Interview with Beeple

Always appreciating good visuals, I accidently stumbled across one of Mike Winkelmann‘s clips some years ago already. But it wasn't until the amazing Kill Your Co-workers video for Flying Lotus until I consciously got aware of his work.

It's been a while since the last feature of a visual artist feature, so I spoke with Mike a couple of days ago.

Can you give an introduction on who you are and what you do?

My name is Mike Winkelmann and I release films, VJ loops and graphic design shit under the name Beeple.

I guess you got on a lot of people's radar through your video for Flying Lotus, how did that come about, how did you meet?

A friend of his showed him some of my work and he gave me a call out of the blue. I'd never actually heard of him before then, but the label he's on, Warp, is my all-time favorite. I very quickly fell in love with his shit and the whole LA beat scene music in general. Turns out after listening to his shit, I had actually heard a ton of his music before because through a radio station on Pandora I had seeded with Dabrye who makes very similiar music.

How was it to work with him? Did he give you any directions on what he had in mind for the video or did you have full artistic freedom?

It was really good. He have me an enormous amount of freedom. I'd really just send him a screenshot here and there every couple months and he'd be like “rad!! can't wait to see it finished.” But it's funny because in the end, the film turned out to be exactly what he said it was when we first talked. When we first talked he said “the music is like a parade” just describing it and after tossing around a bunch of other ideas, I was finally like fuck it, I'll just make it a parade.

Since then I've noticed a lot of your loops and videos use music from the Brainfeeder camp. Will there be more “big” collaborations like music videos or audio-visual shows?

Ummm, well I just got done doing some visuals for Deadmau5 so you should see pieces of that in his current tour, but other than that I'd hunkering down and working on my next film/ music video, IV.10 [Instrumental Video]

What's your usual workflow? Where do you draw your inspiration from?

My work flow usually involves a retarded amount of experimentation. I usually sit down with only very vague ideas in mind of shit I'd like to fuck with. Usually things turn out nothing like I'd planned. I like just sort of going with it and seeing where it takes you. I get inspiration from a lot of the good design blogs out there, Abduzeedo, Design You Trust, Cruzine, Behance, etc. I'm inspired by a lot of different styles moreso than specific people.

Is working as a VJ something you do or do you prefer creating material others can use?

Nope, I'm definitely no VJ, don't know shit about it really. I have done it a few times but where I live there is really no audience and to be honest I'm not really into the whole live scene that much. The idea of it appeals to me, but I'm much more interested in just making cool little clips that appeal to me. I was making these clips looong before I had ever even heard of VJs. Only recently has it occured to me to release them as VJ clips for others to use but it's been really fucking sweet seeing people use them.

While I sympathize with the Creative Commons idea, I was rather surprised to see high quality material like yours released under such open conditions. Maybe you can tell a little about your philosophy doing so and where it comes from.

It basically comes from me wanting to get my shit out there for people to see. I used to spend a lot of money trying to get into film festivals to get my shit shown, only to have it rejected by a panel of douche-lords. Now I can just put out a clip for free and have a fuckton of people show it to others all over the world without me having to do shit!

I think the other reason is that I've learned so much from the kindness and generosity of others, I feel like I need to give back any way I can.

What projects have you been working on lately?

Just been working on IV.10, one day i'd really love to finish this motherfucker!!!!!!11111111111 🙂

For more of Beeple's work, check out his website and his portfolio on Vimeo. Also worth checking is the stuff he likes and tweets about.

Published on September 20, 2011

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