When A$AP Ferg's video for "Shabba" dropped, all eyes were on Ian Connor and Gabe of UZi, the cameraman bobbing around the video. At the end of the video, some old school VHS footage of the A$AP Mob was revealed, and it was all thanks to the two person art duo UZi.
Comprised of Gabe and Mike, UZi specializes in music and film. They got their start in Ohio playing opening acts for whoever was in town—Big Sean, Mike Posner, and more. Instead of relying on other directors to shoot footage at their shows, the two picked up their own camera, and started making more visual pieces for themselves, and others.
Now, the two have shot videos for everyone from RiFF RAFF to Kreayshawn to Kid Cudi. Thanks to their work with IllRoots, UZi's career has taken off. We spoke to Gabe of UZi via email about working on A$AP Ferg's "Shabba" video, their career defining moments so far, and what they thought of the "No New Friends" video which used the same old school VHS footage they've resurrected.
Interview by Lauren Nostro (@LAURENcynthia)
What made you pick up the old VHS camera and start filming that way?
We shoot with old shitty cameras because it looks better. Simple as that.
What do you feel VHS footage of artists brings to fans?
It brings them to a different world.
All of these creative kids were going viral on the Internet. We said to each other, 'Dude we have to move there no matter what. we have to be part of this.' We moved to L.A. with literally $10 in our pockets and toughed it out.
The "Shabba" video isn't your first time working with a major artist. Who else have you been working with creatively?
Shooting Kreayshawn’s "Summertime" video was huge for us. That was our first big break. It was crazy, mostly because we pretty much moved to L.A. because of "Gucci Gucci" and "Yonkers," which dropped around the same time. It was amazing. All of these creative kids were going viral on the Internet. We said to each other, "Dude we have to move there no matter what. we have to be part of this." We couldn’t be stuck in Ohio anymore with amazing ideas and no opportunities. We moved to L.A. with literally $10 in our pockets and toughed it out.
The first few months were in LA were tough. We were kinda just lost in the big city. Kids on Fairfax were so rude to us coming around, it was funny. One night we heard about this Terry Richardson show in LA. Even though we knew we had no shot at all of getting in, we went anyway. While stuck outside the show, we shot a video loop of Kreayshawn walking down the red carpet into the party. The next day we tweeted it to her, she saw it, loved it and that was that.
After a few weeks of chatting on Twitter, we ended up directing her video for “Summertime." That's when we were like, "Okay. We can do whatever the fuck we want here. Anything is possible in Hollywood."
You also worked on some behind-the-scenes footage of Kid Cudi, too. How did you link up with him?
Working with Kid Cudi was rare as fuck. That's something that no one gets to do, especially as of late. Cudi is super selective about who he works with, as she should be—he’s Cudi. That was definitely some higher level art shit. Glad that happened.
Making friends with Mike Waxx [lead to working with Cudi]. We met Waxx on Twitter, that's the young visionary if you guys don’t know. We met a few months ago and have worked non stop ever since. Illamerica is fam, big ups to Waxx, Carson, Ferrigz, Dylan, Chase, and Carson
And now you're in the "Shabba" video. How did you get connected with the A$AP Mob?
Everyone we know is pretty much through Twitter. In real life, I met A$AP Yams at this party at 424 on Fairfax, that's our dude. It’s fun hanging out with the stars. Sometimes it feels like one big long dream, eating pizza at Cudi's house, smoking blunts with A$AP, it's fun. It's like one long episode of Entourage.
You're mostly filming Ian Connor a lot in the video, did you know him before?
Ian is my bro. we're on the same wave length creatively. We met at art basel in Miami and since then we've been working on stuff together. He's without a doubt one of the best artists in the game right now.
Sometimes it feels like one big long dream, eating pizza at Cudi's house, smoking blunts with A$AP, it's fun. It's like one long episode of Entourage.
I noticed on Twitter that Yams really backed you up after the "No New Friends" video came out, how did you feel after seeing them use the old school VHS footage?
"No New Friends" is so rare. At first when the video dropped, we were pissed as fuck. Then, as that day went on, we got like 1000 tweets of people standing up for us. That was a great moment, it was unreal. We felt like Lil B.
The Internet really had our back and that's when it turned into a really positive thing. We were like, "Holy shit, we inspired a Drake and Wayne video!" It was surreal. Shout out Drake and Wayne, so much respect for them, some of the greatest artists of our time.
What are some other projects you're working on coming up?
We're in Ohio working on our album right now, music is honestly everything right now, but definitely more corporate film work, too. This year alone, we shot for Billionaire Boy's Club, Uggs, Monster Energy, Becks. We're definitely planning on doing film work for more pop artists. Justin Bieber get at us, Ke$ha, Miley, One Direction get at us.
For more of UZi's work, head over to their website.