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Not even a week has passed since Kito Jempere released his 4th studio album, Green Monster, which turned into a journey through love, interconnectedness and creative freedom, and now he surprises us again with one more wonderful project. After having teamed up with over 26 artists from all over the world over fourteen tracks including Adam Evald, Antoha MC, Curly Castro, Jimi Tenor, Yörik and Noteless, among many others, now he’s premiering the music video directed by Grigory Nort which contains both his tracks Strong Accent and Light under the title of Light Accent. Jempere talks to the responsible for the visual piece below.


Breaking through walls, borders, languages and shapes, Kito Jempere's new album is an allegory of the power of collaboration, the sum of forces that stems from a common bond which is musical friendship. Not only has he blended hip-hop, free-flowing jazz and world-building soundscapes into a piece dedicated to his musical roots on an album that also has healing powers and influences from different cultural backgrounds, but he also cooperates with Alexandre Garese on launching a music and art foundation that will support artists worldwide. The foundation will function as a support system to connect and enable artists to collaborate on creative output. And, as we anticipated at the beginning, he goes a step further in the creative field with the release of a new video.

The piece directed by Grigory Nort, with whom Jempere has a chat that you can read below, is the result of a perfectly meshed collaboration, with coherence in which all the agents involved feel comfortable and part of the project.

Kito: Let’s start from point zero, how come we start making it? What was the pre-story?


Nort: Point zero is such a right word for it. You know, it's really hard to tell something about this video and not be pathetic. Not using the words immigrant, self-reinvention, loneliness, or war is almost impossible. But I have to tell you, the process itself of making Light Accent saved me during a very hard moment in my life, no matter what the final result would be, the process was the most important for me. It was that long-forgotten sense dead end that I faced when I came to France. All you need in times like this is one friend who can support you. In my case, it was you. When somebody needs you — that’s golden.

Kito: For sure. But what was the initial idea before you started?

Nort: You know, sometimes, and in my case it happens quite often, when I hear some new piece of music, images start to appear in front of my eyes. Next thing you know, 20 or 30 seconds after, your head is filled with a strong visual sequence, begging you not to ignore it. 5999 out of 6000 such ideas usually get scrapped. forgotten forever, dead in less than 10 seconds. After listening to Green Monster I got such an idea by the time track number two started to play. It was that idea №6000. I wanted to go on protests in Paris and shoot what's going on there. Smoke, fires, molotovs, people trying to change the world, people hoping for a better future, fights, wild energy, dancing. Obviously strong images, amazingly fitting track. What went wrong? I don't know. Was there any story? Was this story mine? I guess not. Something kept me from that crowd because I didn't feel like a part of the crowd. It was my first month in a new country, and that was the only story I had. Being stuck.

Kito: Situations like this always remind us about Orwell, Kafka, and its modern cinema variations like Black Mirror or Twilight Zone. Were you trying to copy that approach for your storytelling?

Nort: Definitely not on purpose. Something made me pick this location, this actor, and this plot. It was completely subconscious. I didn't know what I'm doing, I just did that. It felt right. During that week of April it felt right. Closed doors. No way out. Starting all over again. Now, retrospectively, I'm thinking "Of course! it makes so much sense". I just put everything that was going on inside me into an image.

Kito: Almost a little movie, I would say. What was the process like?

Nort: I guess the main part of it was discovering that location and finding Jack. After I test-screened him on my iPhone while we were scouting, I immediately knew I have a "movie". I can't describe how grateful I am for all his help - he also showed us places we never imagined using. I just hope it's not our last work together. My cinematographer Pavel was also right behind me when I needed it most, often splitting into two or three different occupations on the set. And of course Veronica, my post-production and color-grading fairy. So, you know, getting a team in a new country was the most important. By the way, how did you find all these great rappers for the track? I remember one of them, I think it was Curly, was touring in Paris, and our second idea was to shoot the clip with him.

Kito: Yeah, but we contacted him super late and you got sick the same day. Both rappers were found on Bandcamp actually, once I looked thru the demos I had on the first days of recording I figured out that I need proper rap on it. Something classic and old-school. And of course we don't have them in our country. So, I was surfing thru lots of Bandcamp releases in the Hip-Hop/Rap section, found 10 that I really was into, texted 7, 3 answered, and 2 took over. That's how it happened. But back to the video, because, honestly, when I got the final result, it was so much more than I expected. When did you get the idea of extending the story? How it appeared that Light comes out from the dark?

Nort: As you probably remember, the transition between "let's make a quick no-budget whatever" to "Oh shit, we actually have something here" happened very fast. After I edited the first dailies, I knew that I don't want it to be like all other music videos from MTV or wherever they are now. I mean with a cutting rhythm of 1-2 seconds. At least not entirely. I wanted to have longer scenes, so two minutes of Strong Accent was obviously not enough. To get some ideas at 4 am after 12 hours of cutting, I started to listen to the rest of an album. When Light started to play I knew there is no way I won't use it. And because you’re not called King of Collaborations by coincidence, you let me go as far as I wanted after that. I imagine if I was a hired hand for some band I never met — it would’ve been a completely different process. They would’ve interfered, but you didn’t. Thank you for this.

Words
David Alarcón
Photo of Kito Jempere
Sergey Goorin
Photo of Grigory Nort
Odopt

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