Continued collaboration is something we often highlight here at Word Is Cheap. Persistent partnerships often reap rewards so distinctive they leave the most unique impressions. Chris Toumazou and Tropics have embarked on such a journey matching ambient beats with soft untold stories.
Following on from a cuddle based brothel, Toumazou has followed the under/post grad parents after their child has flown the nest. With the two creatives having known each other for years we left them to their own devices, interviewing each other to find out just what makes them tick.
Tropics: What is it that draws you into creating emotional narrative?
Chris Toumazou: Always a response I have with the music. When a track particularly has an effect on me I react personally and draw from the emotional effect of the song.
When I first heard you were working on your new album and listened to ‘Rapture’ last summer. I knew then I wanted to communicate a narrative that could reinforce how emotional and powerful the track was. What’s your favourite music video?
Tr: Ah that is tough.. If you put a gun to my head and I had to choose one I’d probably go with El Guincho – Bombay. I always loved that 16mm vibe, the quick shots, the girls, the nerdy musician performance, the intro talking about the Cosmos. CANADA smashed it.
Do you prefer working with an artist in the video, behind the scenes or not at all?
CT: It really depends, I’m open if the artist has a specific direction they want to go in and it’s a good idea.
It’s easy to forget that the music video is a tool or vessel for the artist to sell themselves. At the same time the music video industry relies on all this creative energy and vision from the director, so there is an element of wanting to be left to it for sure. It’s a toss up for all involved and really about making an informative decision.
The artists I’ve worked with have been very supportive in my ideas being as important as theirs. Having such validation has helped me make better work both for them and myself, because I’m connected to them.
Being primarily an aural artist, what creative importance does music video have for you if any in your mind?
Tr: It’s easy for me to visualise music in some sense. You can call it synesthesia or whatever but I get inspired to make music by visual things all the time, mostly its colourful abstract art (as cliche as that sounds) and photography but when a music video is as fresh and holds as high a production value as the song it’s representing; that highlights all my senses! Casting is key, how do you know when you meet the right person?
CT: I’ve never had the privilege of a casting director and I’m thankful for that. I’ve picked up more of an understanding of the characters/narratives I want to portray through personally sourcing cast either from on the street or in a bar. You can find the most interesting people sat at the back of pub. Just try not to look too creepy watching them.
What does Rapture mean to you?
Tr: The song Rapture is kind of the inner voice of the singer.. battling with the things 20-somethings usually have trouble with; decadence, focus, direction and wanting to feel the love of somebody. Colour sets your vibe, do you see the world in muted tones?
CT: Not so much in muted tones, but I definitely see the world subjectively colour wise. So, what can we expect next visually?
Tr: I have a few things in the pipeline, working with you has given me a lot of insight into the world of music video and left a real taste for more.
WIC: Having worked with Tropics on multiple occasions have you noticed a change in him creatively?
CT: He’s found what he wants to build on with this new album. It’s the best work he’s done to date because there’s so much of himself in it. It’s written from an honest place so it’s an honour to work with someone at such a creative point in their life.
He’s also a genuine close friend now so this might sound slightly biased, but all true nonetheless.
WIC: Having worked with Chris Toumazou on multiple occasions have you noticed a change in him creatively?
Tr: Definitely a progressive change. Chris is this ball of energy that’s always evolving, pushing himself further and obtaining new ideas. He’s a truly talented, creative person and I’d be happy to just stand next to him, watching it all develop!