Aspiring rappers take note: the next time you’re trying to unload your mixtape on the street, Tom Scharpling is an easy mark. “I can’t say no, so I have a pretty substantial collection of crummy rap in slim CD jewel cases,” says the beloved WFMU DJ and video director. Scharpling’s admiration for the hip-hop hustle provides the basis for his new clip for “Easy” by fellow Jersey boy’s Real Estate.
“I got the idea for the video from admiring all of those hip hop van wraps that you see driving around NYC,” says Scharpling, who has shot side-splitting clips for the New Pornographers and Ted Leo & the Pharmacists. “I always thought it would be funny to get one made for a really non-hip hop band and when the possibility of me getting to direct a video for Real Estate entered the picture, I built out a concept around who would be driving the van.”
In the video comedians Chris Gethard, Leah Giblin and Videogum’s Gabe Delahaye drive around in a custom Real Estate van and push breezy indie-pop on everyone who crosses their path; Delahaye has a particularly brilliant moment when he forces a listening session on an innocent bystander. According to the director, those Real Estate hoodies proved to be a particularly useful prop.
“Everybody was a total sport about how cold it was,” Scharpling says. “We were shooting on that one freezingly horrible weekend in early December. Just brutal, but everyone couldn’t have been nicer about the whole experience.”
Anyone familiar with Scharpling and his partner Jon Wurster’s long-form WFMU comedy bits, or remember that shot in the Pornographer’s “Moves” video where Wyatt Cenac ate cocaine-covered pizza, knows that he likes to push a joke as far as possible, and then a bit farther. But there’s a twist at the end.
“At the risk of sounding pretentious, it’s meant to be about people realizing they’re living their lives for the wrong reasons and the act of catching yourself going too far down a road that you shouldn’t be on,” he says, “Like Moby Dick or Boogie Nights.”
Real Estate’s new album Days is out now on Domino.