What We Learned From the Animators of Dan Deacon's “When I Was Done Dying” Music Video

9 artists teamed up to create an exquisite corpse music video for a special episode of Adult Swim's 'Off the Air.'

Apr 1 2015, 5:30pm

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Nine artists joined forces to create an animated exquisite corpse for Dan Deacon’s latest music video, “When I Was Done Dying,” off new album Gliss Riffer (Domino). From illustrator Jake Fried's coffee and whiteout craniums to KOKOFREAKBEAN's sci-fi assembly line, watching the collaboration—which launched earlier this week as part of Adult Swim series, Off the Air—is like stepping into a whirlpool of imaginary 2D and 3D worlds.

“Lately, I like thinking about my body, memory, and consciousness being all entirely separate and constantly changing and how they will all expire at different times,” Deacon explains on the Off the Air Tumblr. Each of the artists, including Jake Fried, Chad VanGaalen, Dimitri Stankowicz, Colin White, Taras Hrabowsky, Anthony Schepperd, Masanobu Hiraoka, Caleb Wood, and KOKOFREAKBEAN were interviewed about their creative processes, styles, and inspirations. We dug in and pulled out a few choice quotes, and paired them with our favorite moments from "When I Was Done Dying": 

Jake Fried

"My films are not pre-planned, they become themselves through the process of making. I try to let the work tell me what’s next, one frame at a time. I would rather follow an unknown path then execute a plan."

Chad VanGaalen

"I love all my creatures and yes, most of them have a back story... My life changed forever when I read the Incal in junior high school and ever since then I have been drawn into a similar quasi future/retro world of creatures and technology. I really love how Jean Giraud nailed the battle ravaged look of his environments, and the people wear silly hats? Of course they wear silly fucking hats! A true master. RIP Moebius."

Caleb Wood

"I’ve always wanted to try so many things in artmaking, I find it impossible to remain in a consistent style or frame of thought for long periods of time. I find it hugely beneficial to cultivate different aspects, or areas of interest, within my work. This way my ideas have a bunch of different rooms in my head where they can bounce around freely until they land in the most suitable area."

Hiraoka Masanobu

"Color is very important for animation. I think the color is something with which a worldview is made."

Colin White

"I am completely fascinated with creatures. I would say that my interest in vehicles could be considered part of a more general interest in technology. The origin of these interests is something I have a very difficult time trying to describe. It seems most accurate to say that fascinations like these have driven me to create art."

Dimitri Stankowicz

"The music or any sound design are equal important than the visual for me. I try to make them both inseparable in order to make something else. When I listen to interesting music, sometimes some ideas and visual pop in my mind and I try to make an animation about that."

Anthony Schepperd

"I’ve spent some time oil painting. One of my least favorite kinds of painting is completely smoothed and perfectly rendered painting. I like seeing those brush strokes. I like seeing the hand of the artist. So I try to animate like that. Loose in a way that makes sure you know a human did this."


"I’m about as sane and sturdy as a stack of hot glued celery and bamboo, so don’t go thrashing and trashing my good name with that i-word, Mister Mister. I put things where the voices tell me to put them and I don’t ask no questions. If things are moving too fast for you, that must mean I have to make them faster so the egg-like plasma that’s supposed to leak out of your ear canals afterward has a more viscous texture."

Taras Hrabwosky

"I ended up learning all the software I use for that express purpose: smash shit up (and usually turn it to goo). Theres a communication with the kind of software you use to make dynamics like these instead of a dictation which helps me survive the process. I didn’t come from a computer background so much, but wanted to take the same programs that were used to create massive commercial and film entertainment and divert their general use…although maybe to the same end. Also, just wanted my paintings to move." 

Check out the full interviews on Over the Air.


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