Less Than Jake

Posted on by Matt Frodsham

Watch the 'Conviction Notice' music video here.

I won't make any attempt to hide the fact that Less Than Jake have been one of my favourite bands from the point when I really got into music; It still feels kind of crazy to the kid in me that I have email conversations with Vinnie Fiorello about Paper + Plastick nearly 15 years after the guy's lyrics ripped a hole straight through my outlook on life. So when he asked if I had time to do an animated project for Less Than Jake I surprised myself by even thinking twice about it, the thing was I really didn't have the time and was in the final sretch of the music video for Make Do And Mend, not even knowing if I could complete that on time. It was 1 week before I headed back to Berlin to work full time for 3 more months, nevertheless I agreed to put all my time and effort during that one week into this thing.

The song was 'Conviction Notice' from the most record GNV FLA. All the footage has been shot by Trifecta Films and the idea was to produce something that resembled the amazing album artwork by Horsebites (Richard Minino). This was another apprehension of mine, Richard is one of my favourite illustrators so I didn't want to bastardise his work by making it look (too) terrible in 3D. Though recreating the style in Cinema 4D's Sketch & Toon was a no-brainer, one week is no time to consider hand animating anything!

Original artwork by Horsebites/Vincent Fiorello

Within a day I was pretty happy with the overall look of the flat shaded elements. An algorithm cannot replace an illustrator in terms of line quality or style but the rough edges and colours looked pretty cool against the stark black and white footage. Some of the elements were driven directly by certain lyrics, others on a broader scale just accented the money-woes of the song in general; having fun with it and by the end of the video there are stacks and waterfalls of money flying around for everyone.

My previous post about Discipline Skateboards talked about my first exposure to graphic design when I was younger. Well on a similar level I think the first time I realised I could even think about have a career by 'doing art' as I thought of it then was in 2003 when Less Than Jake brought out a record called Anthem. It included a different piece of artwork for each song each done by a different (local?) artist, and it was very explicit in making sure the illustrators were acknowledged and the main focus of the lyrics booklet. I though 'I can do that' and spent the next few years telling my art teachers that was what I was going to do only to be told during my first year in University by a bunch of stuff Fine Art types that nobody works in the music industry (you can insert an appropriately snarky comment here). Aswell as the artwork opening my eyes to what Illustration really could be, the video for 'The Science Of Selling Yourself Short' really amazed me and really kicked off my curiosity into motion graphics (though again, at the time had no idea about what it was called or what it entailed). So its fitting that eventually I would actually make something with Less Than Jake, but I only really imagined it. My only regret is that this will only ever be a quick 1 week project, so I sincerely hope in future we get to create something a bit more special together.

Thanks to Vinnie, Chris, Roger, JR, Buddy, and Richard Minino

Production Stills:


Final stills:


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