TNC Interview 2022
Moonbathing in February
The way we consume music has drastically changed over the past 10 years, but one thing that has remained the same is music videos. Over the decades, music videos have retained their power to convey music to audiences in ways that are almost indescribable. There is a skill, beauty, and wonder captured in the three or five-minute video that brings a deeper connection between the listener and the artists.
This is brilliantly captured in "The Old Style Raiders", the first single in six years from Jamie T and directed by Niall Trask. Filmed on 16mm and in black and white, the music video brilliantly blurs the lines between music video and short film. It doesn't just draw you in, it leaves you a little in awe.
We spoke to Niall about "The Old Style Raiders" and "Moonbating in February" for Fat White Family, which will have its world premiere at Rio Cinema, London, on November 3rd.
Hi Niall, thank you for talking with The New Current, how have you been keeping?
Good! Appreciate you taking an interest in what we’re up to. Just sat on a bus with Dan my producer. Racing across London for a night shoot.
Back in 2018 you where nominated for a UKMVA for Pumarosa’s “Lion’s Den”, what did it mean to you to get this type of recognition for you work?
I was happy. Not sure if I lack confidence in the same way most people do. But either way, I’m hesitant and unsure about my own ideas often and having people other than my friends and family showing some affection for the things I direct, in this case the MVA people - made me feel like the ceiling is a little higher and that I should keep being me.
When did you decide you wanted to be a filmmaker?
About age 14, I reckon. Couple years after I realised playing for Arsenal wasn’t gonna happen.
Where did your passion for directing music videos come from?
I’ve always been enamoured with London (growing up in the country) and working in film here, since visiting my Uncle Marcus. He’s a big influence for sure. My friends Dom and Emile’s parents letting us stay up all night watching the sci-fi channel. And 50p charity shop horror VHS tapes in Bury St Edmunds.
Was there any particular project you worked on that sort of opened the doors for you?
No. Just constant rejection and sneering! Which bothered me less than most people and I don’t mind being broke and angry as much as everyone else, maybe.
Looking back at your debut music video and your latest one what would you say are the biggest differences in your filmmaking approach?
It was all stock footage back then. Just editing stock footage as I had no collaborators. Now I have collaborators - people that I guess must like working with me and they have made my work much better.
The Fat White Family’s “Moonbathing In February” features Charlie Cooper in the trailer, with Charlie being a fan of the Fat White Family was it was to get him on board?
We chatted on Instagram about a mutual actor we cast and then he agreed to generously go out of his way to shoot that little trailer. I wanted to work with him again, but he stopped chatting to me! Think he realised I’m an idiot.
The concept to “Moonbathing In February” is really unique how did you and the band come up with this?
Boredom, LSD, lockdown.
Your World Premiere for “Moonbathing In February” takes place as part of the Doc ’n’ Roll Festival at Rio Cinema on 3rd November, are you looking forward to watching this with an audience, will there be any nerves?
It doesn’t warrant 400 people paying £11.50 each. Am looking forward to seeing what people think though. And then attempting to intellectualise the poor quality of the film, depending on how self-conscious I’m feeling.
If you could use 3 words to best describe “Moonbathing In February” what would they be?
Boredom, LSD, lockdown.
As a filmmaker, one of very few in the UK from state school, will this DIY/independent style remain part of your filmmaking process?
Ha! I should remove that from my Instagram profile really. ‘1 of only 6 state school educated individuals working in UK Film industry’… Kind of a tongue in cheek barb towards privileged people trying to find currency to get what they want. Donald Trump did the same thing to appeal to working class voters. The Tory’s have done a similar thing recently. The less I say on that, the better for future employment.
You latest music video for Jamie T, “Old Style Raiders” was released just before the summer, has had a really amazing reception. How did you get involved in this project?
Through my agent Polly. Sam and her have kept me really busy this year and I’m very grateful. I worked with Jamie’s management last year too on another job and I think they were happy to have Dan and me back.
During the pre-production stage where did the idea come from to shoot on film?
Early on. Half the time we want to, we can’t afford it. But yeah this one had to be, to really capture the 1645 vibes.
What are the biggest challenges you faced filming “Old Style Raiders” on 16mm?
Sacrificing something else because of the cost. Always a Venn Diagram with music videos. And also not seeing the rushes for 72 hours or so! Always a little nerve-racking.
"I’ve noticed as a freelance editor that often people shooting 16mm are from a fashion background and think that just because it’s gonna look beautiful they can just neglect any sort of narrative or even anything conceptual!"
Does shooting on film make you more aware of the editing process or the cost of making mistakes during shooting?
I always edit and direct, so I’m always thinking like an editor when shooting and so naturally I can be conservative with the stock. As an editor it’s a bad sign if you get a shitload of footage, means it’s not been thought through. Saying that, despite film school telling you the opposite, I think people are actually lazier with film often. I’ve noticed as a freelance editor that often people shooting 16mm are from a fashion background and think that just because it’s gonna look beautiful they can just neglect any sort of narrative or even anything conceptual!
How vital was the creative collaboration between you and your DOP Adric Watson on a project like “Old Style Raiders”?
Very. That man is an alchemist, seriously. Having people like that come on board and give their time up makes me feel like I’m doing the right thing creatively. Got a great Australian team now. Him and Marnie Perkins, costume designer, she’s done an amazing job on so many videos with me. They’re both invaluable collaborators. Along with Rob Jarvis, Dan Matthews, Harry Chapman, Jai & Dan at Rascal, Polly at OB and randomly my driving instructor Gary gets involved a lot…
You’re currently shooting another music video with Jamie T, can you tell me anything about this new project?
I’m not sure to be honest. I better not risk it! He’s great though btw, the whole crew loved him last time.
Do you have any advice or tips you would offer someone wanting to get into filmmaking or music video?
Always try and get paid unless you’re a runner on one of my music videos… joking… kind of… I would say just try and listen to the right people. Meet loads of people and become a good judge of character. Take advice, listen to some people, and treat others with total disdain.
Finally, what would you like your audiences to take away from your work?
I’m just getting started, using record labels money to experiment. But eventually I would like to make them feel something, hopefully I’m not too burnt out by then to have a go at that!