Interview w/ Emile Rafael


Emile Rafael creates a journey in the new Emilie Nicolas video, from its complex landscapes to its eerily earthy tone and ghostly blue whales, it really is a cinematic masterpiece from start to finish. From a viewer’s perspective, it’s hard to tell the identity of the woman in the video, which evokes an almost mythological feel to a thought provoking visual narrative. We had a chat with Emile to find out his approach and the decisions behind the video.

Word Is Cheap: What was the concept behind the video and what does the blue whale in the video represent?

Emile Rafael: I was just thinking about taking a road-trip through amazing landscapes. How when it’s just you, the car and the music, that’s the closest I personally come to bliss. You’re forced to be completely in the moment.

So I mainly wanted to translate that feeling. Then I was thinking how with low lying clouds you’d start making out these shapes that eventually become these beautiful creatures in the sky.

there was some discussion of using stock footage of whales and then rotoscoping it. I just knew that the whales had to be totally 3D

WIC: The cinematography in the video is fantastic. What made you choose the mountains and nature as a landscaped background?

ER: Thank you, shot by the awesome Jack Wilkinson battering the non stop rain that we had in shoot. We needed somewhere misty and with low lying clouds which happens around mountains, so Scotland sounded like a place to find that. We shot this around Glencoe, it had an interesting energy about it, very beautiful, but also had a dark ambience about it.

WIC: With so much work done in post were you nervous that you would’t get the desired results?

ER: For some reason I actually wasn’t, but everyone else was, haha.

I mean there was some discussion of using stock footage of whales and then rotoscoping it. I just knew that the whales had to be totally 3D. So I just had to be the director that just keeps insisting on something crazy like that for the budget that we had. But I also had a feeling that we might just find someone who will be just as excited about the concept.

Luckily we found that with amazing guys at Four Walls and Outpost VFX, at the end of the day it was in their hands and they just made it all come to life. Everything we saw was just mind-blowing and it just kept getting better and better. All of them are total superstars at what they do.

WIC: The actress is actually Emilie right, it seems like she is almost being followed or travelling with a companion – was this the case?

ER: It was awesome to work with her, I felt she really understood what we’re going for. She also has a mysterious presence when performing on stage and we tried to translate that through the video and reveal her gradually.

WIC: You’ve worked with a lot of different types of artists like Mø, Catfish And The Bottlemen and Katy B to name a few. Are there any other artists you would like to work with on future projects or work with again?

ER: You know I used to really worry about this and have lists of musicians I’d love to work with. But now I’m more relaxed about it, I feel projects find me themselves. I like discovering new music like that as well. I think this approach makes me happier and makes me open to the tracks I receive.

Natasha West

I love pizza, dogs, music and film scores. Music student and writer.

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