ID - Gabe 'Nandez

About the Project

In his forthcoming debut studio album "Diplomacy" set for release July 23, New York hip hop artist Gabe 'Nandez invokes his multicultural roots and nomadic upbringing in his music. In I.D., it is the sounds and iconography of his native Mali that are at centre stage. The key instrument is the balafon, ancestor of the xylophone, and emblems of Western Africa such as the Dogon masks and artifacts are used to bridge 'Nandez's heritage to his current day to day reality.

The song takes on the concepts of identity and knowledge of self, and is an ode to my Malian roots. It also touches upon societal turmoil related to cultural differences between groups. The music was created with a Balafon, the West African ancestor of the xylophone. The song’s sonics are raw and the video matches that energy. The Dogon mask, Rungu club and Balafon are present to reinforce the celebration of African culture.

- Gabe ‘Nandez

I was working on another project in Vancouver this time last year when Gabe called me. He had a very strong vision for the video and wanted my input to realize it. I was such a fan of his music for so long and genuinely listen to it on a weekly if not daily basis, so it was easy to say yes. His ambition was to bridge his ancestry with his day to day existence in Brooklyn, which he nailed sonically, so the challenge was to match that visually with, notably, portraits of friends and the appearance of Dogon/West African iconography.

I immediately knew my place here in supporting Gabe’s vision, following his lead and putting an emphasis on capturing his persona and energy in creating a performance driven video - a bit of departure for me, but a new challenge I was keen to take on.

Gabe insisted we shoot on film (super 16mm Kodak 250d and 500t), which I was more than happy to do. Brock Newman was the DP as well as steadicam operator. We shot with my Bolex for 2 days all over New York in July 2018, in sweltering heat. Since the Bolex doesn’t have a video tap, we velcro’d an iPhone on the back of the camera to use as a reference. We recorded each take on the iPhone as well to then easily sync sound in post. Gabe and I shot a new, more narratively driven video for a song off of his new album Diplomacy (out July 23) - so I’m in the middle of editing that now.

- David Findlay

About the Artist

David Findlay is a filmmaker from Quebec City currently based in Toronto. His work is known for seamlessly straddling the fine line between fiction and documentary with a stripped-down yet evocative cinematic approach and casting of non-actors. His debut feature film Everything Outside had a theatrical release earlier this year in Canada and is having it’s international premiere at the Durban international Film Festival in South Africa at the end of July.

More of David’s work can be seen on his Website and on Instagram

Music VideosRyan Berg