From the man that’s never done a promo by the book its of no surprise Cloud Boat’s latest is as odd as it is gripping. Style takes over substance as a loose plot ensues. Everything is set up to go one way, the clothing, venue, characters, yet you are led in a completely different direction as Cloudboat’s track drifts past. The perfect soundtrack to an unusual scene.
Having previously directed for other interesting acts, TROPICS and My Panda Shall Fly, Cloud Boat knew they had a trusted talent in Chris Toumazou. Leaving much unanswered in the Promo we knew we needed to catch up with Chris to find out what’s what as well as how the project came about, and the importance of art direction.
wic: You often work with “cool” acts, how did this project come about?
CT: “Cool” acts is an interesting reference. I think it’s mostly down to my taste in music really and working with artists/labels I actually like. I’ve always been interested in alternative types of music to mainstream stuff, it just so happens it’s ‘cool’ right now I guess. The artists reached out to me personally as did their manager, who I’ve worked with before on Tropics ‘Home & Consonance’.
Is it a conscious choice to work with a certain type of artist?
Yes, definitely. I try to reach out to artists personally, but we get a lot of tracks to pitch on through COMPULSORY (my production company). We seem to have a very good relationship with the record labels we like, so we’re in a privileged position, thanks to doing a few videos that became successful.
The promo is itself quite alternative, is there a definitive story occurring in your mind?
I think for me there is always something going on no matter, how abstract the content might seem. A lot of the concepts or ideas come from a feeling or an emotion I try to base the song on, and then craft something from there. It’s always interesting seeing people’s own interpretation though.
The clothing plays a big part in terms of style, was that the aim?
For sure. Art direction is so imperitive to achieve the look and feel of the work I’ve directed to date. I have started to develop a style now and it’s just the case of building, experimenting and adding to it. I always want my work to feel like there is no sense of time, so I’m the kind of person that gets picky if I see a new phone or TV in the mise-en-scene that distracts the video from such a timeless aesthetic.
I worked with an amazing Art Director, Juno Calypso who is actually an artist. I saw her work through galleries, and since then we are now collaborating on various things.
Different characters sing different lines throughout, was this preplanned or did you have decide what made the most sense when editing?
This was all preplanned. As we shot 35mm film, we didn’t have enough stock to mess around, I basically knew what we wanted in the can. We of course experimented a little both in the edit and on the shoot.