Dave Karp, Director - Thrice Cooked Media
Updated: Dec 21, 2019
Q&A with one of music's master minds.
When we first discovered Pink Sweat$, we stumbled upon his artist profile on Spotify. There was immediate appeal based solely off his artist page. It was obvious there was intention thought when it came to branding. We eventually found ourselves deeply rooted in his YouTube channel watching music video after music video like flipping through pages of a book.
The first music video we watched that caused the binge was his hit single Honesty. It displayed how well-rounded Pink is as an artist. His team, Thrice Cooked Media is a New York/LA based media house operated by Josh Feshbach, Dave Karp, and Courtney Loo that provides management, branding, strategy, distribution, marketing, and narrative/film services.
We were fortunate to ask Dave several questions about his career as a director and one of the creative minds surrounding Pink.
What was the first music video or film that made you interested in creating narrative driven films? What caused you to fall in love with it?
Dave Karp: For me this answer isn’t about the first music video or film that inspired me to get into filmmaking, BUT it was the first time I ever really noticed how powerful it can be when one filmmaker works with one artist over and over again. There is a great director who was about my age named Matthew Dillon Cohen (@itsbongoboy) who worked a lot with an artist named Gus Dapperton 2-3 years back. I remember Courtney and I became very obsessed with Matthew Dillon Cohen’s work the year before Pink began releasing music. Cohen probably directed Gus’ first 4 music videos and they were all very creative / super unique & not super high budget… all of these things really got our attention and helped us realize that you can make higher quality work when you’re working with an artist that you know very personally / have a working relationship with. Watch Prune You Talk Funny video… really awesome.
When did you start creating video content? What equipment did you start out using?
Dave Karp: I made a couple hilarious / awful videos with my friends in early high school and never thought much of it. I went to college with the plan of eventually going to Law School. Interestingly enough, I got back into filmmaking when I was joining a fraternity… part of my pledging was to make a couple of absurd videos (eg: recreate a scene from silence of the lambs, shoot a parody of a justin bieber music video, go through 100 hours of GoPro skiiing footage of the older guys and make edits & several other funny things) … I ended up having so much fun making those videos that I bought a GoPro at the start of my sophomore year.. I made a couple interesting videos with the GoPro (honestly they were boring but I thought they were cooler at the time). At the end of that summer I got a job as a Production Assistant on a TV show in NY and worked all summer on a big set… seeing the big set definitely got me extra excited about filmmaking in general & when I got back to Cornell I started making short films one after the next with my friends. Most of them kinda sucked, BUT everyone around me were insanely supportive and thought it was awesome that we were even making bad movies because not a lot of kids at Cornell were really doing film in general. After a couple years of bad movies they started to get a little better! Haha and then I started getting some tiny commercial jobs which made me think I could start freelancing as a videomaker which is what I did after college.
How did you hone your craft as a film creator?
Dave Karp: Honestly we made a lot of bad videos until they started getting better. And we were never afraid to ask people for help / learn from them. Some people have too much pride and think it’s important to act like you know everything even when you don’t… but when you do that you don’t allow yourself to learn from other people and then you never get better.
Most impressive music video of 2019 and why?
Dave Karp: Cliche, but This is America… so many people… such beautiful shots… crazy coordination … shot on film … tells a story … doesnt look like any other music video i’ve seen (which is the biggest part … and what we always try to go for).
What role does music videos play in an artist’s career? Thoughts on the importance of creating quality visuals to match artists’ music?
Dave Karp: An artist’s music will bring fans into the world and get them interested… once a fan is interested they usually want to know more about the artist. Once they lean in closer to learn more about the artist & they stumble upon a really high quality video … that hopefully locks them in and makes the fan think “WOW” -- it shows that the artist cares about their craft / is investing time & thought into their career which inherently adds to their value / shine. I also think a good music video will get the artist’s personality / brand across which is so important. For me… all my favorite artists are artists who have high quality videos… it just completes the picture for me. Tyler the Creator is the prime example …he probs has the best videos in the industry right now & look where he is… on top of the world. The creative videos are just an extension of his creativity.
Best advice for a creative to get their foot in the music industry?
Dave Karp: Don’t go after big names / big money… that’s just not going to happen at first. You need to work with people who are at your level … Level 1. Courtney and I did so many jobs for free at the beginning just because we wanted to get a portfolio going. Also a lot of people are too hesitant to actually do anything.. They might take months to shoot one video or make one song and then take another few weeks to share it with anyone … everyone I know who is successful has had very high output… they have made things & put them out over and over again and that’s why their work is polished by the time the right people see their stuff.
Which music video are you most proud of and why?
Dave Karp: Probably the video for “I Know” -- that was our biggest budget we ever worked with at the time… by like triple what the previous ones were. & there were so many curveballs for the shoot. The lead actress cancelled 8 hours before the shoot… and the calltime was at 6am in the desert… When that somehow didn’t tank the shoot, we definitely felt pretty lucky. We find ourselves bringing that moment up whenever we get to a stressful point production to this day still because nothing will ever be as complicated as figuring that situation out.
Most important thing to keep in mind when creating a music video?
Dave Karp: Be as ambitious as possible while still being realistic… I feel like that’s one of the most important things for all directors. Also, stay calm… nothing worse than when a director seems super stressed out… and music videos are so chaotic.
Biggest obstacle you were forced to overcome in the process of creating a film? How did you overcome that obstacle?
Dave Karp: When we filmed the music video for Drama we did not have a permit and filmed outside on public streets in Long Island for 2 days in 50 degree weather with 16 people… Honestly no idea how we got away with that one, but Pink is one of the luckiest (& talented) people on earth so that probably helped.
Where do you pull creative inspiration from?
Dave Karp: Each other. Me, Pink & Courtney are all so different.. So when you have three people who think differently & work really hard trying to figure something out you will get really cool results.
Name one artist you’d love to collaborate with and why?
Dave Karp: Tyler The Creator.. I just think he’s the GOAT. & I think we could come to him with our craziest idea in the world and he’d just look at us and says “sounds sweet”.
Can you provide any more info on MoneyCat
Dave Karp: MoneyCat is a short film that Courtney wrote that the two of us produced and directed together (& Pink did the score). Via that short we were able to get Agents at WME to help us develop our first feature film (once we write the script).
What’s the goal for Thrice Cooked Media in the future?
Dave Karp: To help Pink Sweat$ become one of the biggest artists in the world & continue to do what we’ve been doing for years and years. I think at the end of the day if we are all still sitting around a table talking about the next music video in a couple years from now.. That means we’ve accomplished a ton. ALSO, we just signed our second artist Kirby (@singkirbysing) who is incredible and we think she is also destined for the moon. In a perfect world it would be cool to bring on more people on the MGMT & creative side along with me, Josh & Courtney so that we could scale up and sign more artists down the road.
How can fans make sure TCM reach those goals?
Dave Karp: By telling other people about us. I think word of mouth is underrated in music. People love discovering an artist that isn’t massive yet. It goes a long way when someone just says “yo, have you heard of Pink Sweat$? Check out these videos” -- that can really go a long way.
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