Unkle Luc, Miami Music Video Director, on Working With Denzel Curry, Prez P, J. Nics
There's red everywhere. Red walls. Red bed comforter. Red sheet over the ceiling light. Luc Patrick Alexandre, Jr., known to the many as Unkle Luc, is also wearing red board shorts. And if the heat inside his room were a visible color, it'd be probably be red as well.
"My favorite color is really blue," says Luc. "I work with Sydney in Theory and red is the theme of his project, and I've been working with him for a couple years. He probably influenced me with that. Red is what's up right now. Keeps me working."
The 25-year-old music video director's had little trouble staying employed for the last couple years being the go-to eye behind the lens for rising Miami hip-hop acts, including Kaleem Muhammed (formerly Phresh James), J. Nics, Prez P, and Denzel Curry, two of which have made it to MTV's RapFix "Get In The Game."
Last year, Luc completed The Wild EP, his collaborative project with Sydney in Theory (then known as Personal) with a booklet full of, well, wild beasts.
After a few emails back and forth (he doesn't own a phone), Crossfade caught up with the Miami music video director to talk about being the second in Miami with the name, The Wild EP catching steam late, and being slept on.
Crossfade: Why don't you have cell phone?
Unkle Luc: That shit gives me anxiety. It's a part of my reputation too. People know I don't have a phone. People hate that I don't have a phone. The work that I do people always have to be in contact with me. I like to isolate myself from that. Being on the phone. At some point, I lost my ability to talk on the phone, and I just realized every time I was on the phone with somebody I was just dying to get off the phone, and just like, I couldn't breathe or some shit. I'd rather just meet people and vibe.
Why don't you get a cell phone, put it on mute, and have the alert on for emails or texts?
I thought about it. I had an iPhone for a month, and then I was like, "Fuck it, man." It's been like two years since I've had a phone.
You would think it's a necessity, though.
Ima bring the phone back, but I just had to get away for a while. Actually, it was unintentional because I had my little brother on my plan, and for like five months, he stopped paying. And then I was just carrying all that extra debt. I couldn't do it anymore. I didn't want to pay that shit.
Though not spelled the same, why do did you chose the name Unkle Luc when Miami already has an Uncle Luke?
Being from Miami, Uncle Luke is just the guy. My name is Luke. In elementary, I remember it was big to do the "Doo Doo Brown" beat with your hands on the table. That was something I was good at.
When did they start calling you Unkle Luc?
People would joke about that since elementary. I chose it as my MySpace name around '06. In high school, people would call me that. I just chose to keep it. And that was the beginning of everything that I do now. That's when I started learning out to do design and photograph and everything, in 2006.
The Wild EP dropped November of last year. But it seems like it went under the radar up until the first quarter of 2013. Why do you think that is?
I don't know. I can't really answer that. It's always like that. This is the first project that Sydney in Theory dropped, but I guess, my only guess is it had to be a slow process. I don't think it was something for the majority of people that could instantly grasp on to it and soak it in instantly, because it's a lot of layers to what the project is because it's contributions from both of us as far as the story goes and the content, visually and audibly.
What also seems to get lost in the shuffle is that you directed Prez P's "As I Ride By" and co-directed Denzel Curry's "Threatz" and both made RapFix's "Get in the Game." Is there a little sense that you may be slept on?
Yeah, like in the back of my mind. One thing I can understand is the way I view everything, as far as achievements, you're going to be in place to do whatever you're ready to do. I have two parts in my mind. One part is understanding how everything has to go in stages and I'll realize certain things or walk through certain doors when I'm ready to walk through them, just knowing by how I work and what I need to work on with myself in order to get to higher levels. But being slept on is a major fuel for me since the beginning of all this. Just the things I knew I wanted to do and the time before I had cameras, just dreaming about having certain cameras or just being do certain shit.
What's been the most difficult shoot for you?
I feel like very shoot is kind of easy and difficult. It's just depending on how I feel. When I have to shoot, I get anxiety for every shoot that I have to do. I be feeling like two people sometimes. I have an understanding side and an unknowing side. And my unknowing side is my wild side. Every shoot, depending on my vibe, I go into it, like, "Fuck, do I really know how to shoot a video?" And then as soon as I turn the camera on, it's like same old shit but new ideas get attracted depending on the environment and stuff like that.
That's the second time you've mentioned anxiety. How do you battle that?
I smoke a lot of weed and trip on acid. I'm not as full of anxiety as I used to be, but I'm mellow now. I like to smoke weed. That keeps me chillin'. And meditating.
You use the lighting of your surroundings when you shoot at night instead of setting up lighting. Why?
It looks better to me. It's a more natural look. It comes from photography and stuff. That's just the style I like to go with. When I was shooting photography, I still shoot photography, but when I was more focused on shooting photography, I used to like to dabble in lighting. I used flashes and shit like that. But it was harder to get that type of lighting outdoors, because you needed to buy batteries or get a generator or something. I had to learn a style that took advantage of street lights and used lenses that don't need thousands of dollars worth of lighting to get it to look cool.
In another interview you said competition is self-defeating because there are infinite amount of ideas. But don't you think some competition breeds more ideas?
I know I was kind of contradicting myself when I was saying that. I definitely compete. I compete with myself.
I don't try to compete in a public way. I don't try to shit on people or anything. I keep on an eye on shit, and I just try to pay attention on what not to do and make sure I'm keeping it fresh.
What is it about yourself that makes people want to work with you?
I don't know. People relate to me. The people I work best with are the people I've built somewhat of a friendship with. And these are the people I've had time to chill with. I try to make sure we get off some type of vibe. I get their ideas. I think the majority of the videos are my interpretations of people's ideas.
Follow Lee Castro on Twitter @LeeMCastro.
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