David Wilson is one of those annoyingly talented video directors, insatiably reinventing himself and creating striking new work along the way.
His videos for Metronomy ‘The Bay’, Japanese Popstars ‘Let Go’ and Keaton Henson ‘Charon’ have just been nominated for 6 UK Music Video Awards at this year’s ceremony, including ‘Best Director’, which is an achievement in itself but then it was only the year before last that he picked up ‘Best New Director’. A 2007 illustration graduate from Brighton University David is now 26 and fizzing with the kind of creative energy that only crops up once in a while. He regularly VJs at festivals including Glastonbury and Latitude, and is also a contributing writer to the motion graphics blog motionographer.
Fresh off a plane from Hyper Island in Sweden and in-between numerous projects, David took some time to answer a few for i-D.
Looking at your films they are quite different stylistically from one another: from your recent super sexy live action Metronomy video to the more brazen animated promo for Japanese Popstars. Is it a conscious decision to create something different every time? For sure. I view music videos as an opportunity to push and try something different in my work. At the point I’m at, I don’t want to stay still, I want to continue to push myself and try new things. Although, of course, I also aim to expand my mind in my personal work, if I get to expand my working practice whilst working it’s the best of both worlds, and when you’re able to write the script yourself for a music video, there’s definitely an inclination to make that happen.
As well as being a filmmaker you also work as an illustrator, VJ and make installations. All three seem to converge quite nicely in your Moray McLaren film. The film is ingeniously technical how did the idea develop? It all sprang from being asked to do a live piece for Becks beer, back in the day when I was a recent graduate. I was asked to create a piece of work from afresh within 4 minutes. Being really into making my drawings move at the time, I want to see if I could find a way to make an animation within 4 minutes that could be shown immediately without the need for computers. This, of course, led me to Zoetropes, and successively to Praxinoscopes. The live event was broadcast over the internet. Coincidentally, the commissioner for the music video was watching, and the rest is history.
After winning best newcomer at the UKMVA’s in 2009 and being recently nominated for best director this year, what impact have the awards and nominations had for you? A massive impact. It’s a real honour to be nominated for anything, let alone such a prestigious award. I guess the kind of bands and artists I’ve tended to work with over the past year have been quite independent and have therefore been quite artistically minded. It’ll be interesting to see how my work develops now I seem to be on a bit of a radar because of the awards. It’s made me a lot more aware that people are watching!
Dead or alive, which five guests would you invite to your dream dinner party? The best dinner party I’ve had in recent times was with my friends Dan, Dan, Julia, Mikey and Tom. I want to have that dinner party again please. I guess it’d be good to get Jesus along for a bit, just to say we’ve met him, but maybe he could leave after the first course and then come back for Karaoke. I’ve heard he can get a bit preachy.
How different for you is the process of working on advertising projects like the Nokia N8 Pink – Freedom spot to the world of music videos? There are a lot of differences; plus’s and minus’s. On a commercial, the budget’s bigger, so you can let your imagination go a little bit more and you don’t feel any guilt for getting anyone to work for you – usually there’s a massive guilt I feel on music videos as so many people work for little/no money. There’s a lot more time, and you’re really able to spend the time you need to get the shots you want. On the downside, commercials mean that things do take a bit longer all round; both pre- and post-production. On music videos there’s not much time and the artists usually need something as soon as possible. In commercials there’s a lot of time to chew it over; both for yourself and the client. It has good and bad sides.
What’s the best thing you’ve seen this month? M83′s promo for ‘Midnight City’ by Fleur & Manu.
What’s coming up next / what are you working on? At the moment I’m working on a project called ‘Alternative Advent’. It’s essentially a culmination of the past 9 months of creating live visuals for my VJ shows and putting the content online. There will be a new clip to watch every day for 25 days during the month of December. An announcement will be made about the iPhone App in the next few weeks, as well as how the videos will be hosted online. I got different bands to create new pieces of music for each clip and so many acts that I admire have come onboard including; Metronomy, Jon Hopkins, Keaton Henson, Little Boots, We Have Band, Bo Ningen, and Dominique Young Unique amongst many others. I’m super excited about it.
Text: Jack Robinson