Last weekend ENDS made us look really cool by sitting with us at the Ace Hotel DTLA.
They are rock stars.
Then we went to Umami Burger.
ENDS is a directing duo made up by Daniel Iglesias Jr. and Zack Sekuler, best known for their work as the in-house directors for LA-based band The Neighbourhood (NBHD). We fell in love with their original video for Sweater Weather two years ago while they were still up and coming. The song is great, but the video by ENDS was what initially grabbed our attention. Ever since, the duo has been putting out consistent original visual content for every NBHD single, EP or album release. ENDS’ content keeps fans involved with what the band is doing musically, and contributes to a brand they’ve collaboratively established.
Zack and Daniel grew up in the Valley but didn’t know each other when they started working with the NBHD. Zack had been a producer on lead singer Jesse Rutherford’s hip-hop music project and Daniel had grown up with the guys, playing in hardcore bands. When The NBHD formed, Zack was their tour manager and Daniel began contributing creatively. They both started designing tour visuals for the band and Jesse suggested they collaborate. Daniel and Zack discovered that their styles are similar and created their first video project together, the original Sweater Weather.
They’re unique, interesting people that each bring different perspectives to the table. They’ve come up with a creative process that allows them to challenge each other’s ideas and build upon them. Their distinct personalities make their creative process organic and collaborative, and their different insights contribute to make their work stronger. Zack comes from a graphic design and branding background, and Daniel contributes technical filmmaking insight.
Their early work caught the attention of fans and industry execs alike. Soon after, they signed as company directors with More Media, a production company based out of DTLA. Signing allowed them to pursue bigger projects, including Hunter Hayes and the Jonas Brothers. Although they may not listen to those artists on Spotify, they enjoy the opportunity of finding inspiration from music they normally wouldn’t listen to.
At first it was challenging for them to break away from the distinct branding they helped develop for the NBHD. They ultimately branded themselves as an identity separate from the band, titled ENDS, named for the word’s design aesthetic and narrative symbolism. A prominent element in The NBHD’s branding is their sole use of black and white visuals; even their live shows are monochrome. Although black and white appeals to ENDS stylistically, there’s so much more to their directing than their use of color.
If anything, their style is not defined by their use of black and white, but rather their shot choices, editing style, and conscious decisions to pair movement on-screen with progressions in the songs. They’ve defined a self-proclaimed abstract-kaleidoscope-psychedelic-60’s-noir style (how’s that for a 21st century genre?). ENDS and The NBHD were at the forefront of a wave of black and white branded bands and videos. From The 1975 (Matty <3) to Woodkid - black and white is so hot right now. But ENDS has proven they do more than that. In a nice industry fuck-you move, they released their Cardiac Arrest video for LA band Bad Suns, which maintains their distinct tactile shooting and editing style, while using jarringly saturated primary colors.
Their talent lies in their ability to tailor their personal style and standard of filmmaking to other artists in a multitude of genres. From a marketing standpoint, they’re being smart. They’re not taking every big job, but if the project feels right and they feel inspired, they’ll pursue it. The project still needs to be something they believe in artistically, but by working with mainstream artists, they are able to build directorial credibility and clout. With that said, they also pursue smaller emerging talent that are on the verge of breaking, such as Tapioca and the Flea and X Ambassadors, hoping to mirror the model of their success with The NBHD.
Ultimately they want to direct commercials and movies, however that industry is notoriously more difficult to break into. For now, making music videos makes sense - they’re working on building their repertoire through music videos and artist branding, in order to eventually make that organic transition. The NBHD's success alone has given ENDS an incredible platform to showcase their work consistently. And they get to live their successes with their best friends. It’s a dream come true, but one they have worked hard to earn and fully deserve.
Although we can’t write about the projects they’re currently working on, trust us, they’re killing it.
Dream artists to work for?
Z: Well my favorite band The Clash, no longer exists so as long as a song or artist inspires me or makes me feel something, I’m down.
D: Childish Gambino simply for how out-of-the-box he's thinking.
What are you listening to right now?
Z: I don’t listen to any music other than the music for the video I’m working on / editing - otherwise its distracting.
D: PARTYNEXTDOOR, Made In Heights, and honestly The NBHD… even if they weren’t my friends, they would be my dream collaborators… it’s a pleasure to get to work with artists you love / look up to.
Z: Ridley Scott, Spielberg, Cuaron.
D: Aronofsky, Tarantino, Godard and Bergman.
Where do you shop? Style influences?
Z: Topman, I get all my polos there.
D: FourTwoFour on Fairfax - and I love Zara.
Favorite brunch spots?
Mimosas or bloody marys?
D: Mimosas all the way.
Z: I only drink beer, no hard liquor, no wine...
D: Gin & tonic.
Z: Belgian Abbey Ale beer.