Mattis Dovier Talks XXX

BLACK | WHITE | DARKNESS

MATTIS DOVIER TALKS XXX - Questions by Luke Tierney

This is the stuff. The real stuff, you know. People want this but only Mattis has it, which leads us to the now. This is the stuff of nightmares, beautiful retro nightmares. A part of a long standing partnership with XXX, 'Liquor' has all the classic traits of a Mattis Dovier animation. (He also taught us the word, autodidact. So. What a bloody guy.) With a style so distinct it's easy to see why both artists and platforms want their own unique Mattis Dovier and why sites like Word Is Cheap want to know more. We caught up to chat about style, influences and whether anything is too dark for him.

 

WORD IS CHEAP: How and when did you develop your style of visual?
MATT DOVIER: I made graphic design studies and after that I started to learn traditional animation as an autodidact, making short videos and gifs without showing them.

A friend of mine, who works in the independent label Stellar Kinematics, asked me to make a music video for one of their artists, Plurabelle. I found their music very haunting and evocative ! As I was alone, I had to find a way to work quickly so I thought about the pixel art of early macs period, that was brilliantly used for games and visual novels by the pioneering Mike Saenz, or more recently by russian illustrator Uno Moralez.

This minimalistic aesthetic allowed me to draw quickly and make more summary animations.

In the same time I discovered ero-guro manga and I fell in love with the work of Suehiro Maruo, its dark and tortured but also very poetic atmosphere coincided very well with Plurabelle’s song.

So It was a mix of influences and a lot of DIY until I found something that suits me well.
I don’t censor myself, I just want  to avoid needlessly burdening the purpose. I like animation precisely because it is a big area of freedom
WIC: How does it work when coming up with ideas for a music video, how much depth do you have to go into?
MD: Music is truly inspirational for me, I usually work while listening music because it puts me in a special atmosphere, like a bubble, and brings me mental images . It is the same process for making a music video, the purpose is to express visually what I feel when I listen to the track.

I usually take my time, especially at the research phase, I start drawing when I find an idea that really stimulates me. Then, I draw the key scenes but I keep a certain amount of freedom to let new ideas enter in the process. I don’t like to draw a very precise storyboard because I feel a bit locked then, I like to develop my ideas while I draw them. It’s like a virtuous circle, the more I draw things which I am satisfied, the more I am motivated and have interesting ideas.

WIC: Do you ever think of visuals and think "oh no, that's too dark"?
MD: Sometimes I abandon an idea or a scene I find too seedy. I don’t really like gratuitous violence, at least it must be fun to watch, like a good B movie. The music video I made for « Flight Attendant » is more violent but also more second degree than « Inside » that was made to be very serious. In this latter, I tried to suggest more the anxiety by the atmosphere.

But I don’t censor myself, I just want  to avoid needlessly burdening the purpose. I like animation precisely because it is a big area of freedom, while live video can be more restrictive as it is much closer to reality.

Drawing allows me to represent terrible things with poetry using an elegant treatment, I think everything can be shown with an interesting aesthetic.

WIC: Has working with XXX repeatedly helped the process?
MD: I really enjoyed working with XXX because I really like their unconventional and uncompromising approach.

I am very interested in Korean culture and rap scene which is rising very quickly, but I hadn't heard something as original, fully emancipated from the general trap scene. We can feel their belonging to their own culture and codes strongly assumed and claimed. The rhythm of their tracks, especially « Flight Attendant », is also very interesting, it is never linear, sometimes deconstructed, with breaks…I really understood the complexity of their music when I made the editing.

For the second music video, I was more familiar with their style and their vision of things, so that made it much easier.

WIC: What is it about black and white that you like? Will you ever work in colour?
MD: I really like black & white since I discovered the work of comics masters like Alberto Breccia or Frank Miller. I have always been fascinated by the play of contrasts, I find it brings a unique atmosphere.

Of course, it depends on what you want to tell, as I generally work on horror and dramatic genres, it matches very well.

It is also a question of efficiency, like mangakas who draw only with dark ink and screentones in order to produce quickly, and it is coherent with the low-res aesthetic.

But I frequently think about making more luminous animations, with colors.
I like animated movies that bring an engaged point of view of society and human relations
WIC: There's an element of sound design within your work, how do you decide when to include and do you do it yourself?
MD: The element of sound design in « Liquor » was included by XXX in the original track, it is a reference to Shining, when the character knocks at the door. In the story of Liquor I found it interesting because it brings a cinematographic side, increasing the pressure.  It is also a clue about the mental state of the protagonist, as the theme of the music video is paranoid schizophrenia.

WIC: What influences have you been into originally and recently?
MD: In addition to the references previously cited, my influences are mainly japaneses, I am a big fan of the Katsuhiro Otomo school, with Akira of course but also Satoshi Kon, who is one of my favorite director because he succeeded like no other to play with cinematographic codes in animation. Then, there is of course Momoru Oshii with Ghost in the shell and Yoshiaki Kawajiri.

I have also drawn my inspiration from the work of two french Illustrators and animators named Ugo Bienvenu and Kevin Manach (who are behind this music video:)

I follow them since their graduation at Gobelins school and their work was a real click for me because they use animation to raise very matures subjects like intimacy, desire, voyeurism, innocence and melancholia.

Overall, I like animated movies that bring an engaged point of view of society and human relations.

Word Is Cheap

word is cheap is the site to go to for all your music video needs. A site so visually stimulating it's already banned in North Korea. You can dance if you want to. -
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