Fresh Takes: The Stylized Vision of Giovanni Bucci’s ‘Disobey’ and ‘Sugar’
For our latest Fresh Takes, we share with AWN readers the work of LA-based Dutch Italian director and musician Giovanni Bucci and his creative studio, Void ‘N Disorder. While his director’s reel showcases a wide variety of wonderfully inventive projects – his resume includes award winning videos for Korn and motion design work on films like Star Trek, RoboCop and Pacific Rim – his two most recent projects are the focus of our rapt attention.
Sleek, stylized visual design, stark, provocative subject matter, broodingly dark color schemes and a judicious use of jump cuts – the kind that, after repeated viewing, make it suddenly seem plausible your cat has been trying to suffocate you as you sleep – permeate Bucci’s aggressive and uniquely designed motion graphics and animation, best exemplified in two new music videos: ODDKO’s Disobey and Fleshgod Apocalypse’s Sugar, These are not your father’s music vids my friends. Or, maybe they are, in which case, your father is alright by me.
Bucci’s creative vision is engaging, developed over a 15-year career spent conceptualizing, designing, animating, directing, editing and compositing on commercials, music videos, promos, title sequences and other motion design and animated projects. “My style is edgy and distinctive, with a particular emphasis on audio-visual integration,” he shares. “I’m less interested in the type of project than the kind of style it tries to convey – dark, edgy weird, stylized, or elegant – and whether it is well thought out and executed. I don’t like projects that prioritize quantity over quality. I do this work because I love all forms of art, and video is something that can bring them all together in one experience. I prefer projects where there is time to do research, use custom-made props, have live-action shoots, and include CGI, typography design, and music scoring.”
ODDKO is Bucci’s new band, a “manifestation of the animal within,” and Disobey, based on one of the 13 tracks of their debut album, Escape the Maze, provides compelling evidence of his creative expertise in matching up sight and sound so deftly. Bucci describes Disobey as a “multidisciplinary art project that integrates dozens of detailed, disparate production elements into one cohesive vision, sound, and beat… it explores themes of Man vs. Machine, of Nature vs. Technology, and paints the Goddess Hekate as a 21st Century nightmare, ensnaring victims and bending them to her will.” Took the words right out of my mouth.
In developing the piece, Bucci produced a detailed animatic that captured precise 3D camera movements and seamless integration of the visuals with the sound. An elaborately designed, acted, costumed and photographed piece, Disobey’s provocation leans overtly sexual – the celloist with the electrical tape is but one example of orchestral maneuvers not often on display when I catch the L.A. Philharmonic. But as a film that brings together such an outrageous maelstrom of sights and sounds, paced and cut so expertly, Disobey is both intoxicating and satisfying at the same time. The energy of the integrated components is fantastic. And the music itself, while not for everyone, is much to my liking.
With Sugar, we careen from animal skulls and leather to a head-banging mosh pit. And love it! The video, as best as I can describe, is a descent into visceral madness (involving all senses including some I didn’t know I had), courtesy of the Italian symphonic death metal band Fleshgod Apocalypse. Filled to the brim with gothic overtones, driven by thumping double base drums and speed metal guitar thrash, punctuated with copious amounts of blood and some CG, Sugar is not for the faint of heart. There are lyrics, though without an Internet search, they are a mystery to me. However, as a music video, for an ITALIAN SYMPHONIC DEATH METAL BAND, the vid is dynamite.
Bucci’s wide-ranging sense of style and creativity draws inspiration from many places. “Of course, I see a lot of art and design, but I am most inspired by stepping a bit outside of our industry and embracing real life, not just the entertainment world,” he reveals. “I always try to create something original and feel that if I base my research too much on other artists’ work, it all becomes very similar. Too many times, we all look at the same references. If something starts to become a trend, that’s the exact moment you should avoid it. Things that are trendy last only a short time and get old the moment they are over.”
Most recently, Bucci was impressed with the work in James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez’s Alita: Battle Angel. “I’ve been so busy with projects that I haven’t gotten to see too many movies lately,” he notes. “But, by far, my favorite was Alita: Battle Angel. The characters and visuals were really well-designed and executed and I loved being immersed in this imaginary futuristic world. Everything was amazing, but the story, though cool, didn’t blow my mind.”
Like most deliberate and thoughtful artists, Bucci hopes to impact his audience in many ways, providing something for everyone no matter their perspective. “When I direct a project, I try to make something that can provide meaning on different levels,” he explains. “It can be seen just for the visual appeal, but I also add hints to deeper concepts that I hope will challenge people to think about a topic. I also like to leave some space for the viewers’ imagination, so that the audience can interpret the video based on their own point of view. It’s like a mystery box: I don’t dictate the conclusion — I would rather have everyone come to one based on their own experience and point of view. My main artistic goal is to entertain while at the same time make people question the world.”
Bucci also shares with AWN an interesting take on the idea of giving, and receiving, artistic career advice. “I have never been one to take advice very easily, so I don’t have a good story to tell about someone wise who influenced me,” he confides. “If I were to give anyone advice, I would suggest not to follow anyone’s advice blindly, and to do your research to see what works for you. You probably will receive a ton of advice, but it all changes based on context, what your personality is, and what you want to do. There is no one that can really guide you apart from yourself. You will make many mistakes, but that’s life!”
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For more information about Bucci’s work, visit his website and find him on social media:
Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-at-Large of Animation World Network.