Hairbrained Up-Close: Ben Crase and James Mould

Twice nominated for a Hairbrained Video Award, Ben Crase and James Mould know how to push the boundaries, and – in the process – create interesting, plus stimulating films. Read on to find out where the ‘Brorilla Brothers’ got their start, plus learn about what’s next for this dynamic pair.

Q. Can you share a little bit about your backgrounds, such as where you started out, plus how you landed where you are today?

A. “I started my career at the Vidal Sassoon Academy in London and received further training with the AllilON Education team whilst working as a stylist at London-based Ena Salon,” says James. “In 2015, I relocated to San Diego and became the Education Director of Hyde Edwards Salon.” 


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“I graduated from the Paul Mitchell Academy in San Diego,” Ben says. “I’ve been working behind the chair for the past 10 years at Hyde Edwards Salon, and I’ve continued my training through courses at he AllilON Academy in London.” 


Q. Describe your average day behind the chair.

A. “James and I – our day-to-day schedules are very different,” says Ben. “James works behind the chair just two days per week, plus works with our salon’s apprentices one additional day.”

“Currently, I work behind the chair five days per week,” he says. However, Ben adds that he’s beginning to stand behind the chair less and less as his role as an educator increases.     


Q. How did you meet – and eventually partner with – Ben?

A. Ben and I met while I was living in London, supplies James. “Ben had seen AllilON at the World Wide Davines Hair Tour, and he was inspired,” he adds. Ben enrolled in a class, and we met there. “We spent time hanging out whilst he was in London [for the academy course], and he came back later with the Hyde Edwards team.” The two kept in touch, and their friendship grew. They began working together in 2015 at Hyde Edwards Salon, and in 2017 they launched their own brand, III Education.


Q. You’ve branded your collaborative videos ‘Brorilla’ (for which you’ve been twice nominated for an HVA). What’s the significance or inspiration behind the concept/name?

A. The inspiration came from James; he wore a gorilla mask to a Halloween party. “I suggested that we make a haircutting video wearing the masks,” says Ben. “The idea isn’t meant to be silly, but rather [thought provoking] and cool. The masks take away from the concept of individuality, and put the focus on haircutting – which is the most important thing to us,” he adds. 

“The name Brorilla came from our good friend and photographer/videographer Alex Hurtado,” supplies Ben. “Alex is a major contributor to the video’s we make, plus a really good friend.”   


Q. At what point did you become interested in filmmaking?

A. “Filmmaking was something I began out of curiosity – a hobby,” says James. The craft hairdressing industries burgeoning fascination with video, plus ramped up production of them further stimulated his curiosity. 

“I was seeing some really cool videos,” adds James.  “When I see something, I like to dissect it, and understand how to create it. Through [a lot of] trial and error, video work became a big part of what Ben and I do now. We use it as a training tool to assess what we are doing with our hands; the camera doesn’t lie, and it’s a great way to critique [yourself] and grow,” finishes James.   


Q. How do you conceptualize a film, from start to finish?

A. “Creating films is always a collaborative process between James, Alex and myself,” says Ben. The trio starts out with an idea, and through explorative trial and error, test it’s viability. “We get models and [source] a location that has the vibe we’re going for,” explains Ben. “We film, [which can take] a solid 8-10 hours. We try to work as methodically as possible.”

“Once the editing process starts, James and I select our favorite shots, and then Alex takes over [the project],” he adds. Once they have a rough draft of the video, the trio works closely to break down the process, critiquing themselves and learning as they go. But working as a unit isn’t always easy. “If one person says no – it’s a no.”

The last thing that they add to their film is music – but the music definitely doesn’t take a backseat. “We try to choose music that compliments the hair,” Ben emphasizes. When James and Ben do hair, they always try to push the creative line, in a tasteful and detailed way. “For us, the music has to be the same.” 


Q. What’s next for the ‘Brorilla Brothers?’

A. James and Ben share a laugh at the title Brorilla Brothers. “Next, we’ll be at Hairbrained’s HVA4 Awards, which are held in March in New York City,” says James. “Of course, we’ll continue making videos and [offering] education through III Education.”

“We have an exciting year planned,” confirms James. Throughout 2017, James and Ben will be traveling and educating internationally. “South Africa, London, Croatia, Australia, Japan, and numerous cities across Northern America,” says James. Of course, they’ll continue to document their work and travels, sharing their journey through film.

“We’re incredibly grateful [for all of it].”