Directed and animated by Julien Calemard and Thami Nabil, and animated by Hedi Nabil, Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ new music video, Poster Child, marks the band’s return after six years with a slew of references to their LA roots. Refreshingly, the animation team has leaned into the abundance of clichés associated with the city for a fun new journey through well-trodden ground.
“We tried to produce an aesthetic that fit a certain idea that we have as French people [of] LA; the surf/skate/Pacific climate/soft vibe that, at the same time, can twist at any moment. It’s the clichés that we have,” director Thami Nabil tells It’s Nice That. “None of us have ever been there or even met people from LA, or even from California.”
To pull off this vision of the city, airbrushing and loose cartoon forms form the basis of the work. Thami explains that the animation fuses multiple references, including: Big Wednesday, Lords of Dogtown, the walls of Agnès Varda and a very pop passage from Belladonna of Sadness; the cartoon series SuperJail! and the work of comic artist Brent Engstrom also play a vital role.
As for the challenges of the project, limited time became a primary guiding factor for the animators. “The advantage of this constraint is that it forced us to be more synthetic, more efficient, more instinctive and less precious; it allowed us to see what we produce when we are in freewheel,” says Thami, “and to surprise us.” On the flip side, the disadvantage meant less time to focus on narration. Although, Thami explains this ended up working to the animators’ benefit, as the loose visual style meant leaning away from narrative or stylistic coherence. For the team, this is all part of the animation work; “it’s the work environment that plays on what we can propose,” says Thami.
Poster Child is the latest of two singles from RHCP’s new album, Unlimited Love, out 1 April.