Who is Chris Cairns

15 Sep 2009 Posted by Jonathan Wells in Who is..., Film, Music Video

Chris Cairns

  • Name: Chris Cairns
  • Created on: 1979-March-05
  • Record last updated on: 2008-November-20
  • Homepage: Chris Cairns, Partizan
  • Domain: Fencing, Base jumping, Cake decoration, lying. I like cameras and computers, music and sleep.
  • Location: London, England

Born in Brussels, UK-raised Chris Cairns burst on the creative scene in 2005 with a dynamic video for LCD Soundsystem that paid homage to Michel Gondry’s Daft Punk video. Cairns collected a slew of international awards for “Daft Punk is Playing at My House” and his Pro X Fade viral spot. Since then he has helmed a number of acclaimed spots and videos via Partizan. On a visit to LA earlier this year he dropped a hint about a secret personal project he was working on, months later the Neurosonics Audiomedical Labs web site launched.

Tell us a little about yourself, your background and what inspired you to become a filmmaker?

I’m a Piscean fantasist.

Cafe de WheelsPhoto by Chris CairnsCafe de Wheels (2009) click for detail

What were some early influences (films, art, music) that had an impact on you?

Robocop, Neil Buchanan, Phil Collins.

At University you studied Graphic Design, discovered Photography and then got into Filmmaking. What prompted this evolution and how do your design and photography skills influence your filmmaking technique?

I like stories but I also like playing with technology.

Team StushTeam Stush members include Chris Cairns, Anthony Dickenson, Ollie Evans, Saam Farahmand and Dan Lowe (many whom populate Partizan’s talent-filled roster)

You formed the filmmaking collective Team Stush with mates from college. How was helpful when you were starting out? Does Team Stush still collaborate on projects?

It was extremely helpful when we were starting out as we would help fill in each other’s knowledge and skill gaps. Someone would be better with computers, or cameras, or coming up with bad pun names for hypothetical businesses.

Daft Punk is Playing at My HouseChris Cairn’s internationally award-winning LCD Soundsystem video, Daft Punk is Playing at My House (2005) .

What has your favorite project been, so far? What was the most challenging project? Why?

Neurosonics has been my favourite until now but I guess it’s usually the one I’m working on. I love creating surprising alternative realities that have some basis in the real world. Neurosonics was a challenging combination of an ambitious idea and very limited budget. It was an idea I’d wanted to make for a long time so for it all to come together was really exciting.

Chris Cairns’ Neurosonics Audiomedical Labs (2009)

What was your inspiration for the project? Any funny stories / happy accidents from the shoot?

It seemed to me the natural way to describe beatboxing and scratching. The lab setup was inspired by a love of funny compositing all things sci-fi. It was awesome to collaborate with musicians who I really admired and who brought so much to the project.

We got our hands on the grip turntable for the shoot only the day before. I did some tests with me and my producer Bonnie Anthony spinning on the turntable at the requisite speed. We quickly realised that spinning at the same speed as a record was a good recipe for dizziness. On the day it felt like we were running some kind of comedy hiphop torture club. All the guys were well up for doing whatever it took but this was not without some feeling sick and falling over!

Chris Cairns on setCairns on the set of his Neurosonics Labs short

Will we see future films from the Neurosonics Labs?

I’m in the process of putting together a version of the film to be performed live. I definitely think there’s more distance in the idea.

Chris Cairns’ E4 sting became a viral hit for Pro Fade X (2006)

DJ imagery and technique is evident in many of your films. Are you a DJ yourself? Bedroom DJ or do you ever perform around town?

I used to play out as a hiphop dj in my younger days. Since getting hold of Serato Video-SL I’ve been playing around with ideas again. I’d like to put together some kind of live performance that does something fresh AV-wise.

As far as future projects, what is on the horizon?

Doing a live version of the film and trying to get a couple of other leftfield compositing projects made.

Based your personal experiences what advice would you give to aspiring filmmakers? Or perhaps words of wisdom?

Make stuff as much as possible. If you believe you can achieve.


[…] out “Nuerosonics Aeromedical Labs” and Flux’ interview with Chris Cairns, who was also part of their film screening series at the Hammer Museum. […]

[…] Clip réalisé par Chris Cairns en 2009. Plus d’info et une interview sur Flux […]

[…] an interview with Jonathan wells on the website http://flux.net Chris discusses the Neurosonics […]

[…] different takes on the theme.  The one I liked best was Neurosonics Audiomedical, created by Chris Cairns. I didn’t see the video when it was set loose on the Internet about four months ago. The […]

[…] Holograms have come a long way since Star Wars: Episode IV. Thank you Chris Cairns. […]

[…] Audiomedical Laboratories, was a film originally released in August, directed by Chris Cairns in collaboration with a group of DJs. The film was fantastic, because it utilized post production […]

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