Three years after directing his first music video, Marvin Llantada a.k.a. yungtada has established himself as one of the young videographers leading the new wave in hip-hop music video production.
Shane McGannon spoke to the L.A. based music video creator to find out who the person behind the camera is and how he turned an unfortunate event into the beginning of his budding career.
Thank you for taking the time to speak with us. Firstly, let’s start with who is yungtada?
I’m a music video creator from Seattle who just recently moved to LA. I shoot rap videos and also make vlogs from time to time. I’m mostly known for being the best smash bros player ever, so if anyone wants smoke, drop your friend codes down below.
You have a lot of music videos under your belt, when did you start making music videos and which artist(s) did you film?
It’s been 3 years since I started making em. My first video was for two artists from Seattle. BBROBGOD and Dizzi Slick (Free Dizzi). That’s where it all started.
What is it like being a young, up and coming videographer in the music industry?
It’s intimidating and very much a learning experience along the way. The music industry is very cutthroat and the smallest taste of it I’ve had, has already shown me that.
Where did your passion for videography come from?
I’ve always liked the idea of filming something and then being able to watch it again and again. So, with skating I just wanted to watch crazy tricks that my friends did and be able to show everyone.
When did you get your first camera and what kind of videos did you start recording?
I got my first camera when I was 14 after I broke my ankle skating. I was bummed that I couldn’t skate while it was broken so all I would do is watch skate videos. Then one day I was like “I want to make some of these.” It allowed me to hang out with all my skate friends at the park while I was still healing.
I saw that you have uploaded vlog style videos to your YouTube channel, have you always recorded vlogs?
Nah, I started with skate videos. Then it transitioned into vlogs and music videos.
In the last year or two, hip-hop music videos have changed drastically in their production. Artists are no longer solely looking for the best-looking girls and shiniest jewels to show off, but rather the best videographers and directors that can bring their vision to life.
Music videos that are attracting the attention of millions and receiving high praise are relatively simple in terms of location and props with the post production being where the magic really happens.
Creators like yungtada use a number of different techniques to separate a video from the norm. Distortion of objects, warped and twisted colours and other various visual effects are what can put a signature on a video and make it even more memorable.
Who are your influences when it comes to your production style?
I have this huge playlist of the best music videos ever. I don’t really pay attention to who directs them, I just see all my favourite videos and take a piece from each. I’m big on not copying so I try to run everything I take from those videos and add my own spin. I’m finally seeing some sort of style develop within my vids.
Why do you think your videos catch peoples’ eyes? What sets them apart from everyone else’s?
I thought about this recently. I started to think what separates me from everyone else. One big thing I’ve noticed is the pacing of my videos. It’s very fast and sometimes overwhelming. That just came from me not wanting a clip to drag on for too long. That matched with flashy effects I come up with started to catch people’s eyes and I’m glad people like what I come up with.
What is your directing setup like? Do you use a lot of equipment and software or keep it simple?
Equipment wise, I go with a lot of run and gun options. I don’t like to haul a ton of stuff to every shoot. I’ve condensed as much as possible so that I can shoot comfortably and also get every job done that I need to do.
Has being from Seattle had a positive or negative impact on your success?
I love Seattle. I love my friends there and everything I’ve gotten to do. It’s been very positive because I feel like a lot of people complain about how there isn’t a scene or no light is shed there but I used that to my advantage and made a name for myself when only a few were shooting out there. Honestly, I just don’t like the weather, that’s it.
Yungtada has made quite the name for himself and directed videos for other up and coming figures in the music industry such as Lil Mosey and BLAKE. His music videos have also been featured on some of the most influential YouTube channels for showcasing new talent (WORLDSTARHIPHOP with over 18 million subscribers and ELEVATOR with 1.5 million subscribers).
Videos directed by yungtada have received tens of millions of views. Collaborations with the 16-year-old Lil Mosey, a fellow Seattle native, have propelled the two into the limelight. Both can attribute some of their success to their work together. Yungtada and Lil Mosey have a mutually beneficial relationship and yungtada has not only directed some of Mosey’s videos but was also his videographer on tour.
You have worked with a lot of people, who was your favourite artist to work with?
Off the top of my head definitely Kari Ca$h, JUICETHEGOD, and Mosey. Just a bunch of legendary shit.
Which video that you directed are you most proud of?
Pull Up (Artist: Lil Mosey). That started a new life.
When and how do you think you started to get more exposure?
Definitely the Mosey videos. It broke that local barrier down. We just tapped into a bigger audience through the work we did.
You were the director of some of Lil Mosey’s most successful early singles, how did your relationship with him begin and do you plan on working together again sometime soon?
He hit me up on Instagram a little over a year ago saying he needed a video shot. The rest was history and you will definitely see more work from us. That’s my brother for life.
Did you always want to make videos or did you have other dreams when you were younger?
Honestly, I don’t talk about this much but I’ve always wanted to make music. That’s pretty much my biggest dream. Yeah it got a little corny to be a rapper over the last few years but if you got what it takes, you’ll always shine past that trend of wanting to rap all of the sudden.
Do you see yourself trying a different type of artistic expression in the future? Will we be hearing any music from yourself?
Yeah, I’ll make music when the time is right and when I have something worth showing.
Do you have any big collaborations lined up?
Everyone is gonna have to wait a see!!
Who would your dream collaboration be and who do you hope you can collaborate with in the coming year?
My top 5 artists of all time are Kanye West, Travis Scott, Playboi Carti, Tyler, The Creator and Frank Ocean so any of those would be insane. As for this year, I really want to work with Famous Dex. I feel like his energy with my style of videos would be crazy.
Your first music video of 2019 has already been released, will this year be full of production?
What else can we expect from yungtada in 2019?
Just a bunch of new ventures. I’m tryna get out of my comfort zone all year long.
THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME!
Thank you to yungtada for taking the time to speak with us. Follow him @yungtada on all socials.