Music video director Nabil Elderkin mixes with the big guns of the music industry, we’re talking Kanye West and Bon Iver here. Looking over his portfolio is like gorging on a visual feast – his stylish, cinematic and down-right stunning imagery can hardly be contained on our Apple monitor. Bowlegs of course had questions – how it all began, hanging with Kanye and what’s next.
Bowlegs: You were raised in Australia – how did you break into the music video scene? Was it after you had moved to LA? Was one of your films a turning point in your career?
Nabil: I was raised in Australia – great place to grow up. The music videos came out of my relationship with musicians, after working with them on their photography. It had always fascinated me and I was given the opportunity to try a video. The artist liked it, others saw it, and off we go. Still trying to get to that turning point!
Bowlegs: Towers, the new video for Bon Iver is stunning – where did the idea stem from? Where was it filmed?
Nabil: It was filmed in Washington State. The idea stemmed from listening to the song on repeat and it’s just what came into my mind. It was also from a line interpreted by Justin to me in an email. I like to keep the idea open and let the viewer take from it what comes to them. I also tried to keep a cohesive feel from the Holocene video of nature and a simple journey.
Bowlegs: Are you involved in the CGI effects in videos like Towers? Must be quite a buzz when you see the finished product? Has there been a time when it has turned out nothing like you imagined?
Nabil: It has definitely turned out far from what I wanted. But then I had to just go in and get articulate or pull more references, or get a new post team. I was very involved in Towers. I had my guy design them then send the base 3D model to the post guys to work off of.
Bowlegs: What was Justin Vernon’s reaction to the films you have made for his music?
Nabil: The best reactions I have had from any artist – very respectful and warm messages. He is a class act.
Bowlegs: Frank Ocean has a great face for the Novacane video – how did that idea develop and what’s with the cool panda effect at the end?
Nabil: It developed over a coffee in the back of my office. I sat there with him and explained a simple idea I had, he liked it, we made it. My reference was a bit Fear and Loathing … the panda came from his interest with all things Asian at that time. So I ran with it.
Bowlegs: I’m guessing having worked with Kanye West on numerous videos you are quite relaxed with him. But was making the first video a daunting task? How is he to work with?
Nabil: Working with Kanye isn’t relaxing per say, but relaxing isn’t how I work either. He has a lot of ideas and is very creative himself, so it’s finding the balance. I really respect his level of creativity – it helps fuel mine.
Bowlegs: What music videos have you seen lately that you’ve been impressed by?
Nabil: Just watched this video for The Shoes by Daniel Wolfe. Wow! I also really like about everything Romain Gavras does. Both very cinematic and thought provoking directors.
Bowlegs: A lot of your films have a very cinematic feel to them – is going into film something you will do at some point?
Nabil: Yes. And thank you.
Bowlegs: What have you got pencilled in for 2012?
Nabil: Few videos, a short film or two, then hopefully feature mode.
Head to Nabil’s Vimeo page to check his amazing portfolio.