Great partnerships have to start somewhere whether by design or otherwise, that first creative kernel must be planted in someone else’s garden. Geej has done exactly that with HONNE, started. Much like the depth to the minor chords strung, Geej’s vision is filled with emotion. A raw emotion that can be felt as well as seen. Although only two videos in to their collaboration the tone has been set. Left lost in a sea of feelings we knew we had to find out more.
We caught up with Georgina aka Geej Ower and found out what attracts her to low lighting, where her inspiration comes from and how her two HONNE videos work together.
Word Is Cheap: How did you and HONNE start working together?
Geej Ower: Simon, the producer, had worked with Kayak Music previously on a project with Ghostpoet, and I’ve worked on various projects with Greatcoat Films over the past couple of years. When Kayak sent us HONNE’s tracks through we were immediately hooked and on their sound and got together to start discussing ideas. The band were really open and happy to give me creative freedom to develop the concepts which made the whole process a total pleasure.
On hearing the music did you instantly think physical theatre-esque dance?
I come from a background in theatre directing so I think automatically my mind jumps to fairly performative scenarios and strong images. HONNE’s music is so soulful and evocative and for me dance is the perfect form for expressing emotions that otherwise can’t be communicated coherently. Plus I feel you can get away with a lot more using physicality in story telling, especially when you’re working with just visuals and no dialogue. If you removed the element of dance in this it could end up feeling a bit Dawson’s Creek.
How important was the set, did you have a long time to work with it and adapt to it?
I knew we needed to find a really domestic environment that felt like their home they shared, which then juxtaposed with the surreal movement that was happening within it. We totally lucked out with the location in the Barbican, the guys that live there were incredibly chilled about letting us take over the place (and shift all of their stuff into their bathroom each day). We had three full days rehearsal so we spent hours familiarising ourselves with the space, the walls, every bit of furniture, figuring out what was possible so it could be entwined in the choreography. I wanted the space they lived in to be part of the destruction and break down of their relationship.
What is it about low light / night time that you like?
With low lighting you can get more creative with what you pick out in the image, what you choose to highlight or keep in shadow. For me it’s far more interesting not seeing everything, and because of that it can create real moody environments. Myself and Charlie Goodger, the DoP, wanted to work with daylight as much as possible in the beginning of the promo, keeping it all quite silhouetted and cold, making the transition to night and the more abstract lighting in the final scene transport it to a more surreal place.
You team up with the same dancer, Camilla Gutierrez, in both Warm On A Cold Night and All In The Value, how has working with her developed or changed?
Fionn Cox-Davies, the movement director and dancer, brought Camila and Lucia onto the project, they’d all worked together before which made everything much smoother. Camila lives in Barcelona so flew back over to shoot this second video and it was wonderful to work with her and Fionn again, they’re such talents. The rehearsal process felt quite different for this one as it was a lot more tightly choreographed than the last. I scripted a (terrible) dialogue between the two characters so we could allow the movement to naturally come out from that, and we’d always refer back to that when creating to make sure the story was the driving force behind every physical decision. They were both incredibly responsive and committed and a total joy to work with, and made something beautiful out of the nonsense that was coming out of my mouth.
In both videos there are sexual undercurrents, is there a definitive story in your head behind these feelings?
Well actually both videos are a continuation of the same narrative… Warm On A Cold Night is what happens in the story directly after the events we see in All In The Value. James and Andy, the guys from HONNE, had the idea to make two linking videos. We wanted them to be able to stand alone but when watched in sequence were part of a larger narrative. I’m not sure how many people will get that as it’s fairly subtle, but hopefully a few! But essentially both portray different points in a sexual relationship, one is the final moments, one is the very beginning.