G'day folks (sorry not sorry). Wherever you are in the world, check out this exclusive interview with visual artists and directors group Katzki. Down under is where it's @ yo!
Hey Katzki, thanks for talking to us! You’ve got a really interesting portfolio – when did you first start making moving image?
When my brother showed me how to make those little flick-book things. Where you’d draw on a pad of post-it notes one frame at a time. Works like magic. I’ve probably been making movies in my head though for longer than I can remember.
I started making music videos just to play with some of the moving images that would appear in my head when I’d listen to music.
A lot of your work is in conjunction with the vocal-house group, RUFUS. [Their debut album Atlas peaked at No. 1 in Australia, while their second album Bloom went straight to the top of the Australian album charts in early 2016.]
What’s it like working with them?
We all used to make films together and then we sort of started this band where I made music videos. For the first EPs
and album, the visuals and aesthetic were created at the same time as the music. We’d bounce ideas off each other. I think they’ve always been just keen to see where I’d take the music. They trusted me with it. Which is why we could go some really far out, unexplored places. The kind of places you can only get to when you only have a hunch and not much of
Where do you get your ideas from?
The driver’s seat of the car a lot of the time. For music videos at least. Somewhere where the song is just playing and I have nothing better to do than just play along with it. A lot of it has been sparked by vague feelings that seem to come out of the song. Colours and images that dance with the music. Looking back, a lot of the ideas have come from whatever was directly in front of me at the time.
How do you plan out your ideas and turn them into something tangible, alive?
For most of these projects I’ve just stumbled in the dark. I guess it’s other people that I need to make it tangible and alive. Maybe just in voicing the idea to my friends and having them pick up on it. Writing down images. Turning that into an excel document of some sort. A number of days of shooting. Then it feels tangible. And in the doing of it, it feels alive. Holding on to a specific feeling we’re aiming for. Holding onto that feeling but adapting to whatever is put in front of you.
Our favourite piece at AYLY is definitely the visuals for “Like an Animal”. What was the inspiration behind the music video and how did you create it?
The artwork that was being created for the album [cover] by Melbourne artist Jack Vanzet was a series of paint swirls and close ups of pigments. I got Jack in and Ella Gibbons, who is part Katzki, and we started playing with paint under a big light and macro lens. Worlds were created. We had a lot of fun just playing tunes and mixing different colours and working out what materials danced best. Jack was used to just creating a still but we needed the paint to move and evolve. There are a lot of cool macro paint videos coming out now. It’s a great world. I think going from that tiny to something that felt human, kinetic and alive and put that scale in perspective felt like something I wanted to see. The Chemical Brothers were always a big touchstone between me and the RUFUS guys and this video emerged as a kind of nod to ‘Swoon’ and that experience from their live show of seeing something and thinking you understand what it is before it is then flipped on its head.
What’s your favourite music video? What was it like making it?
They all feel like one big evolving music video in a way. The most enjoyable have been the ones where I’m out in the wilderness, on an adventure with my friends and we’re challenging each other out of our comfort zones.
Are you professionally trained? What’s your background like?
Everything I’ve learnt, I learnt by trying to make something.
What programs do you use?
Premiere Pro and After Effects. And Skype.
You hail from Sydney - what do you think makes the creative scene there so unique? Do you think that it has had a part in forming your creative identity?
It’s an interesting part of the world. I loved growing up there. In the waves, the sand, under those big skies, thunderstorms. That’s probably coloured my videos. It’s naturally a great place to play and create. If only it wasn’t all corporate and corrupt and whatnot.
What advice would you give to young directors looking to improve their portfolio?
I always remind myself that any advice I’m giving usually is advice I’m trying to tell myself. With that in mind:
Ask yourself why you want to make it. If it is to improve your portfolio, don’t make it.
"If it is something you want to see in the world, do.
If it is to learn something new, do.
If it is because there’s nothing else you’d rather do, then do."
What’s next on the creative agenda for you?
There’s something blossoming for Inner Bloom [Rufus's sophomore album] and I’ve just edited a whole lot of stock footage for Matt Corby which was different again and felt like an even more organic way to express something. I’ll keep learning and playing with what’s in front of me.