A man is chased through an ever-changing world by the titular character of "Diamond Wizard," the new music video from animator and director Steven Menegozzi for rapper, Beans. In it, a dreamscape is manipulated by the wizard, replete with barber shops of menacing hair clippers, bowls of pasta with eyeballs, and other bizarre happenings.
Beans, a founding member of legendary hip-hop group Anti-Pop Consortium, is back with a trilogy of new solo work after a five-year break. "Diamond Wizard" is taken from the first album in the trilogy, Wolves of the World, and the visuals for the music video were based on a concept by Beans himself.
"It started with some storyboards Beans gave me, outlining a strange journey a man takes after leaving his bed," Menegozzi tells Creators. "I took took those and added the idea of the diamond wizard manipulating everything as a dream. Beans left the interpretation of the song to me, and rather than pay that close attention to the lyrics, I tried to match the pace of the video to the energy of the song."
Menegozzi cites video games as an influence on his aesthetic, with particular affection for the PS1/Dreamcast era of gaming in the late 90s. He specifically references those pre-rendered 3D animations that would reward those who had put the dedication in to complete a game. "They'd often have very limited character animation and were just starting to use effects like global illumination. My video shares those similarities, though more out of necessity," notes Menegozzi. The director also makes GIFs of fake games from that period over at fakevideogames.tumblr.com.
Along with this, another style that fed into the video was the 2001 animation, Wave Twisters. It was directed by Eric Henry and Syd Garon and based on DJ Q-Bert's album of the same name. Matched to the beats of the music, the film featured DJ Q-Bert as character Darth Fader and took inspiration from Saturday morning cartoons, NASA space imagery, turntablism, and sci-fi. It featured a mix of animation styles synced to the sounds, and was produced using Adobe After Effects.
"I love the constantly changing visuals throughout it [Wave Twisters], and the combination of 2D, 3D, and live action. [For "Diamond Wizard"] I wanted to combine 3D foregrounds with flat backgrounds to create weird perspectives. I would start with modeling in Cinema 4D and block out some scenes and then do some test renders. I'd fill in backgrounds for them in After Effects and after having a few small animations, I started figuring out how to put them all together, which then lead to new scenes. I was figuring it out as I made it."
Check out the video below: