Directors Nick Manterola and Garfield Larmond on Young Thug and Drake's "Oh U Went" Music Video

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Nick Manterola / Garfield Larmond

What happens when two of the most well-connected and cutting edge visionaries join forces to create a music video for a hit song by some of the hottest artists in the world? Well, something like the insane new music video for Young Thug and Drake's, Oh U Went, is likely to be suspected.

Nick Manterola is a filmmaker, writer, visual artist and the Creative Director at Stone Hill Productions. His creative vision and expertise spans across television, music, design, and fashion.

Garfield Larmond is the artistic manager for none other than Young Thug. Larmond brings Thugs vision to life and he's already produced some epic projects with the hit rapper.

The Oh U Went music video combines the creative capabilities of these two imaginative geniuses. The video just dropped at 1pm ET. We were lucky to have exclusive time to chat with Manterola and Larmond to ask them some of our burning questions about the project and life as a music video director. Keep reading to hear all about it.

ONE37pm: What is it like to work with artists like Young Thug and Drake?

Nick: It’s absolutely surreal. I could’ve never imagined being part of something like this within a year of moving to LA to chase my dreams. Working with Thug and Drake is to work with two visionary artists. To be trusted in translating the vibe of a song into a visual is so special, when I first heard their collaboration I was instantly taken to a nostalgic place, especially with Metro’s use of the Stylistics sample.

Garfield: Working with both Thug and Drake has been an amazing experience. I've known Young Thug since late 2015 after I graduated college. Before I got into the management side of his world, I was his photographer and creative director. The first album cover we created together was the Jeffery cover so we started off with a crazy creative synergy that continued to grow over the years. I met Drake through Thug when we did the Boy Meets World Tour which was a great international touring experience. It was on that tour where I got to see how Drake and his team create the immersive shows that he still does to this day. From my perspective, I look at artists in this industry like everyday people. We're all humans creating these crazy pieces at the end of the day so gaining the trust from Thug over the years and working on a project like this has been surreal.

ONE37pm: What challenges did you face making this music video?

Nick: This project was certainly an adventure, from pulling together clutch concepts and trying to pin down shoot days. I can’t thank Garfield enough for the trust to direct alongside him. After a 48 hours notice and a series of phone calls with our super producer Vaughn Dawson, we were rolling. Any time an artist isn’t physically available to shoot their performance to camera, it’s always a challenge. How do you get Thug’s verses in if he’s not able to be on set? After some thought, we thought who better to speak on his behalf than his own community. A talented cast made up of family members, fellow artists and young actors out of Atlanta helped bring that vision to life. A massive thank you for their help in recreating this moment.

Garfield: Like Nick said, we faced the challenge of time and availability from a few different perspectives but we found ways to make sure we got this piece done the right way. With Thug not able to be present, he had to trust that we would execute a vision that would do the song justice. We would speak daily as much as we could and he even called while we were on set where we would give him quick updates. Using his community in Atlanta to speak for him was definitely the perfect way to bring that vision to life. On Drake's end, we knew he was starting the It's All A Blur tour so we had to head to Memphis, TN to shoot where he was rehearsing. When you watch the video you see that he's actually at a family bbq/reunion so when we flew in we didn't have a clear picture on time and location. But our Memphis crew got in early and we made the day work with ease thanks to Drake's team.

ONE37pm: What was the creative inspiration behind the music video?

Nick: When the team first sent me the song, it made me feel nostalgia, a summertime memory from the past we all wish we could access again. Metro, Thug and Drake created a feeling that I wanted to portray in their shared hometown of Atlanta, but with Jeffrey being incarcerated, we thought who better to speak on his behalf than his own community. The energy that Drake’s verse brings to this track is second to none, and I think it translated visually through his connection and love for his own tribe.

Garfield: Yeah the idea came about after we sat on the phone for a while exploring a few creative options. Once Nick sparked the idea of the Atlanta community being the voice of the video with that summertime nostalgic feel, we took off running and started planning immediately. 

ONE37pm: Who do you look up to in the industry?

Nick: There’s always the legends of cinema, right?  But if you look more into the niche we work in whether it’s music, commercials or shorts - I think there’s a select few creatives that stand out. I’d definitely say Tyrone Lebon, Dev Hynes, Onda, Diana Kunst and Julian Klincewicz.

Garfield: When I look at the creative industry there are definitely some individuals and collectives that stand out. Dave Free and pgLang is a great example of creating outside of the mold. Hidji, Stillz, Bradley Calder, Neal Farmer, and plenty of others. I’m inspired everyday by what creatives are doing in this industry. 

ONE37pm: What's your process behind making a music video? Are you working closely with the artist on ideas or are you bringing them the concept?

Nick: It really depends. Sometimes the artist is more collaborative, sometimes they need the support to bring forth a concept to their sound. I love working with an artist who is down to get dirty in all stages of production - I think the beauty in working as a team is in the colliding of minds. It all generally starts with identifying the sort of energy that comes from a piece, then marrying a narrative that embraces and houses that vibe. I love cinema, so every music video I touch, there has to be at least the slightest taste of that “old Hollywood” characteristic.

Garfield: So this question extends beyond just music videos for me and into the idea of building a world with an artist in general. When I begin working with an artist on a music video, album cover, or any creative concept, I like to immerse myself into their world and their thought process to get a feel for where they're at. I want to hear the music, learn what it feels like, what it looks like, what they see in themselves and what they want their fans to see when they look at them. Sometimes I get artists that have no idea and I can just sit with what I have available to me and cook up concepts. Other times I have artists that know what they want and just don't know how to say it so I take my energy and become almost like a creative translator. Conceptualize, execute, deliver. 

ONE37pm: What makes a good music video?

Nick: Good energy, great storytelling, and even better detail work. The beauty is all in the details. I love when a piece all comes together, especially when the story comes full circle at the end.

Garfield: I think a good music video can come in many forms because there are so many different approaches to take depending on who's creating the video. I love some videos that are just one shot on a tripod with an interesting frame and character on the screen. Then there are other videos that are cut so crazy that I have to hit pause to realize what I'm looking at... but it works. So with that said I think a good music video is just a good energy. A good translation of the sonic to the visual. 

Nick: I also want to thank Drake for allowing us to fly into Memphis and the whole Graham family for inviting us to shoot at their cookout. The energy his verse brings to this track is second to none, and I think it translated visually through his connection and love for his own tribe.

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