For his third video extract of his last album Creatures, Rone has worked with French director Ilan Cohen to create a hallucinogenic trip in the streets of Tokyo. During this 7 minutes journey through the Japanese capital, the audience follows a young man in a paranoiac and psychedelic adventure caused by a radioactive sushi. Fortunately, he encounters trumpeter Toshinori Kondo whose sound will take him out of his trance state.
The talent of Ilan Cohen and director of photography Boris Levy combined with Rone’s sounds transform the video into a multi-sensorial excursion both audio and visual.
Following, an interview of Ilan Cohen narrating his own journey through the making of Acid Reflux’s video!
You have known Rone for some time now but had never worked together before, how did you end up working together on this specific project?
I was in Japan for another project and had some free time to travel at the end of my stay. But Tokyo was simply too special and I felt like I should take advantage of it instead. I emailed Erwan with the basic concept of the video and he responded enthusiastically by sending us his track "Acid Reflux". Not only did it feature the Japanese trumpet wizard Toshinori Kondo, but the mood of the track very much matched our desire for night-time wanderings.
The original track was made longer and reworked for the purpose of the video by Erwan. He obviously trusted your vision and was ready to adapt his work to yours. How do you explain his involvement?
The track's atmosphere was perfect for our story, but the original cut doesn't have such an elaborate narrative structure. We showed Erwan a first cut of the video, which was almost 8 minutes long (the original runs about 4 minutes) and which incorporated only the intro and outro of the song: there was a 5 minute musical blank in the middle. Erwan was incredibly positive and immediately offered to rework the track and provide lots of matching sound design to follow the narrative of the music video. This was more than we could have dreamed of! The collaboration was a fun process, as he followed our visual cues for certain musical additions, and we adapted our special effects to his rythmical cues.
On Acid Reflux you worked with Boris Levy, a longtime friend and collaborator. How would you describe your duo?
Boris and I met on a film shoot. He was Director of Photography and I was 1st Assistant Director. We've sinced worked together numerous times in those respective positions, and I made a short film which he shot. As a result, we've become quite familiar with each other's process. We're also close friends, so there's something instinctive in our collaboration. We share a lot in common, but there's a great amount of mutual trust in the other's specific artistic capacities. We'll brainstorm and invent together, but sometimes I'll get ahead with the editing and he'll come in and do a second, more radical pass.
The rest of your crew and the cast, are they also friends you brought from France or did you build a team directly in Tokyo?
Acid Reflux was self-produced, just Boris and I meeting people at random and adapting the schedule on the fly. We were very lucky with the encounters we made in Tokyo. Many wonderful people who decided to trust us and made the film possible. It was very much a guerilla-style shoot.
The video has required a lot of post-production in order to achieve such a result. How did you proceed to make it work?
Clément Picon, my childhood friend, is a 3D generalist who has a great eye for detail. We also share a deep-rooted common visual language and sense of humor. It was obvious he needed to be a part of this. But my thinking was that if you were to go on a psychedelic ride in Tokyo, a place swarming with visual stimuli, there would be so many different influences to your trip that it would make sense to have diverse visual identities within the film's special effects. So we gathered a group of graphic artists to each leave their signature on one specific VFX shot within the video. Clem and I then worked at integrating all these different styles in a way which felt homogenous and non-disruptive to the reality of the film.