If Walter Hill’s The Warriors featured an all girl gang who, when not terrorising the New York streets, spent their days perfecting their sporting talents, then they may well look something like Danish singer-songwriter MØ and her cohort of wrong side of the tracks teammates as featured in Emile Rafael’s Walk This Way music video. Rafael drops by to tell DN about his collaboration with MØ and tease us with the promise of a new short film.
We’ve been following your work since early 2012, during which time you’ve directed several music videos, signed to Caviar Content and picked up a Vimeo Staff Pick. How would you say your directing style has developed over the past 2 years?
It’s hard to be objective in saying how my style has changed. I always feel that each project is different, but then people do tell me that all my work has a particular feel and look to it. I guess it’s a good thing. I still feel I’m in somewhat of an experimental stage, trying new things with each new job, I’m just hoping that the further I go the more people will allow me to do exactly what I envision for a project in the first place.
She is totally badass and I wanted to capture that rebellious energy about her.
Walk This Way has echoes of an extended sports brand promo, but one shot with girls from the scary side of town. What was your pitch for the video and how did that develop?
First of all MØ is awesome. I loved her album even before I got the brief. I was really adamant that I didn’t want the video to detract attention away from her, which would be difficult anyway as she has this incredible presence on screen. She is totally badass and I wanted to capture that rebellious energy about her. My thinking behind the brief was to set it within that world of an Eastern European school, with her being the leader of this group of girls that are full of attitude. We see them get tired of doing the same boring routines over and over to the point at which they rebel against their environment. I guess it had a slightly political element to it. Having grown up in Eastern Europe that’s something that was very evocative for me.
The compositions feel very measured, like squad formations?
We wanted the video to have a composed feel, to feel simple and fresh, again not to take away from Karen’s performance. I also wanted to have her Scandinavian influence there within the muted palette. I guess this combination is what made it work in the end.
It’s been three years since your film Partition, is there another short bubbling away in the background or are you strictly about music videos at the moment?
A short is definitely my next big project, it’s been way too long. I crave to do a project that comes purely from me. I have a script that’s almost there so, once I get over that initial stage of doubting every element I’ll just go for it. I hope it’s very soon.