Your Shot: Director X on the Drake ‘Hotline Bling’ Promo That Broke Vine
When Drake’s new video dropped last week, the Internet went into meltdown. The Toronto rapper’s dodgy dance moves were embraced by Viners who created memes at a stupefying rate.
The video itself marks Drake’s fourth collaboration with Director X, and is a nod to the colour-shifting visuals of X’s classic videos such as Sean Paul’s ‘Gimme The Light’ and ‘Temperature’. It's also X's first production since his affiliation with the Toronto-based creative collective S8 Group. LBB’s Addison Capper caught up with X to find out why he thinks this promo has appealed to so many people and inspired them to get creative.
LBB> Hotline Bling’s simple nature is quite different to your previous work with Drake - but is a nod to your more visual, classic videos. Why did you both decide to take that approach?
X> Yes, when I met up with Drake, he was excited about the idea of revisiting my classic work with set designs and builds and intimate performances. In the glory days, the budgets were massive and it allowed us to make these concepts come to fruition.
LBB> How did you achieve the lighting in the film?
X> That's the secret to our original recipe, sorry we can't give that one away. But, just know that my DOP, Adam Marsden and I wanted to create a colourful spectacle with our highly stylized set designs.
LBB> People on social media have really embraced the film! How is it for you to see people experimenting with your work?
X> I love it, it is great to see people create their own interpretations and versions of our work. My favourites are the Star Wars and The Tennis memes.
LBB> Did you anticipate any of this happening?!
X> I knew the work would get love simply because Drake is showing a side of his performance that nobody has seen before. In addition, the sets are beautiful, a retreat from the generic hip hop music video stuff. We are pushing the hip hop culture forward.
LBB> The thing people have really taken to is Drake’s dancing. Who did you work with on choreography? How involved were you in that process?
X> Drake was not choreographed, he did his own thing. He wanted to recreate a time when hip hop music videos were just fun and vibes and he nailed it. The tail end of the video, Drake was freestyling with famed choreographer, Tanisha Scott (Sean Paul, Rihanna, Alicia Keys). I applaud him for stepping out of his comfort zone by letting go.
LBB> Why do you think people have taken to it so much?
X> We delivered the unexpected in an authentic way. It’s that element of surprise that is contagious and makes people want to share, meme, tweet...
LBB> You have directed a slew of big-name videos - how has social media changed and informed your approach to producing a music video?
X> Social media has allowed our work to have instant access to a global audience with a great number of impressions. I've never received this amount of media or viral attention before simply because the technology was not there.
LBB> Can you tell us a bit about Creative Soul and the S8 Group?
Creative Soul is this generation of content creators, producers, directors and storytellers. We speak in ideas. We take what we know and apply it to brands, content, and strategy in ways that are real, authentic. As well, our music entertainment background equips us to tell diverse narratives to a youthful audience across all media.
S8 is a creative collective bringing a fresh approach to production and post, led by CEO Rodney Davis. Our S8 integrated model gives our clients a one stop shop service offering. For Hotline Bling video, we combined the talents and expertise of both Smith and Panic & Bob to bring the creative vision to life in a highly stylized way.
Category: Music video , Short films
Genre: Digital , choreography