This is the last part of the JAB interview, the first is here. It was fun reading JAB’s responses, and I hope you enjoy this last bit. Before we get to that, here is one more pic of the trio.
Iwinyo Piny & Animation in general.
The chicken or the egg question: Which came first? The animation or the music?
BILL(Blinky): The music. We used to jam in campus. And thatâ€™s where everything else spun off from.
JIM: The music came first, definitely. As always, it was a random happenstance (our music usually is). Then Dan went, â€œWe could do a cartoonâ€¦â€, and here we are.
DAN: The music was there first, but I can remember some occasions when the animation influenced the song, especially the lyrics, coz there was supposed to be more words that would have made it clearly a song about a girl, but when we talked about the video concept allowing for a broader interpretation, the lyrics were trashed (after which one station told us they couldnâ€™t play our song coz it didnâ€™t have any lyrics! Haha!).
What is your animation history?
DAN: I did this one month crash course in animation right before starting Uni, and when I met Jim and Blinky I talked trash about how we could do these huge animated videos, even though I had never actually done anything… So we started Iwinyo, and I was thoroughly humbled. I guess it came out OK, though. It was a learning experience.
JIM: If there ever was a time that we had internal fights, it was during the Iwinyo phase. I think weâ€™re over that now.
DAN: Or at least weâ€™ve figured out some â€œConstructive Anger Management Techniques.â€
JIM: I have absolutely no idea what he meansâ€¦
(Does rendering take forever?)
Rendering? That depends on what programs/methods youâ€™re usingâ€¦ As the 2D guy, I lack the patience that the 3D guys develop whilst waiting for the goodies to iva[ripen].
I personally really like animation because of the freedom it allows you in terms of following your ideas. And I like 2D for its much more human feel, 3D can be kinda plastic. I really hate how long it takes to make, though. I see Jimmy dropping live action videos and photography projects like bunniesâ€¦
I taught animation and cartooning a bit and I work as a freelance animator to pay them bills, and so Iâ€™m all up on Kenyan animation, where it could go, what stories we could tell… but thatâ€™s a long story.
JIM: Photography and video are somewhat more immediate, which makes me look hard-working. Itâ€™s just that projects get finished real quick.
What kind of software do you use to create the animation? and is uploading videos onto YouTube (from Kenya) as torturous task as I experienced or do you have a secret high speed bunker where we can mooch off of justabandwidth?
JIM: Adobe Flash and Adobe AfterEffects.
DAN: Drawings for the 2D are done on paper, and scanned or redrawn on comp. For the next animated video we’re doing, for the track called FunkyFineBeautiful, we have a new collaborator who kicks butt at 3DS Max. As for the uploading, we mooch off our friendsâ€™ high speed connectionsâ€¦
Your YouTube tag is justabandwidth which is very cool. Could one presume that you are total geeks?
BILL: We seem to attract an intelligent crowdâ€¦I prefer to be on my computer than at a partyâ€¦
DAN: Haha! Ms Interviewer, it’s like you know us! 😛 Yes, at least two of us are total geeks (the other one is in denial).
JIM: As in?
DAN: As in, whilst some of us spend all day turning pale indoors with computers and pencils as our only companions, others manage to maintain some kind of engagement with the outside world. Game recognize game, by the way, so should we assume that [Ms. Interviewer] is also the â€œbookish typeâ€?
JIM: So all that nonsense about Bill preferring to be at the computer is a lie. Heâ€™s the most outgoing chap. I think itâ€™s strange how itâ€™s never been cool to be a geek (only for a brief moment, when Pharrell and company emerged, then he sold out and became cool)? I mean, everyone else has had their moment in the spotlight; the skaters, the punks, the thugs, the gay boys and girls (heady times, the 80s), the Gothsâ€¦I feel disenfranchised.
I am a total geek. I did every geek thing a human being can possibly do; the braces, the spectacles, being bad at sports (except swimming, for some strange reason), being good at computers, going to cinemas to actually watch movies instead of making out at the back, actually using my library card, studying IT in college etc. If there are types of geeks, I guess Iâ€™m the finally-at-ease-with-it kind of geek.
BLINKY: You should see my primary school picturesâ€¦ then you wouldnâ€™t talk like thatâ€¦ I only go for parties becauseâ€¦
DAN: Geeks are so cool nowadays. The days of warrior kings and sportsmen politicians are gone! Now itâ€™s like, â€œBow Before My Fearsome Intellect!â€
I found the use of pictures in the video quite interesting, what is the name of the street at [1:08] of Iwinyo Piny? (I have taken pics of that street but canâ€™t remember the name for the life of me??! What of the one at [1:33] placemark?
JIM: That would be Kenyatta Avenue â€“ one of the cuter streets in town. 1:33 is the street that connects City Market to Koinange Street, I have no idea what itâ€™s called; but itâ€™s very textured.
Have you guys ever been jacked? There is a depiction in your video, of a guy being mugged and his shoes being taken. Was this a form of commentary on the crime problem in Nairobi?
DAN: Not recently. As a young person living in Nai, I think you just have to get jacked at some point. We added that bit in the video just for laughs (the video has had a lot of very cool interpretations by people and I’m always scared of telling people what we were thinking as we made it coz it’s so underwhelming… When we’re coming up with images most of the time it’s just like, hey, this would look cool! And then sometimes it comes with its own deeper meaning…)!
JIM: Incidentally, I lost my phone on Friday, and two weeks before I lost my ID and electorâ€™s card. And I also lost my wallet the other day (in a bank!) â€“ Iâ€™ve been on a roll. The bank called me the other day to say theyâ€™d found my stuff lying around in the banking hall. Thankfully, all those incidents werenâ€™t the mugging kind; they were the pickpocket kind (sigh) â€“ which is slightly more embarrassing because it makes people think you have no sense of self-awareness whatsoever.
In 2004, it was more of a problem than it is now, which is not to say that it doesnâ€™t happen anymore. People actually wear gold chains and earrings and watches on the street these days, because cases of mugging have decreased. Pickpockets still rule, damn them all to Eternal Hell. As for making commentary, I remember Daniel just thought itâ€™d be funny. Does that count?
BLINKY: I used to live in Eastleigh, It was hard to keep your new shoes, coz at one point, I was sneaker jacked, and it wasnâ€™t funny.
I found out about your band through the blog Sukuma Kenya. What are your thoughts on blogging? How do you feel about your own blogs so far?
DAN: I had never heard of that blog before today, but I looked and I thought it was kind of surprising to see Iwinyo right in the middle of a lot of politics! Haha!
I think the Net in general has really helped get the word out, Facebook and YouTube and such. Blogging has really helped add a more personal vibe to everything (especially the band blog, I think the other blogs are more like manifestos of some sort but the band’s blog is just goofing around…). I think it really helps to have an online presence as it allows you to present your stuff the way you would want it done, not in a control freak kind of way, just in the sense that, for example, I doubt that we could find a media house that would indulge our fake bio.
JIM: Except for the very cool people at Kwani Trust who just slapped it onto their site as is. Sukuma Kenya? Thatâ€™s so cool. I didnâ€™t even know that exists. Say hi to them. Blogging feels a bit self-indulgent sometimes â€“ I use my blog to provide alternative material about the process of making pictures, and the mental stuff that happens before and after. Sometimes people ask me tough questions, and I ask everyone what they think â€“ then I plagiarize the answers I receive and generally look smarter.
We used to run an underground arts-and-culture type web magazine thing a few years ago, it was called LabelRevolution, and the thing we enjoyed the most was the community feel of the site. So we try to be very inclusive about everything weâ€™re doing, because thatâ€™s how we make our music. The only reason weâ€™ve come this far (admittedly, not THAT far butâ€¦) is because we make people feel like this is something anyone could do. Whether thatâ€™s true is another matter entirely.
BLINKY: I blog sparingly of late because I tend to expose myself a lot in my writing, Iâ€™m trying to find a method of detaching myself when I do. I donâ€™t want to have the whole world know about me.
I would like to thank JAB for sending me the images from their initial storyboard, as it gives us a glimpse into their lovely animation work. The image on the left is one that shows the progression of sketching the old man’s hair.
Keep an eye on the Just-A-Band Blog, Kenyanimation Blog, and Jim’s blog for more updates. Jim will post another AfriGadget soon. (I wont reveal what it is, but it will definitely be ingenious). Thanks guys!