VICTOR PAKPOUR TALKS TO AKA JACK RIVER
The bond between a director and artist is a very meaningful thing. Well unless they’re a DJ/Producer then they are a literal ghost. See ya! But not in this case, in the case of Victor Pakpour and Holly Rankin AKA Jack River, two artists who previously hadn’t known each other soon realised how in sync they were. Together they’ve made a dreamy retro trip with Americana tinges. A film put together on the unique Super8 film instantly setting it apart from all others. The two got together to have a chat about the who’s, why’s, where’s and what’s. Oh and we asked them about their creative process.
Victor Pakpour: Where did the inspiration of the idea come from, the song and video deal with ambiguous imagery?
Jack River: The songs lyrics are pretty direct, especially in the verses (the chorus’ are more vague & metaphoric). Victor and I wanted the on screen version to be ambiguous so that the viewer can make the narrative her/his own. I wanted the feeling of ‘wanting to hold on, disparity of character, and grasping but never touching’ – instead of this playing out as a literal narrative, you actually kind of feel it inside you, in this subliminal, strange way.
VP: What attracted you to Victor’s work?
JR: It felt like Victor and I had twin imaginations, his sense of striking a balance between old textural qualities and new imagery, that neon feeling, with the added love for the ocean, and a nostalgia for americana in an indirect way – all these things drew me in.
JR: Why Super 8?
VP: Super 8 feels much more personal than digital to me as a format. Especially when you’re looking at smaller frame formats like Super 8 which were the home video before ‘video’. I thought the tones and colours matched with the concept, worked better with the song’s overall themes of intimacy.
JR: What was it like working so closely with the artist?
VP: Holly was very open to collaborating on ideas and we connected to do the clip based on my previous work. It’s nice to know as for a while now, I’ve built up my aesthetic working with artists similarly who have been more interested in my specific body of work in general.
VP: Is there a collective vision for the song’s lyrics and the images we see onscreen?
JR: I think the song tells the story, and the images on screen set out to cast a feeling. It’s a frustrating, slow feeling, that the song was born from, a loving but annoyed feeling of wanting someone to notice you/turn around and say ‘I want you’. It’s also very much written from a females perspective, and there’s another girl involved, but we never see her in the film. Just as in real life, an antagonistic third person is usually just out of reach/you don’t see them if you’re other half is ‘seeing’ them haha..
So is it what she is imagining – is Gabby imagining this guys mundane and indecisive world, whilst she waits for him? And the chorus’ are her outlet? Or is the clip a love letter from his perspective? ~ There are a million ways you could take what you need from it. I don’t think we’ll ever know and that’s the cool and quaint beauty of this clip, for me.
JR: You’re quickly becoming known for a specific and detailed aesthetic style, how did this play a part in creating a video that leaned itself closely to the lyrics.
VP: It’s an emotional song and I wanted the video to capture the energy that I felt whilst of course using my eye guiding the overall look.
JR: The super 8 home footage like quality feels reminiscent of films such as Paris Texas, was it a conscious decision to look at an older aesthetic, and were you inspired by other films / filmmakers when creating the piece?
VP: I’m inspired by a more older side of cinema because examples such as Paris, Texas, and other road films of the similar period are timeless in their look and story arc. There’s this notion of creating a world you want to live in, as it’s real but also far away removed from how we live today. A part of the escapism of that magic has always been what’s inspired me to make films in the first place.
Word Is Cheap: Tell us a bit about your process collectively.
VP: I love creating simple storylines without obvious meaning. My intention was to let the audience try to find their own deeper understanding through what they see, I just present a few options the way I see things too. For me I’d also say it’s a gut my instinct to make what feels right, rather than emulate a trend.
JR: It was super interesting working with Victor as we met on Skype via our mgmt and just naturally kept talking forever about things we loved. There was a kind of unspoken intuitive connection that I feel, plays out in another world in the clip. A magic you can’t quite touch.