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Playlist: Jean Paul Frenay

Playlist: Jean Paul Frenay

Bonobo, Michael Jackson, Nine Inch Nails, Faith No More and Anna von Hausswolff are on JP Frenay's Playlist.

Jean Paul Frenay, the director behind promos for the likes of My Brightest Diamond, Son Lux (below) and Kyasma is the focus of this week's Playlist.



What’s the best promo you’ve seen recently and why?

Bonobo No Reason by Oscar Hudson. I liked the hypnotic repetition of this ever shrinking set a lot. It’s a smart and well executed idea that complements the track in a surreal way.



What’s the first promo you remember being impressed by?

I guess the first promo who left a mark on me, as a child, was Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Smooth Criminal which turned the whole music video scene into something new. Music Video became an exciting form of expression. This was even way before I started actively being interested in music and film.

I’m a kid from the eighties and grew up watching MTV when it still was the best media to discover new artists. Alternative Nation, Headbanger’s ball… You had to really prepare yourself to record your favourite music video on tape.

I’m sometimes nostalgic of this good curated TV era.



And what’s your all-time favourite music video?

Mark Romanek’s Closer for Nine Inch Nails and Jonathan Glazer’s Rabbit in Your Headlights for Unkle.

The first one captivated me by the visual imagery referring to well-known painters, like Francis Bacon and Man Ray, and the general impact and strength it gave to the already haunting piece of music. 

The second stuck with me instantly by the performance of Denis Lavant. Mixing the real Foley sounds of the action and the track immersed me into the story even more. The tension building throughout the piece, ending by this cathartic moment when the car crashes on his body, just gave me the chill and never left my unconscious mind.



What other directors/artists do you look to for inspirational?

All things you encounter in your life are part of who you are. Music, photography, illustration, installation, writings, cinema and people can be inspirational at some point even subconsciously. The list would simply be too long. I like the work of so many artists in general that it wouldn’t be fair to mention only a few of them.



What are you listening to at the moment?

Féroces, Einstürzende Neubauten, PVT, Anna von Hausswolff, Son Lux and a lot of movie soundtracks when I’m writing. The latest is Jóhann Jóhannsson’s soundtrack for Denis Villeneuve’s movie Arrival.



What’s your favourite bit of tech, whether for professional or personal use?

My new all time companion: a rangefinder camera.



What artist(s) would you most like to work with and why? 

As a director you need to connect with the song to give you a certain amount of freedom to immerse yourself in it. That’s why, I would love to work with artists such as Nine Inch Nails, Einstürzende Neubauten, Björk, Depeche Mode, Fever Ray, Faith No More, Radiohead… because this connection would happen instantly.



How do you feel the promo industry has changed since you started in it?

I had the chance to deal with the artists I worked for directly so I couldn’t really relate to any specific changes in the music video industry. I didn’t work for any big major artists yet, so I couldn’t compare my experience with working for Beyoncé or Madonna. The labels were always very supportive as they all know doing a music video demands a lot of effort and love dealing with always decreasing budgets for independent artists.

Music videos have had a resurgence of late; where do you see the industry being in five years’ time?

Music video was and still is the best platform for experimentation. It’s the perfect media to create avant-gardist work.

I think we’ll see the emergence of new media a lot more. I’m not even talking about VR or 360. I think the real technological challenge lays within immersive storytelling. Making the viewer and fan interact with the media instead of just being a spectator. I think adding a physicality to the experience could add interesting option in the future. Not sure if this will happen within five years but technology and music will always converge to create interesting art before spreading into other medias.

My Brightest Diamond:  Lover Killer (dir. JP Frenay)

Tell us one thing about yourself that most people won’t know…

I’m a superhero! My power: I can slowly brainwash you with shitty songs that will stay with you the whole day and drive you completely crazy.

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