Tag Archives BBC Radio 1

Jack and Dean Interview


Sitting in the center of busy west London, YouTube sensations Jack Howard and Dean Dobbs are kind enough to join me for a cup of coffee. Although we’ve crossed paths in the past, this was the first time we’ve had the chance to have a proper chat, and the candid ‘buddy-buddy’ atmosphere of the interview was a welcomed surprise.  While it is possible to make the assumption that the past year of increasingly ‘mainstream’ success would have gone to their heads, the duo seem to have their feet firmly on the ground.  Though both are now 23 years old and living a widely successful life in London, we started by taking it back to where it began.
“Well,” Jack begins, “We were married in–”
“Shut up,” Dean laughs. “We were in Maths together in like year ten–”
Jack interjects, exposing the depth their friendship goes. “No, year eight mate. Yeah, because we were like 14 or 15 years old. We were talking about a band I liked, called Green Day – you may have heard of them. And then he suggested another band–”
“Panic! at the Disco,” Dean declares, finishing Jack’s sentence.
“Yep, Panic! at the Disco, which I still like to this day and I’m not ashamed,” Jack jokes. “And then we kind of just became friends because of that. At the time, I was sort of editing fan trailers for Spider-Man, which you can still find online today and I regret to say are still the most popular thing I’ve ever made.”
Even with a bit of prodding, Jack wouldn’t reveal where in the shadowy pits of YouTube those videos reside, although he did admit that they have nearly 4 million views — which is unquestionably impressive.
While Jack was caught in his web of editing, Dean too was experimenting with video-making. With the help of another friend, he was making a parody to a show he didn’t even know existed. “It was called Country Kyle,” he clarifies. “ It was a gardening program about the ‘great outdoors.’ Looking back, it was actually a little smarter than it probably should have been. We were going to make a film out of it.”
Jack explains that after a while he began to get bored of editing other people’s footage and asked Dean if he could be involved in the film. “Long story short,” he says, “that film didn’t happen but Jack and Dean did.”
It goes without saying that when starting their channel in late 2008, neither predicted what was to come. At the time, YouTube was a genuine place for trial and error, which is reflected in their older videos. While other content creators notoriously hide some of the earlier work on their channels, the vast majority of Jack and Dean videos remain public. Jack admits that he likes that you can track their progression, saying, “We always knew the kind of stuff we wanted to make; it’s just the more and more we’ve done it, sort of the more polished it’s become. We’ve kind of improved every time, with every video, because you can see that we’ve learned something else.”
He continues, “I think the best example of that is when we made ‘Silent Disco,’ which is the first time we ever used multi-set ups and extras and things like that and the idea of cutting around was a good idea, but we didn’t really know how to do that yet. We kind of did it randomly and didn’t really plan it so we didn’t do it any order and just left it to the edit — which was then a couple of months of me and Dean stressing over it. Then the next video we made after that was ‘Balloons,’ which again, has multi-set ups, but we thought about it so much more in the writing stage.”

After years of working out the mechanics of filmmaking and solidifying their identity, people outside of the Internet-world finally began to recognize their talent. Late last year, New Form Digital, a company that caters to funding and distributing short films from online creators, approached the duo about working together. Following a whirlwind couple of months of meetings, pitches, and planning with producer Jack Ferry, the process culminated in a suave London restaurant.
“Then we met Ron Howard for dinner,” Jack says nonchalantly, as if eating with Hollywood royalty is an average Monday night.
“And then we had him for dinner,” Dean quips. “Honestly, it was horrific.”
New Form, founded by Kathleen Grace, Brian Grazer, and Ron Howard, is behind the likes of PJ Liguori’s Oscar’s Hotel, which has been picked up by Vimeo to be turned into a series. Knowing this, Dean admits that going about writing their own short, which is titled GFC: Ghost Fighting Corporation, was different than what they were used to. Dean explains, “we were thinking about the bigger picture and the bigger story we want to tell.”
Jack jumps in, saying, “it’s kind of like, instead of writing a short film, we just skipped ahead and wrote episode one. We were just like okay, going to write episode one without any other episodes planned ahead.”
With more pressure and money behind this video, I asked if it would still be the style the audience knows and loves. Jack nods vigorously, explaining, “it’s ‘Jack and Dean’ [the characters] completely, but we try and give them a bit more depth. We’re trying to go, ‘what are they doing as real people?’ rather than just establishing them in a situation like ‘here they are, Dean walks in on Jack naked.’ But what’s their life? What’s their actual situation? Doing that was nice.”
Continuing, he adds, “we actually started questioning, ‘does it make sense for this person to do stuff like that’? With this, we knew we were building an arc and a story while trying to build actual characters rather than just a four-minute little bite-sized thing.”
As seen in many previous videos, I ask if their short features cameos from other members of the YouTube community. They divulge that they discussed casting some of their friends to appear in a scene that introduces a new third character, but ultimately decided against it. Explaining their decision, they say they feared there would be an ‘oh, there’s that person’ moment if a prominent YouTuber was included and that it would take away from debut of this character who is critical to the film.  “She’s [the third character] just sort of wedged in the middle of us and can point out that ‘you two are weird.’ We didn’t realize how weird they were until we had a normal person in the middle,” says Dean.
While there are no ‘YouTubers’ in this project, Jack exclusively reveals that, in a surprising twist, they’ve hired Ian McKellan to play Dean. Although clearly a joke, it does spark an imaginative tangent between the two.
“Yeah, and I play him,” Dean goes on. “It’s weird.”
“I would literally love that,” Jack manages between laughs. “We have a sort of flash-forward to older versions of ourselves and we see McKellan and Patrick Stewart.”

Coldplay announces TV special, reveals new song “Oceans”


Today has been a great day for Coldplay fans. Not only did the tickets for the band’s show at the Beacon Theatre on May 5th, 2014 in New York City go on sale at 10AM EDT, but Coldplay also revealed a new song titled “Oceans” from their new album Ghost Stories  live on BBC Radio 1 AND released a teaser trailer for their televised album launch.

The film, directed by Grammy-nominated Paul Dugdale (Adele, Rolling Stones), was recorded in front of an intimate audience of 800 fans. Confirmed broadcast dates and times are as follows, with more to come soon:
US: 18 May, 7pm ET/PT – NBC
Canada: 18 May, 7pm ET/PT – NBC
Italy: 19 May, 9.10pm – Sky Uno
Spain: 19 May, 7.15pm – Canal+1
France: 22 May, 11.15pm  – France 2
Meanwhile, if you missed it earlier, listen to Coldplay perform their new song “Oceans” live on the BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge.

What do you think of the new song? Are you excited about the TV special? Let us know in the comments below!
Coldplay announces TV special, reveals new song “Oceans” – Photograph courtesy of Coldplay.com

Loving the Live Lounge


I have been a fan of song covers since I learned what covers were (songs redone by artists to their own style), so I’ve made it a habit of scanning YouTube for new covers on a weekly basis. One of my favorite places to look is BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge. The Live Lounge features artists performing live covers (and sometimes their own songs) for the BBC. There are currently 68 videos on the current Live Lounge playlist, although the show has been going on since 2006 and other videos exist in the Archive. I scoured the Live Lounge playlist and picked my top 10 favorites. Here they are in no particular order.

1. Ben Howard – Call Me Maybe (Carly Rae Jepsen)

I’d be lying if I said I liked this song; I find it to be super annoying. However, I am in love with Ben Howard’s voice and find his mellow cover to be as smooth as silk. The drummer is also playing the bass, and that’s pretty great.

2. Justin Timberlake – Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)  (The Jacksons)

JT is one of those people I strongly believe can do no wrong. This cover makes me want to boogie, and the synchronized dancing in the video wins me over. He gets all the style points.

3. Bastille – Locked out of Heaven/Mashup (Bruno Mars and others)

I am madly in love with Bastille and have been for about two years now. Like JT, I feel Dan Smith can do no wrong, and the fact that his British accent sticks out very strongly is something I love. His voice adds a creepy value to the song with its breathiness, but I think it’s brilliant. Also, the mashup is fantastic.

4.Rita Ora – Lover in the Light (Mumford and Sons)

I’ll admit that I was wary when I first started to listen to this cover. I feel like Mumford is one of those bands you just can’t do justice to, but Rita has an incredibly strong voice. I love the emotion she puts into the song.

5. Gabrielle Aplin – Best Song Ever (One Direction)

I am a huge One Direction fan, and I know the song is supposed to be super poppy and make you want to dance, but that’s why this slow cover makes me incredibly happy. Gabrielle has a beautiful voice, and she makes “Best Song Ever” seem like a cute love song rather than a nonsensical pop song.

6. Little Mix – I Will Wait (Mumford & Sons)

Again with a Mumford cover? I know. Again, I was wary, but the girls of Little Mix are intense. They take this song and put a wonderfully harmonized, tragically beautiful spin on it. They each have a unique voice, and together it sounds magical.

7. Birdy – Let Her Go (Passenger)

Clearly I am a sucker for the tragically slow covers of songs. Passenger already has a unique voice, but Birdy just takes the uniqueness and adds her own twist to it. She changes the mysterious “her” in the song to “him” and uses her soft voice to make it haunting. She’s beautiful, and this cover is beautiful.

8. Thirty Seconds to Mars – Stay (Rihanna)

Dear Lord, Jared Leto. His voice is so brilliantly wonderful and I can’t get enough of the edginess he adds to Rihanna’s slow tune. I cannot stop listening to how great this cover is. He is so crisp and perfect.

10. Bastille – We Can’t Stop (Miley Cyrus)

This cover has an addition that cracks me up, and then the rest of it kind of creeps me out in the best way possible. It’s such a Bastille thing. Dan is great, this cover is great—just give it a shot.
Featured image of Bastille: Courtesy of BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge