In Deer Tribe Medicine and the concept of the Medicine Wheel there are 30 Sacred Laws and one of them is the Zero to Nine Law. Simply stated the belief is that there are only 2 numbers: Zero and One. Surrounding the One are Nine Aspects.
Embarking upon the animation for the song Little Fluffy Clouds chose to encompass and reflect these concepts in a modern day version of a dreamscape. Humanity appears trapped in a helpless nightmare scenario but in reality is simply moving through the Sacred Laws towards its own destiny.
In keeping with the birth and regeneration theme of Zero into Nine a darker palette of midnight blues, purples and plums was applied. We enlivened that base with dynamic bursts of light effects and atmosphere to produce scatterings of dust or haze. This freed us up to place the action anywhere from an intimate nightclub stage through a suffocating bedroom, to the tree of life or floating underwater or through the Universe at large.
It's always gratifying to work on a project that doesn't have specific design guidelines. It allows an opportunity to flex both creative and technical muscles and expand the scope of the work beyond the original ask.
Jerry van de Beek – Little Fluffy Clouds
On the Production
“When I first heard the song I liked it right away. I felt it was taking me on an unusual journey but it wasn’t completely clear to me what it was all about - although it did leave me with a strong feeling. I listened to it a couple of more times trying to fully understand it but then it struck me what I liked about it so much.
There was a certain abstraction to it. It’s like any good artwork it doesn’t tell you what to think but instead makes you do the thinking. For me that’s the strength of Zero into Nine. It has the power to make you reflect your own feelings and thoughts and connect those to the song.
Once I understood that, images began to form, so we quickly wrote up visual descriptions for each scene and I dove straight into animation. It took a couple of months to complete the project because there’s a lot to it. We actually threw out a couple of fully rendered scenes in favor of what you see now because we wanted to make the story flow even better and sometimes you have to be your own harshest critic.
Laura and Mike are a great team. They were amazingly easy to work with and super supportive of each scene as we moved through the animation and in taking some major changes in stride along the way. It was one of the smoothest productions we’ve ever worked on.
I don’t think it would help to explain or x-ray each scene. Like the song we gave all the scenes an abstraction in its meaning even though there’s enough connection and rhythm between each scene to create some kind of flow and story line. I think we all connect with the images in our own way. Our goal was to visually provoke thoughts and feelings in the same way the song does. It sure does for me. I’d love to hear your interpretation.”
Laura Milligan – The Extravagants
On penning Zero into Nine
“Mike (King) wrote the music and I loved his unique melody line—the vibe seemed very James Bond but we didn’t want to go too far in that direction lyrically. I wanted to capture how it felt to experience the paradigm shift we collectively felt when Covid hit. For me it was a loss of ground and breath so I wanted to incorporate the radical physics going on at the time. There were crazy dreams and anxiety, yet there was (always is) hope. Trees and Animals helped me find a way back into my body… We are all in this infinite matrix of a beautiful cosmic spirograph of LOVE — but it don’t always feel that way and sometimes we can freak the f*** out.”
On Seeing the Animation
“We really were speechless and gobsmacked when we saw what LFC did with the song. They took a capable rock song and made it into a complete work of art on a WHOLE other dimensional level!!! The choices they made were SO deep, thrilling and intelligent; themes that can be contemplated and read into differently on multiple viewings. To me, the animation is literally breathtaking! There is nothing “obvious” about this piece and it brought out big ideas and themes in time space consciousness that blow me away every time I watch it. Not to mention how technically superb and advanced it is!”
On Working with Little Fluffy Clouds
“Mike and I knew that we wanted this song fully animated and a mutual friend, Bob Specter, suggested Little Fluffy Clouds. We were introduced to their film, Yellowstone 88 – Song of Fire, and we immediately KNEW that we REALLY wanted them for the project! Yellowstone 88 made us emotional in its beauty, depth and unique style of animation. Betsy’s poem is so moving and then the way it is treated is tremendous. There is a oneness between Human and Animal Spirit that Little Fluffy Clouds can really articulate. So we were over the moon that we could make this song come to life with Little Fluffy Clouds.
In our initial consultation with Betsy and Jerry, I think Mike and I felt an instant connection and airwave communication with the collective vision we had for Zero into Nine. After telling them just a little bit about the influences for the content of the song—including my study of Deer Tribe Medicine as well as Physics—Jerry and Betsy had at it and the result was truly beyond our wildest dreams! There was a charmed synchronicity to this whole collaboration that was tacit and divinely inspired, I think. And now, I cannot imagine this song without this work of art animation. In short, we were blown the f*** away!;)
- Production, Design, Animation:
- Little Fluffy Clouds
- Director, Designer, Animator:
- Jerry van de Beek
- Art Counselor, Producer:
- Betsy de Fries
- Song by:
- The Extravagants
- Michael King
- Laura Milligan
- Produced by:
- Fab DuPont
- Mixed by:
- Fab DuPont
- at Flux Studios
- Laura Milligan
- Michael King
- Jeff Friedl
- Matt McJunkins
- Fab DuPont
- Recorded at:
- Secret Hand Studios LA
- Magnetic Owl Studios CA
- Flux Studios NY
- Link to The Extravagants website www.theextravagants.com
- Production of Little Fluffy Clouds LLC - ©2022
- Zero InTo Nine Copyright: MilliKing Music - ©2022