There are a handful of well-known film directors, and an even smaller handful of well-known music video directors. But RT! is one of those directors. He was the keynote speaker during the 2012 Music Video Night, part of the REEL World Film Festival, and he was present at this year’s showcase, too.
Emerson caught up with RT! before the show to chat about his start in the industry and the art of the medium.
RT!: I just have to tell you, I lost my voice yesterday, so it might drop in and out, so hopefully I don’t mess up your interview.
Raz Mataz Magazine (RMM): How did you lose your voice?
RT: [laughs] I yell a lot, so. . .
RMM: How did you first get started directing music videos?
RT: I was working at MuchMusic back in the day. I would just see a lot of music videos come in the door, and, you know, I was a critic of some of the videos that were coming in the door, and I said I could do that; so it started from there. I watched a lot of videos back in the day, analyzed them, so I figured I could do that. So, that was the start of it, me thinking I could do it.
RMM: When you were watching them, back in the day, what videos really caught your attention that might’ve inspired you, or influenced the way you work?
RT: Some of my favourite directors, you know, Little X, now known as Director X is one of my mentors, loved his videos. Hype Williams, Mark Romaneck, Spike Jones, some of these guys now that have moved on to do feature films and stuff, so I loved their work. There was an artistry that they brought to a video. Other videos could just be people just singing, doing whatever, but these guys were bringing art, combining art into film, so it was a great thing.
RMM: What kind of art are you bringing into your films? What are you trying to convey in these music videos?
RT: I think for me, it’s just continuing that tradition. So, try to bring something artful into it, trying to capture people’s emotions. I love music, I love how music can make you feel certain things. You play a certain song, it’ll pick you up. When you’re feeling down, if you want to feel sad, you can play another song and it can make you feel sad. Music has that effect, effecting your emotions. So when I do a video, I try to emulate that emotion that’s in the song with the visual, if I can. If I can take you on a ride that feels like the same emotion that you feel when you listen to the song, then I did my job.