a portrait of Rare Form in a dark room wearing a white shirt with a black leather jacket, bathed in blue light
photo by Angel Campbell

photo by Angel Campbell

Going Down: A Deep Dive With Rare Form

Rare Form just released a self-directed music video for the isolation anthem goth-and-b song “Going Down”. We spoke with him about the making of the video, being an artist in the COVID era, and how being a father affects his view of the nation’s newfound resolve to fight for social justice.

words and interview by Samantha Henke

Rare Form—the brainchild of New York City musician and underground nightlife icon Prince Terrence—makes ethereal post-apocalyptic slow jams that fuse Darkwave and R&B. His most recent single, “Going Down,” was released earlier this year. He just dropped a visually stunning music video to accompany the song.

In normal, pre-coronavirus times, Prince Terrence could be found DJing five or six nights a week in some of New York City’s most popular nightclubs. Always quick with a smile and a handshake, he’s one of those archetypal nightlife figures who seems to know everyone in the room—and to be universally loved. But in the wake of COVID-19, New York City’s nightlife has ground to a halt. Given a sudden surplus of time, he found room to work on this video, his directorial debut. I spoke with Prince Terrence to find out more about the making of the video, and how he’s adjusting to the major events that have turned our world upside down in 2020.

CELL VISION: You recently released the video for your song “Going Down”, which is also your debut as a music video director right?

RARE FORM: Yes that’s correct. I’ve been working on the video for quite some time and I am pleased to finally have it birthed from my hard drive into the universe.

CELL VISION: How did you learn how to direct a music video? What made you want to direct?

RARE FORM: I have experimented with visuals in branding, graphic design, GIFs and making short videos over the past decade. This past year I started experimenting more seriously with video out of necessity. I did a few things for friends pro bono to sort of train myself and get familiar with how the video editing software operates. I was pleased with the results and felt confident enough to take on a bigger project such as a music video. So here we are.

CELL VISION: What was your creative approach to the video? Any particular inspirations? What is the song about, and how does the visual connect to that theme?

RARE FORM: I am a product of the 1980s and having spent my formative years in the ‘90s, so I am still very attracted to the visual aesthetics of those eras. I have a small collection of VHS camcorders that I shoot lots of footage with. So I began shooting myself and experimenting with a vintage projector that I bought on craigslist from an old man in The Bronx. I like the VHS aesthetic because it is simultaneously vintage as well as futuristic. I like the idea that when people see it they can’t fully pinpoint what time or year it took place. The song is about the void and loneliness, going down and sinking into nothingness. I tried to bring that point across through the aquatic imagery that I shot in the Carribean Sea when I was on a trip to Puerto Plata Dominican Republic. There are other “going down” motifs like the final shot of the empty elevator going down.

CELL VISION: What has your year been like so far? Is it difficult to be an artist during this moment?

RARE FORM: I think the most important thing during this time as an artist is to continue creating regardless of what is going on around us. As artists it’s all we’ve got and what we do best, so if we deprive ourselves of that outlet it’s easy to get discouraged. We are fortunate to live in a moment where live performances can be secondary to the overall music project. We don’t need to sell physical copies of our music like in the past and there are many live streaming outlets that expose your art to audiences all over the world that otherwise may have never had the opportunity to see you perform. I imagine that in the near future we will see more services popping up to accommodate this new approach to live entertainment.

CELL VISION: Does fatherhood make you see the current fight for social justice in a different light?

RARE FORM: It does, I want the best possible future and children are literally our future. Seeing the world change right before my eyes and seeing people engaged on this level is something that I only dreamt of. We are already beginning to see the change and this is only the beginning. The ultimate goal is for the children of the future to not have to repeatedly march in the same protests that we, our parents, and grandparents generations took part in.

CELL VISION: Anything else you would like to add?

RARE FORM: All power to the people. Vote Trump out. Wear a fucking mask.

You can watch Rare Form's "Going Down" video on YouTube and find him on social media via the links below.

Watch "Going Down" on YouTube
Rare Form Instagram
Rare Form Facebook
Rare Form Twitter