To add more realism to the crash we decided to replace larger parts of the helicopter adding more natural movement, vibration and crumbling. We re-projected the plates onto a roto-animated version which was matching the miniature shoot perfectly. This re-projection then got baked out into a texture pass and which we partly reused on the enhanced animated version.

Newly revealed areas or destructed parts were filled in with a full CG version of the helicopter, which obviously had to blend in perfectly. A similar approach was used for the Lodge itself. We had to sell the impact with a lot more fx simulated destruction with explosions, fire and smoke. In addition we spiced up the plates with a lot atmospherics such as wind and downdraft.

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Voldemort’s killer spell in action, as visualized by MPC

How did you transform the fantasy world of wizards in the climactic showdown with Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort as Lighting Supervisor for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows I & II?

As Lighting Supervisor at the time I was overseeing the entire processes from Look Development of all character and assets to final Lighting all shots MPC was involved in.

It was a great experience to be involved in the last two Potter Movies which brought the series to an end. MPC obviously had a long history with the Potter Franchise and we wanted to finish it with a spectacularly high quality of VFX. Even though both parts were worked on almost simultaneously, we took a huge leap between the two by introducing a complete new shader library, which was a further step for us into the physical based direction. This made it a bit more difficult to re-use existing Look Development that was done for the first part, but the benefit of having a more accurate shading and lighting result made it worth the effort.

With the last two Potter movies we were also facing a new level of complexity when it came to fx rendering – and it certainly gave us a taste of which direction the industry was going and what future requirements would need to tackle.

Marvel's Guardians Of The Galaxy L to R: Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) and Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) Ph: Film Frame ©Marvel 2014

Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy
L to R: Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) and Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt)
Ph: Film Frame ©Marvel 2014

What other projects can we expect from you and MPC in the near future?

MPC just finished working on The Guardians of the Galaxy and it has a wide range of new projects already lined up, including Disney’s The Jungle Book, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, Night at the Museum 3, Frankenstein, Into the Woods, Cinderella and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part 1.

I am currently preparing my next gig, which is Terminator: Genesis

Interview: Rocio Frausto
Edit: Nick Artsruni
Images: Courtesy of MPC (unless otherwise stated)

FAULT ‘Sounds of 2014′ feature in Issue 18 – Alpines and Marie Naffah

 

FAULT Magazine Issue 18 – Our Sounds of 2014 section, opened by Ella Eyre, also features the impressively talented duo Alpines and MTV’s Unsigned Artist of 2014 winner Marie Naffah.

Alpines released their debut album entitled Oasis via their own label, Untrue Records, in late May. In the midst of writing and producing Oasis, they discussed their journey so far with us at FAULT – from meeting at a wedding back in 2009, to touring with Florence and the Machine, to now releasing their own record. 

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Photography & Interview by Miles Holder
Click here to order your copy for delivery worldwide!

FAULT: As a fairly new band you’ve shot straight to touring, supporting some big names including Florence and the Machine. Was it hard to stay focussed on your own album?


Catherine:
In the last 4 years we’ve constantly been learning at a fast pace but you have to stay grounded and true to your vision to keep living in the industry.
Bob: There have been a lot of ups and downs in the last few years just getting to this point. Although it’s only our first record it feels like we’ve come such a long way.

What is your FAULT?


Bob:
I’m impatient, and I know I am but I just can’t do anything about it.
Catherine: I’m a bit of a workaholic I can’t switch off. I think that’s part of being a creative.

 

Check out Alpines brand new single – ‘Zero’ – for which the video was just unveiled today! ‘Zero’ is Alpines’ 7th single and their third from the Oasis album:

Marie Naffah is currently riding high on the success from winning MTV’s Unsigned Artist of 2014. She describes the experience as ‘surreal’ as she tries to ‘define’ her musical style. However the young musician appears grounded and has a clear strategy for progressing in the shark-tank that is the music industry so we’ll continue to watch for the remainder of 2014 and beyond…

Get the full shoot and interview – only in FAULT Issue 18. Click here to order your copy for delivery worldwide!

Get the full shoot and interview – only in FAULT Issue 18.
Click here to order your copy for delivery worldwide!

 

FAULT: What is your FAULT?

Marie: I think when people meet me they expect me to be all made up and in heels but I’m not that kind of gal and it throws people off

 

FAULT MAGAZINE ISSUE 18 – THE RAW ISSUE – IS AVAILABLE TO ORDER NOW

 *FAULT MAGAZINE IS AVAILABLE FOR DELIVERY WORLDWIDE*

…Or get your copy digitally via Zinio! 1 year’s subscription = just £14.40

STROMAE – Exclusive shoot for FAULT Issue 18

 

FAULT Magazine Issue 18 – the RAW Issue features Belgian solo artist Stromae.  Stromae first burst onto the scene in 2010, when his trackAlors On Danse’ caught the attention of everyone from Kanye and Will.iam to Anna Wintour and Nicolas Sarkozy.  

Photographer WOLAND and styling team A+C STUDIO photographed Stromae on location at DISCO Club, London.

The Belgian solo artist has a strong belief in the notion that there are two sides to every story. In Stromae’s case, the attention-grabbing visuals and catchy club beats of his music occasionally overshadow the other side to his personal story: that of a sharp, inquisitive and sensitive young writer and composer.

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All Clothing by Mosaert (Stomae’s own fashion label.)

 

FAULT: Your music has tackled homelessness (‘Formidable’), absent fathers (‘Papaoutai’) and STDs (‘Moules Frites’). What first compelled you to write about such harsh issues?


Stromae: 
That’s life. I think that to hide these issues is the worst solution. I was never concerned with music that was just about having fun. That’s great but it’s not my life; my life has always had problems, I just prefer to dance on them.

In light of the success of modern hip-hop artists like Drake and Frank Ocean, do you find it’s easier for male rappers to show a sensitive side and to tell a story beyond the swag and braggadocio?

Yeah I think it’s much easier than before. For me, it’s thanks to people like Kid Cudi – the people who crossed that line between hip-hop and dance music. They come from the same family but in Belgium that was a really different line to cross. If you were doing hip-hop you couldn’t be carrying a skateboard but people like Kid Cudi, Technotronic and Snap! just changed that.

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Interview by Will Ballantyne-Reid

There are many dualities in your music- the puppets in ‘Papaoutai’, the cross-dressing in ‘Tous Les Me?mes’. Was this a conscious decision?

I love telling two sides of a story, and really I find it difficult to have just one opinion! I like to hear what other people think and see both sides. Obviously my vision will always be a part of my songs but I like to keep a certain degree of openness- I don’t want it to be all about me. I don’t think that my life is that interesting!

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Get the full shoot and interview – only in FAULT Issue 18. Click here to order your copy for delivery worldwide!

What is your FAULT?

That’s a difficult question because I can always find a way to make something out of my faults [laughs]! One of my faults in the past has been not composing when I’m on tour.

FAULT MAGAZINE ISSUE 18 – THE RAW ISSUE – IS AVAILABLE TO ORDER NOW

 *FAULT MAGAZINE IS AVAILABLE FOR DELIVERY WORLDWIDE*

…Or get your copy digitally via Zinio! 1 year’s subscription = just £14.40