Kevin Kerslake is a producer and director most commonly known for his iconic music videos and documentaries for big name artists long “before they became household names”. He has worked with such artists as The Ramones, Green Day, Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rise Against, 12th Planet, Afrojack, Benny Benassi, David Guetta, Deadmau5, Kaskade, Moby, MSTRKRFT, Simian Mobile Disco, Swedish House Mafia, Will.I.Am and more.
His most recent project was the documentary concert film Electric Daisy Carnival Experience. Currently available through Video On Demand and global digital downloading from iTunes, this flick focuses on Insomniac’s annual electronic music festival which is held in the South West US on the last weekend of June. From 1997 to 2010 the event was held in Southern California but was moved to Las Vegas last t summer (June 2011).
The film’s premiere at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood was so wild the LAPD’s Riot Squad was brought in to shut down Hollywood Boulevard by using rubber bullets and tear gas. Fans of electronic music proved once more to be the most fanatical. The film features performances by the world’s top music producers and DJs and interviews with leaders of the genre. Kerslake commented: “Attending the Electric Daisy Carnival is a colorful, vibrant, visceral experience,” adding “My goal in making the Electric Daisy Carnival Experience film was to create the next best thing to actually being there – an immersive cinematic experience that brought as much of the actual feeling of being there to the viewer,”
Kerslake also stated; “It’s a testament to the size of electronic music’s enormous fan base that we were not only able to screen the film nationally in theaters across the country, but that it is now performing extremely well on all the major distribution platforms like VOD and digital download. As we follow this up with a DVD release in January 2012, it’s abundantly clear this scene is ‘underground’ in perception only.”
Your raving writer recently had an opportunity to question Kerslake further about the event, his career and the genre itself. Here is the complete interview:
Phoenix: My readers may not be totally familiar with you and your work so please tell them a bit about yourself and your work.
Kerslake: I cut my teeth directing music videos (Sonic Youth, Cypress Hill, Smashing Pumpkins, Green Day, Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Mazzy Star, Rise Against), commercials (DC Shoes, Burton, Nike, Puma, Sprite, Coca-Cola) and doing photography (David Bowie, James Cameron, Korn, Quentin Tarentino, Crystal Method). Along the way, I made documentaries set in the world of music (Nirvana, The Ramones, Soundgarden) and action sports (Quiksilver). In the year 2000, I made the first full-length Electric Daisy Carnival Movie. I’ve shot all of Insomniac’s events for the last half-dozen years or so, which footage ends up being the meat of their trailers and commercials.
Phoenix: Along those lines tell us about your first paid job in the industry.
Kerslake: My first music video was “Shadow of a Doubt” for Sonic Youth. The band’s bassist, Kim Gordon, was starring in a movie I was doing at the time, and we decided to make a little detour one day.
Phoenix: What do you consider your best work so far? Why?
Kerslake: Best to leave that up to the people who watch, but the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Soul To Squeeze” video haunts me, because I find the aerodynamic qualities of
the Conehead so intoxicating.
Phoenix: What do you want the audience to take away from the Electric Daisy Carnival Experience Concert Film Documentary?
Kerslake: I hope it helps people get their funk on, love thy neighbor, do good things . . . and revel in the many juicy splendors of Electric Daisy Carnival.
Phoenix: Are you surprised about the current popularity of electronic music? What do you think about it?
Kerslake: The popularity of electronic music seems to come in waves, and this latest swell seems to have spiked dramatically. It’s at that evolutionary point right now where a lot of other music genres like punk rock, grunge, hip hop, etc., were either commodified by mainstream culture or they held true. Time will tell.
Phoenix: With whom did you enjoy working the most?
Kerslake: I can find something to love in everybody.
Phoenix: Tell my readers something you have never before shared with an audience.
Kerslake: Focus is overrated.
Phoenix: (smiling) OK, so what are your influences?
Kerslake: Although I gorged on a diet of experimental film for many years, played in bands, myself, and became obsessed with certain literary giants, I think the thing that made the most indelible imprint on me was boots-on-the-ground experience. There’s no substitute for being there — wherever you are — and translating it into your own artistic expression.
Phoenix: How would you describe the relationship between music and filmmaking?
Kerslake: Music is what all film hopes to be.
Phoenix: Interesting. Now generally when I interview artists I always give them an open opportunity to discuss anything they wish, promote a special project or charity and basically speak their mind on any subject. So, the floor is yours . . .
Kerslake: I’m currently doing an anthology musical series with Tim Armstrong from Rancid and The Transplants, which just started airing on Vevo called “Tim Timebomb’s
RockNRoll Theater.” It’s an eclectic cross between The Twilight Zone and Rocky Horror Picture Show and every frame is a f*cking riot.
Phoenix: (doing his best Rod Serling impression) Picture a dimension of sight and sound . . . a dimension where people . . . do the time warp again! (Ducking head) Uh, sorry. Anyway, thanks, Kevin, for spending some time with my readers and me.
There you have it, boys and girls. That’s the complete interview with Kevin Kerslake. The newest project sounds like a lot of fun! The Electric Daisy Carnival Experience will be available on DVD through Ultra Records on January 10th, 2012 from all leading physical and online retail outlets.
My name is Phoenix and . . . that’s the bottom line.