UNCLE FRIENDLY Directs a Cockroach-Chasing Fever Dream for Genesis Owusu’s “GTFO”

July 29th, 2022

Multi-ARIA Award-winning Ghanaian-Australian artist Genesis Owusu shares his latest single and video for “GTFO” available now via OURNESS/AWAL. A bold return since the release of Genesis Owusu’s debut album Smiling With No Teeth in March 2021, “GTFO” arrives with an accompanying music video directed by Rhett Wade-Ferrell aka Uncle Friendly.

In the film, Uncle Friendly, who is represented by Interrogate in the U.S., takes a small, simple idea and amplifies it to bizarre heights. The clip opens on Kofi Owusu-Ansah (Genesis Owusu) kneeling in prayer before a candle-lit shrine as he recites the song’s opening lines.

After an escaped cockroach breaks his attention, the remainder of the clip sees Owusu driven insane as he hunts down the elusive insect, wreaking havoc on his apartment in the process. Golden and shadowed tones blend in a textured haze, as Kofi yells ‘get the fuck out’ over the marching refrain of the beat, creating the feeling of a beautifully dreadful fugue state.

A horror movie fever dream in which a man struggles against an unseen denizen in his house, it’s a cinematically thrilling treatment for Genesis Owusu, who has defied genre and style to keep the limelight burning. Uncle Friendly was already aware of Owusu’s exponential talent before the Creative Director of Ourness reached out and asked if he’d be interested in directing a video for him. Having withheld from shooting music videos for the past six years (“because it’s really hard to find the perfect storm required to do something great”), Uncle Friendly found the timing of the request serendipitous.

With only one human element to deliver the dramatic performance, Uncle Friendly was pleased to report, “Luckily Kofi has a great presence on screen and could carry the performance even when his co-star was a green dot on the end of a stick.” With an eight-week turnaround, the video was storyboarded out to allot for the time to finish the specific number of VFX shots, as all the cockroach shots were created by CGI – except for the cockroach under the glass.

Due to the heavy interaction, they decided to use a real roach for this shot. Yet sourcing the ‘talent’ was a strange turn of events. As. Uncle Friendly explains, “Seeing as we live in Sydney, we figured capturing a cockroach wouldn’t be hard, but the week before the shoot the cockroaches of Sydney must have heard what we were planning because no one saw a single roach that week.”

The crew purchased pet store-sized cockroaches meant to feed to snakes, but they were half the size of the creature model and wouldn’t suffice. Then, as Uncle Friendly recalls, “I kid you not, at 5am the day of the shoot I’m texting the production designer five minutes before I go to set and we don’t know what we are going to do because no one has caught a cockroach. And I turned on the coffee machine and this big perfect beautiful cockroach walked out of the back of the machine and literally stopped right in front of me. I was already holding the coffee glass so I just put it over him and he got the job.”