Like his DJ career, which took off at the age of 15, A-Trak, born Alain Macklovitch, is also precocious when it comes to making music videos. In the past two months, his visual accompaniment to “It’s You”–the latest single from Duck Sauce, his collaborative disco house project with famed producer Armand Van Helden—has collected over 3 million YouTube views. It appeared just a couple of weeks before MTV announced the 2013 Video Music Awards nominations, but was eye-catching enough to earn a nod for Best Visual Effects. When the VMAs take place this Sunday, A-Trak will also be up for another award: Best Cinematography for his joint track with Tommy Trash, “Tuna Melt.”
Macklovitch hoped to bring back the music video as an important art form with both nominated clips, as opposed to an afterthought. “I feel like the art of creating memorable videos has suffered a bit in recent years, especially with the speed at which everything is consumed,” A-Trak told the FADER on a call from Ibiza, “because a good video isn’t something you can turn around in three or four days. People are getting accustomed to getting new songs right out of the studio, in a matter of days after they’re mixed. I love moving that way for a lot of my projects but the videos sometimes get rushed. I see videos as something that’s part of a legacy that I’m trying to build, on a macro level.”
Still, he’s modest about his VMA nominations. “I’m not getting too excited. I know what the game is: videos are nominated but it’s about the most popular songs of the year, through the lens of MTV, that win,” Macklovitch said. “That’s perfectly fine but I know that a song like ‘Tuna Melt’ is not something that the MTV kid is listening to. I’m just happy to be on the list of nominees, and I’m sure they’ll give awards to songs that are being played by the households of the heartland of America.”
Despite that, A-track says he’ll be rooting for a handful of fellow nominees. “The ['Blurred Lines'] video is dope,” he said of the Robin Thicke, Pharrell and T.I. earworm. “I’m really happy that a funk record is topping the Billboard charts. I’m [also] happy to see Flying Lotus be successful because it’s good music. [But] Vampire Weekend’s Modern Vampires of the City is probably my favorite of the year.”
The 2013 MTV Video Music Awards air live this Sunday night, August 25, at 9pm EST.