David Knight - 22nd Oct 2013

You can tell who the best music video directors are pretty quickly. Like with many art forms having the most interesting concepts is key and then knowing how to execute them in a way no one else can; priceless. Nabil is that person. Each project is individual. They stand alone yet within themselves are cohesive. It is this talent that has encouraged artists such as Kanye West, Frank Ocean, Bon Iver and Foals to repeatedly employ Nabil. You just don't know what you will get.

In this case the contrast of the English countryside and an American low rider set the tone matching the collaborative clash of James Blake and Chance the Rapper on Life Round Here. Somalian pirates, booty shakers and a priest walk onto set. Although it sounds like a joke, it's just another day in the life of Nabil. We were lucky enough to catch up with Nabil and find our what makes drives him to succeed, his thought process for this project, and what track he want to work on next with James Blake...

You've worked with James Blake before, did that make it a lot smoother process this time round?

Yeah it definitely helped.  We got along well on the last one and I think because he was happy with that process it definitely created some trust.  Plus we go out for pints in London town which helps.   

Did shooting in the rain affect your plans at all?

A lot of factors that day affected the shoot – a short day with Chance, hitch problems on the loader, rain…  But somehow it all came together and we worked with what we could - which was about an eight-hour shoot.

You openly love juxtapositions, did the genre-crossing nature of the track influence you when creating the concept for the video in this case?

Definitely. I had Chance and James in London for one day, so I thought lowrider, English countryside, black and white, black and white, and a little more black and white. Put it all together and see what happens..   

All your work is diverse. Would you say individuality is important in your approach to creating a promo?

I would say there is nothing particular to my approach except I want to make something awesome! And make people think… Sometimes they don't turn out as awesome, but that drives me to out-awesome the last one, which also doesn't always work… That's my approach.

I really like how shooting in black & white ties the surreal situations together, almost making them normal, was that the aim? 

Sounds good to me! Thanks.

Going from eerie cliffs to falcon riding low riders – so is there a trilogy in the pipeline for Nabil x James Blake? 

I would love that.. I want to do a video for Our Love Comes Back. Thanks for the motivation Luke!

* Check out Luke Tierney's blog, Word Is Cheap, or his Twitter @wordischeap, for more thoughts on his favourite music videos.

Featured in this interview

    David Knight - 22nd Oct 2013

    Related Content


    Work & Life: Dave Warren, Nomad Editing

    London-based editor Dave Warren has worked on some big commercials, for the likes of Apple and Ford. He has also edited a few music videos in his time, for the likes of Circa Waves, …

    Promonews - 1 month ago


    Work & Life: Dan Cadan, The Graft

    Yorkshireman Dan Cadan, 44, has worked extensively as a writer in film and TV for more than twenty years. But this year has been one of his most productive in music videos as, together …

    Promonews - 2 months ago


    Work & Life: Warren Fu, Partizan

    Warren Fu has been one of the most profilic and successful directors working in music videos for more than a decade. He has been the go-to visual collaborator with a range of artists - …

    Promonews - 1 month ago


    Work & Life: Duncan Loudon, Somesuch

    Duncan Loudon, 25, has made a big impression as a director since he joined Somesuch a couple of years ago. His instinctive feel for the creative possibilities of music videos, his use of …

    Promonews - 1 month ago

    Latest Videos