Interview: Hunter Lyon Films

No dream is too small. Just ask Hunter Lyon, an 18-year-old film student from Connecticut. For anyone who spends time on some of the most popular music blogs, you’ve definitely seen his name. In just a short period time, Hunter Lyon has directed videos for Internet favorites Jitta On The Track, OCD: Moosh & Twist, and more. As his stock continues to rise, so do his visions. In the near future, his videos will be, “next-level productions” and bigger than ever. Below is what Hunter says is his, “first big interview,” and I’m honored to have been granted that opportunity.

Who is Hunter Lyon?

Hunter Lyon is an 18-year-old kid from a small town in Connecticut. I grew up in Connecticut and my senior year in high school is when I started directing music videos because I saw the need for local up and coming artists to get affordable visuals for their music to gain fans online.

How did you get into filmmaking?

I got into filmmaking when I was around 12 years old. I found an old camera at my grandparent’s house and just messed around until my dad saw I had a gift for a 12 year old and he got me a little camera.

Monty Python and The Holy Grail inspired me; it inspired me to make little Lego movies. I also skate boarded so I would film videos and edit them and you know, just make little YouTube videos of random funny stuff.

What are some of your goals?

I just want to be successful doing what I love, you know? That’s what everyone wants. I don’t want work at a job that I hate going into everyday, so I want to really just be a positive influence on people and make great films. Eventually in life I would love to work on real feature length movies, but you gotta to take it one day at a time.

Who are some of your inspirations?

From a music video standpoint, I’d really say Alex Nazari. That dude is amazing at creating an atmosphere and feel for every video he does. Although I’ve been working on a lot of outdoor, daytime locations, in the extremely near future you’re gonna see some really crazy next-level production. It’s awesome. I’m really excited for everyone to see the stuff me and a few other artists have been working on! Another director not too much older than me, Jakob Owens, has been a big influence on me, he’s another dude who pushes the limit of independent music videos and his grind is crazy man. My dad is also a huge inspiration to me, because he never stops working. He’s taught me many times over that hard work pays off, so that’s why I keep working and putting out videos.

Was it your intention to become a music video director? Do you have a musical background?

It was actually not my intention to become a music video director at all. I actually thought I would hate doing them, until I actually did. Now I can’t stop making them! I’m a huge music head. I’m one of those kids who always has headphones in his ears, listening to music 24/7. Like I said before, I was really into music for a lot of my life. My dad and grandfather were both big musicians “back in the day” which definitely has a huge effect on me, as a director. It helps so much to connect the song to the video. I actually dabble here and there with producing some beats, but nothing serious.

You’re only 18 years old and some of the most popular artists on the blogs (OCD: Moosh & Twist, Tarik, Jitta On The Track) are coming to you to help them capture the visuals for their songs, how were you able to develop a relationship with all these artists?

Jitta and I got linked up way back last year, and we shot one video and I really liked his stuff. He’s from Connecticut too, so I was pretty cool with that. To be honest, I didn’t think him and me would be grinding together like this, which I think is awesome. He’s now one of my really good friends and we’re making big moves, we really push each other to be the best we can.

Jitta is hooked up by a clothing brand called I’m Possible Club and I was talking with the owner [Mike Williams] of that one-day, and he mentioned he also works with Tarik, who at the time, I had really looked up to, because his message and music is just awesome. I asked Mike from I’m Possible Club to put in a good word hoping I could work with him, because his mixtape TRIGS was on constant spin, and next thing you know, we were talking about videos! Now we’re just an unstoppable force! As for OCD, my really good friend who’s an insanely talented producer named A-Rayz Productions, put in a good word for me, which I thought was gonna go no where. I mean, I used to sit and listen to City Kids and Dream On in my room and literally dream about filming a video for them… and this summer I went down to Philly and kicked it with them and filmed a music video. So surreal!

What is your overall process for shooting a video?

Basically, the artist will send me a song and I’ll just listen to it over and over and just think of what it would look like. Just imagine what each scene would entail and what vibe it’s giving off, that kinda thing. I’ll send over my thoughts and we’ll just bounce back and forth some ideas and come up with new ones, and what not. Then we set up a date, and I pack up and we do it! Quite a bit of it is on the fly, to be honest. You never really know what locations you might drive by and be like, “Omg, we gotta do a scene there,” you know? We try to get a really solid idea and feel for it ahead of time, but anything can happen on the spot.

Most music videos these days, from both local and major artists, aren’t major budget projects like they used to be. What is your technique for making videos and adding another element to a song?

Creativity. That’s all it is. You have to use what you have and make the best of it. You have to just dig deeper in the song and see what you can pull from it to add that extra element that separates your video from someone else’s. I really try and focus on getting diverse things that you haven’t seen before. A lot of songs call for a typical video that you’ve seen a hundred different times, you know, in the club or whatever, but you have to make it stand out.

You’ve directed most of the videos for Jitta On The Track – with the success he’s had and coming off the Club Paradise Tour with Drake, have you started seeing any benefits from it? (New clients, bigger opportunities, etc.) 

I was so stoked, yet so bummed when he told me that he was going on tour. Drake is literally my favorite artist ever, and I am in school right now in NYC at the New York Film Academy, so I couldn’t go! Hahaha – I was talking to my parents about… dropping out… but obviously they said no and a minute afterwards I was like, “Yeah you’re right that’s the dumbest thing ever.”


I’m so proud of Jitta and the whole Lumber Life team for putting in work that had a big pay-off. We have actually seen a lot of benefits from it, not necessarily in terms of clients hitting me up, (although the kid from Zoey 101, Chris Massey, hit me up on Twitter and said I need to do a video for him lol) but definitely opportunities. These next few videos with Jitta are just unreal. They are gonna take things to a whole new level and I’m really excited for everyone to see what we’ve been brewing up.

I’m sure you get tons of requests from aspiring artists to direct their videos. What do you think about all of these artists trying to make it into the industry and what kind of advice would you give them?

I get a lot of requests from a lot of up and comers. I think it’s simply awesome that people are doing what they love and are able to make music in their HOUSES! It’s great. I think that if you want something, go get it. Nobody is stopping you from doing what you want to do beside yourself. I live in a small town in Connecticut and I’ve been to California, Barbados, etc. for music video jobs, so where you are from is not an excuse for what you can do.

My advice is to just to do it. If you want to make music, make music. A few things to keep in mind are that things require money. That’s it. I bought my own camera, computer, equipment, etc. Be prepared to spend money on things like recording time, beats, music videos, etc., because if you are working hard it’ll come back to you! Try to find a team of people who can surround you and who are as hungry as you are for success because that is the only way it’ll happen. Also, if you were given the gift of music, use it wisely. There is a lot of negativity in the world, and I always encourage people to be positive and use their gifts and talents for positive reasons. Just be a leader and show people that they can do what they want to do if their heart is in it and they work hard, you feel me?


What’s next for Hunter Lyon Films?

Who knows! Actually, a lot of big things; THAT I can promise. All of the artists I work with are just working hard to take things to unheard of levels from where we are at now, all for you guys. We’re really turning up the notch and are going to be putting out really high quality videos and music. They don’t make music so they can sit and listen to it, they do it so they can satisfy people’s needs; they do it for the fans. Same thing with me; I make music videos to give people something to watch and help out these artists, and because I love making art.

How can artists, managers, etc. get in contact with you?

They can get in contact with me through email! My email is hlyonfilms@gmail.com, you can follow me on twitter – @HunterLyon or check out hunterlyonfilms.com

Thanks for your time, Hunter and congratulations on all the success and recognition you’ve received thus far!

Thank YOU! I appreciate you reaching out and I’m honored to do this for you, keep it up and God Bless!

Advertisements

Interview: Rec This City Management

Over the last few months I have been giving readers my point of view on the music industry and how up and coming artists should approach certain situations and develop as artists. Today, I bring you something new. Instead of giving you my perspective; I’m bringing you someone else’s.

Jared Glassman has been a friend of mine since we were about 10 years old. As you’ll see in the interview, both of us ultimately laid the foundation for each of our achievements today. I got Jared interested in the business, and Jared is the one who gave me the name Breezy (I added the ‘On The Beat’ part). It all comes full circle! Since then, he’s gone on to manage a few artists who are starting to see success. Below is an interview I did with Jared recently that I think will help up and coming artists.

Image

Jared & I – Summer 2006

Currently one of Jared’s artists, Jitta On The Track, is the opening act on Drake’s Club Paradise tour along with J. Cole, Waka Flocka Flame, 2 Chainz, Meek Mill & French Montana.

Image

Jared Glassman – Rec This City Management

Name: Jared Glassman

Age: 22

Title: Founder of Rec This City Management

Artists:

Jitta On The Track

Jitta On The Track

Ethan Jaymes

Ethan Jaymes

D!RTY AUD!O

D!RTY AUD!O

——————————————————————————————-

How you get into the music business and what attracted you to it?

Actually, if you want to know the real truth, I first became interested in the music industry when you first showed me GarageBand when we were about 14. I started producing from that day and the fire grew inside me to eventually become a manager. I had been producing for 4 years and realized that was not the part of the industry I was built for.

What are your daily roles as a manager?

My daily roles fluctuate. Sometimes I’m doing a ton of emailing and phone calls, some days I have to make sure my artists are all in the right mindset and make sure they are doing what they need to get done to push their careers to their full potential.

What are some of the challenges you face everyday as a manager?

Not being big enough in the industry yet. People like persistence but don’t like being pestered. One challenge is getting your foot in the door. But once you do people start to respect you more… At least for now.

When it comes to your artists, do you prefer to have them develop on their own musically and then you promote/handle the business elements or are you involved throughout the entire process?

I like to be a part of the whole thing. One main reasons I got into management is because I really feel that I have a good sense of what the world wants to hear and in my opinion, two heads are better than one so me or someone else might bring something to Jitta that he likes and incorporates in the music. I also help choose which beats. For the most part it’s Jitta and his own creativity though.

All of the artists you manage have a strong presence on the Internet. What are some of the ways Rec This City has been able to help their artists expand online?

Network as much as possible through emails, meetings, events, make your face and name known to everyone possible and keep a personal relationship. If you’re constantly asking for things and have nothing to deliver back, people will get tired of working with you.

You’re artist Jitta On The Track, just won a competition to open up for Drake on the remaining 20 dates of the Club Paradise Tour. What has the experience been like so far on the road and have any of the artists/managers given you any advice?

This experience is life changing and monumental. We have learned so much just from watching performances and seeing how a major tour runs. We have been blessed with many amazing opportunities so far that have helped boost Jitta’s career at an incredibly fast rate.

Watch: Waka Flocka hanging out with Jitta On The Track (Video 1) – (Video 2)

Image

As Jitta begins to gain a strong momentum, what are your upcoming plans for him and how will Rec This City bring him to the next level?

We just signed a co-management deal with DAS communications, a major management company that launched the careers of The Black Eyed Peas, The Fugees, John Legend, Ke$ha and more. This will be huge for Jitta and RecThisCity.

What are some of your long-term goals for Rec This City?

My long-term goals for RecThisCity would be to just expand into as many forms of management as possible. Maybe expand to be a tour management company or partner up with a major company and be a superpower. All future plans though.

I’m sure a lot of people ask you to listen to their music or look to you as a resource, what is the best advice you can give to an up and coming artist trying to further their career?

Don’t send emails without music! If you send an email and I take the time to read it please include the music because I won’t respond if there is none! Too many emails!

How can people get in contact with Rec This City?

Recthiscity@gmail.com or email my partner paul@recthiscity.com

We are not just hip-hop anymore; Paul runs the electronic music section so any DJs are free to submit to electri.city.mgmt@gmail.com