My Dry Wet Mess' New Video Is A Flowing Collage Of Animation Techniques

My Dry Wet Mess, known by day as Giovanni Civitenga, got his start in Rome and Barcelona, eventually finding his way to an audiovisual collaboration with LA producer Daedelus. Hearing Civitenga’s glitchy, densely melodic compositions, Daedelus signed My Dry Wet Mess to his label, Magical Properties. Since then, Civitenga has remixed the likes of Flying Lotus, and Actress, in addition to his own original productions.

For his new track “Etcetera,” Civitenga enlisted the help of his friend Martin Allais, an animator hip to the twisted psychedelia of works like Malice In Wonderland. Allais channeled such visions into stop-motion, drawn animation, and live action scenes, coming out with color-rich conglomeration of visuals to serve as a music video for “Etcetera.” We spoke with Allais about his inspiration for this video, and how he went about creating it.

The Creators Project: What techniques did you use in making this video? Could you describe how you conceived the idea and how you executed it?
Martin Allais:
It has live action, stop-motion, cell animation, plus digital compositing. This is something that I wanted to try from the very beginning in the process, since this was the conclusion of my recent experiments in animation.

This idea started like a short film. Back in the day, I had all these different ideas like the balloon man, the interactions with the wall, plus the overall story of despair and work alienation. So I did animation tests and made lots of notes. Then my friend Gio [My Dry Wet Mess] and I traveled to LA to do visual show with Daedelus, and [My Dry Wet Mess] got signed to Magical Properties [Daedelus’ label] for his first album. We were in the car with [Daedelus] listening to the final mix and when I heard this song. It just clicked, so I proposed using this story that I previously conceived. They liked it, and that was that. After that, a lot of work and a LOT of time. It took me more than a year because it was such an ambitious project, and I did it in my free time due to the irrefutable fact that I have to make my living by day.

How did you go about combining live action and animation?
I feel comfortable with it, and it’s something that i want to explore further since I feel it has a lot to develop still. Production-wise, it’s a bit complicated though, more if you’re working lo-fi like I am, so I deal with a lot of hard work and have to have patience to compile all the different techniques and stages together. The other issue was to make it independently. Magical Properties, My Dry Wet Mess, and myself joined forces funding-wise to make it happen and the rest of the budget came from crowd-funding through Indiegogo. By the way, thanks to all the people who believed in us and made the project happen. It was a big adventure and I’m very happy that I was able to make it a reality. The feeling I’m left with is that I want to do another one, and that’s a good thing to have.

Any animations, videos, or films that inspired the look for this video?
Hmm, I don’t know. For this particular one, I tried to make it from within. I work in advertising and the referencial part of it can be so annoying. I’m always trying to look like something else, so this was more of a cathartic process. I told myself, let’s try to do something just by going inward and not so much by going outward. Anyway, if I see it from the outside, I can see that it reflects my love for film The Secret Adventures of Tom Thumb, Malice in Wonderland, Ryan Larkin shorts, [Norman] McLaren stop-mo films and any psych-animation that I could possibly have inside my personal mind-vault.

Stills from “Etcetera”