Harry Clean Interview & New Video “For The Love” feat. Dave B, JusMoni, YK Ari
Whether you follow Seattle rap closely or casually, chances are you’ve seen a Harry Clean-directed music video. Under the Detooz Films banner, no one in the last 3-4 years has been as prolific or has worked with a wide-ranging clientele including Cam The Mac, JusMoni, Brothers From Another, The Good Sin, Jarv Dee, Sam Lachow, The Bar, Thaddeus David, Livio and even the only video out there with Sabzi rapping.
He’s slowed the pace down a little in 2014 but for good reason: to work on his own music and directing the videos for his own shit. Today, he dropped his first music video featuring his own music (“For the Love” featuring Dave B., JusMoni & YoungKingAri) and I chopped it up with him for a minute to talk about the path he’s taken from his first video projects to working with Seattle artists to now releasing his own music projects.
How did this shit start for you?
Long story. I used to be around a lot of stolen cameras. I don’t want to expose it too much. It’s too real. I started doing photography at Franklin [High School] with Jordan [Nicholson] just fucking around. It was a hustle—I’d set up photoshoots for $50 even before I had my own camera.
Jordan and I used to bring our cameras around for fun and started doing shoots with people from other schools. They were hella fucking with it but at first I was like “what the fuck? We’re just taking pictures wearing fly shit, that’s it.” So then I got into doing photo shoots for local rappers. Like for $100, not making shit but I just kept doing it. Bro, it used to be embarrassing carrying around a camera. It was weird—it felt corny going everywhere with a big ass camera.
My first videos weren’t for anything. I just copped a camcorder from Wal-Mart and we started doing Jackass shit. Johnny Knoxville type things jumping out of bushes and shit. And crazy-ass parties. Shopping carts going downhill through the hood. Fights. Pretty much everything that you’d see on Worldstar but before Worldstar was around. I got like 50 fights on tape before YouTube was really poppin.
What was your first video project?
In 8th grade at Mercer [Middle School], everybody was doing those tri-fold boards and Powerpoints but for some reason I decided to do a documentary. It was hella weak but I got an A in it. We had to pick our own subject so I chose “Gangs In Seattle.” I just interviewed older homies and cousins, smoking and talking and shit, then I played it at school and the teachers were going crazy.
It was so stupid though. It wasn’t even edited. It was just footage on a used DV tape from my homegirl’s brother’s camera. Bro. After the documentary was done, I did this hella epic outro… and right after that it cut to a porno! In front of the whole class! I didn’t even know it was on the tape. My homegirl’s brother’s personal shit. It just flashed hella quick and I was like “oh shit!” I had to run to the VCR and stop it.
How was your first gear set up?
After Franklin I chilled for awhile then I took the film course at Central [Seattle Central Community College]. My first financial aid check, I cashed out on a Mac but I still didn’t have a camera yet. Then I sold my car for a [Canon] 7D. I sold my car to the homie for $1600. The shit didn’t even have wheels but he still bought it. So that was my first 7D. Two weeks later the other homie said “I got a camera for sale” always trying to sell me shit. I remember rolling up to 44th to meet him. He pulled out a plastic bag and there was a 7D in it. I was like “this is crazy.” It had a 7D, a couple lens, and hella other shit. But no lens caps so shit was kinda fucked up. I was like “how much you want for this?” He was like “how much you want to pay for it?” So I said “I’ll give you 500 but i only got 250 right now.” So I took it home, laid all the shit out on my bed and i was like “damn, I just came the fuck up.” I sold some of it to make my money back and the homie didn’t even want the other $250!
So me and the homie Fanta started shooting random interviews and eventually got some of the other homies to help out. One of the first things I shot was for GMK. And people were fucking with that. I was trying to do music video shoots for $250 but nobody was trying to pay that so I decreased my price and then it got crazy.
What was your first music video?
I did a video for this cat in Tacoma for $150, I can’t remember what it’s called.
How did Detooz Films start?
At first I had no idea what I should name my film company or whatever. Detooz actually was a clothing brand me and the homies tried to start in high school (2007-2008). We sold t-shirts at 35th North. I designed most the shit but the homie Jay Tee did the silk screening, which I taught him how to do. My moms used to silk screen when I was younger making tie dye shirts and shit. But it fell off b/c it was too expensive. I took the Detooz name, same logo, same design and made it my film shit.
All the homies were a little older than me. So I was 20 when they were 21, 22. A whole year of me being at home when the 21 homies were out turning up. Sometimes I’d go out but then I’d just be waiting outside the club. So I just started staying home working on videos.. That’s when Detooz started. Around 2010. The first artists I fucked with was GMK, Jus Moni, BFA [Brothers From Another]. Local artists like that. Royce the Choice.
Videos bro, it’s like a recession-proof business and shit. Everyone wants to be an entertainer. It started getting crazy and everyone was hitting me for videos. Then I started shooting interviews for MissCaseyCarter.com, bigger name cats.
What are your favorite video(s) that you’ve done?
But definitely For The Love. It took four months to shoot. We shot hella scenes but ended up cutting a lot of them because they felt too scripted, we were doing rehearsals and everything (haha). A lot of that shit like the Barney and Pac thing was from a real dream. The whole video idea started from that Pac thing. Me waking up from that Pac dream and going to the store—that actually happened so I already had that idea before I had the song.
Why did you want to get into the music thing?
When we made the song, I already knew the feel of it. So my goal—I don’t even know if I’m trying to put this out in public. But the more urban part of Seattle—the CD, Soufend & Westside—need to be heard. Bro, people in Alaska know what it is in Crenshaw. But definitely the Soufend—I’m trying to get our identity out. Something like Crenshaw, Harlem, East Long Beach. So mu’fuckas out of Seattle know what it is.
When people think of Seattle they think of technology, coffee and rain. A lot of videos are fantasy scenarios. Rappers broke as hell but in their video they’re all stuntin crazy. And then afterwards they aint got no money to pay for the video. So, with my shit, we aint doing anything super crazy. It’s just some regular ass day shit. Like when you watch Menace II Society. That shit was just a regular ass day. That’s why For The Love took so long, cause I didn’t want it to look fake.
Just trying to make more music first and do this live performance. But I don’t want to just jump onstage and rap. It’d feel awkward. I’d rather build a movie set on onstage. Like an Opera. Theatric shit with plots and stories and shit.
My whole team, we do everything. We design, paint, make clothes. We all do shit but none of us raps. Except me and the homie Nimbus Vin. Some were making music awhile back but they’re sluffin now probably because they’re lazy and/or scared of failure. So I’m thinking this is the only way we can get our point across. I was like “let’s do this music.” Get an identity. And put the same idea in all the different mediums we’re doing. Just trying to represent our area and neighborhood. If they fuck with the music, then hopefully they’ll check out all the other shit.
Sacrifices, bro. We got nothing to lose anyway. Nothing worse is gonna happen. All the bad shit already happened.