Welcome to Meet a Dork, a feature on Dorkaholics where we get to know a fellow dork somewhere in the world. Through Meet a Dork, we hope to not only establish new friendships with other fans but showcase the vastness of our community, the diversity of personalities, and the unique qualities of each person. This week, we have Johnny Lee, one half of the EDM duo The Hotel Lobby, talking about the pair’s newest music video, Monster, featuring former Disney star Bella Thorne.
Neil Bui (NB): How did the addition of a well-known figure like Thorne change the tone of the set? Compared to all your previous videos? Was it business as usual? Or was there a heightened sense of excitement?
Johnny Lee (JL): The tone of the set is always excitement, seriousness, a lot of talent. My crew is definitely on top of their game and it’s always fun. But not gonna lie, once Bella Thorne showed up it escalated to another level. We were like “oh shit, it’s getting real in the field.”
NB: How many days was she on set?
JL: She was only on set for one day. As a matter of fact, she’s so good at what she does, she showed up and left in two hours. So talk about a super professional A-lister.
NB: Have you gotten any feedback from Thorne about the finished product?
JL: She thought it was amazing and she was thankful to be a part of it. She hopes that it helps us gain a wider audience with her fanbase tuning in.
NB: How were you able to land a well known former Disney channel star in your video?
JL: We’ve been friends with Bella for a few years in the music scene since we’re both based out of Los Angeles. She, her sister, and her family have always been awesome to us. We also played her Coachella show for her label. She has a record label called Filthy Fangs and we played their Coachella party in 2019. And her sister Dani Thorne is also a DJ named COM3T and we’ve done a few shows with her.
We brought her on to our Insomniac Radio show and so we’ve always been friendly. So when it was time to make the music video for Monster, as a friend, she just came to help us out. We help her out too like I edited two of her music videos, Stupid Fucking Bitch and Shake It. Stupid Fucking Bitch is out now, it’s abbreviated SFB.
NB: How much interaction did you have with her? Was there anything that surprised you about her?
JL: It’s pretty straight forward, the interaction I had with her on the video set – she showed up, she was super professional, she’s amazing. Bella picked out her own outfit, had her own hair and makeup done, and brought her two beautiful sisters, Dani and Kaili Thorne. In the end, it was a lot of fun. The night that we were shooting, it was Bella’s birthday at midnight and she was willing to come help a good friend even though it was her birthday, so we surprised her with a birthday cake and we all sang happy birthday to her when she was done.
NB: Speaking of celebs, what is your “dream celeb” that you would like to have featured in a future music video?
JL: We would have loved to have had Avicii or Chester from Linkin Park in a video. Those would have been amazing features to have in a song and a music video. But I guess if we had to choose someone now, maybe Borat. If Borat can come, that would be amazing!
NB: Any future collaboration with Thorne? Would this be a possibility?
JL: She’s honestly just a good friend and has a big heart, just wanting to help me out so I do appreciate that. Bella Thorne and us will definitely be friends for a long time so the future is open. I’m sure we’ll do a lot of different collaborations in the future: music, video, film-wise.
NB: What type of challenges did you face in booking/scheduling and ultimately landing Thorne in your video? Was it difficult? Or a relatively smooth process?
JL: I guess it was a testament to our friendship that it was relatively easy to get everything together with Bella. Much easier than when we have other guest spots, collabs, or even just doing crew scheduling. We have nothing but nice things to say about how amazingly beautiful, talented, and professional Bella Thorne, her crew, her family, her sisters were on set. Much love to Bella Thorne and the Bella Thorne army.
NB: How did the process of creating this video compare to all your other videos?
JL: This process was definitely very similar to every other process. You know I do things very methodically from pre-production to the editing, then marketing, and then publicity and rolling it out. What’s different this time was the energy on the set, around the music video as a whole, and all the anticipation from it.
It actually was so well-received that even in other parts of the world, like in Vietnam, CAC Official and Be Wild, the two biggest dance crews in Vietnam did dance cover videos to the music video. It’s been a bigger reach with Bella Thorne involved. We’re very grateful for that and can’t wait to do more.