Ace Norton – born in Venice, California in 1982, began directing music videos at the age of 17 and since then has pushed boundaries and made art that we sincerely appreciate. Ace has worked on music videos for some of our favorite bands; Death Cab For Cutie, Scissor Sisters, Norah Jones, The Sounds, Regina Spektor and Foster the People – to name a few. You have most likely have seen a music video directed by Ace Norton or maybe you have seen a commercial he has produced for T-Mobile, Adidas or Coca-Cola. In honor of Ace’s most recently released project – a short-documentary on Mr. Brainwash he directed for Thrash Lab – we got a quick word in with Ace Norton to discuss his inspiration and his playful vision as a creative.
How would you describe yourself as a creator? Hard working.
Do you have a mentor? Probably my father.
What time of the day do you come up with the best ideas? Usually in the morning or when I’m driving listening to music.
What does your personal art space/studio look like and include? I usually work out of my home or the coffee shop down the street depending on what kind of mood I’m in. It’s a pretty standard, normal looking work space with the exception of the few pieces of taxidermy I own- other than that- Notebook. Pens. Computer. Coffee. Pretty basic set up.
What is something you geek out over? The cosmos. Anything relating to outer pace, quasars, black holes, distant galaxies, extraterrestrial life.
What is your zen activity that helps you clear your mind? Surfing.
How does the Internet influence your work? It’s like traveling the world without spending the money.
What is something you learned recently? I learned that the most commonly used letter in the alphabet is the letter e. And I learned it from the internet.
What aspect of making a music video do you find tends to always be the biggest challenge? Booking the gig is usually the most difficult part- all the prep and effort that goes into pitching and then the job is rewarding.
What is a music video you have watched recently that had you awe? I really loved that one where Jake Gyllenhall kills hipsters.
Who is a documentarian that you dig? I guess it’d he Herzog. He brings a certain beauty and humanity to everything he does regardless of how dark or seemingly mundane the subject matter may be. It’s his level introspection- he’s so great at dissecting those small, normally overlooked details about life and then turns it into visual poetry.
What was your wildest moment from a directorial standpoint on the Mr. Brainwash documentary for Thrash Lab? I think it was the moment we showed up to set and Thierry said he wouldn’t do anything on our shot list. It challenged us both because we had to find a story without really knowing what it was, which in hindsight made the film more funny because the crew is running around, stressed out of our minds, not having an agenda or clue to what we were supposed to be shooting next. It felt was more organic to his world and his way of approaching life and art … It was that, or the moment he invited us to deface the “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” movie billboard in front of hundreds of onlookers.
What inspires you about living in Venice, CA? The diversity. It’s a melting pot of different cultures- artists, musicians, street performers, yuppies, homeless, skaters, tourists- it’s a microcosm of the world on a pretty beach.
What is a quote or lyric that inspires you? Here’s a good one- “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life, and that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan -
For more on Ace Norton (and we highly recommend you watch his music videos) visit his official website.