Terrible Love (Sugar Mountain)
Written and Directed by Rhys Mitchell and Pete Keen. Edited by Tobias Willis. A short film starring Kirin J Callinan for Sugar Mountain Festival 2015.

Tobias Willis is a Melbourne-based videographer whose work spans film, short film and music videos. Has most recently collaborated with Broadway Sounds to create their video catologue, and has worked with Kirin J Callinan, Yeo and Sunbeam Sound Machine, as well as releasing his first feature film 'The Bench' in 2014. Willis will be producing two mixes for the Paradise Cinema, incorporating content from his personal footage collection and his music video work. We talked to Tobias ahead of the festival.

Tell us about crafting a music video- what is the process like when you're working with an artist to create the visuals to a song and how is it different from the planning stage of a film?  

It’s a visual interpretation of the song, so first you need to figure out if it’s called for to tell a story, mash up a bunch of VHS stock footage, shoot a beautiful landscape etc. Preparing is always different.  Usually involves lot’s of coffee, catch ups, emails and me listening to the track 300 times driving down the east link. I like to work closely with the artist and keep them as involved with process as I can, sparing the boring shit like equipment pick ups and catering shopping.

For me personally it’s way more fun putting together a music video, I love music, I get to work on fun projects and collaborate with great artists & people. I do have aspirations to make more narrative films but planning for a film can be a bit of a drainer, I’ll leave it at that.

Broadway Sounds - Shonky Man (Dir. Tobias Willis)

Mel tells me you're making a few mixes of some of your music videos and some of your extra content, can you give us an idea of what you've put together? 

I’ve put tother two music video medleys, one is a collection of works I’ve directed this year. All the videos in this mix are somewhat inspired by psychedelic music films from the 1960’s such as ‘Wonderwall’ 1968. They are all tied to together with some trippy visuals and moving ink patterns made by Tobias Mambwe.

The other is pretty much most of Broadway Sounds music video catalog which I’ve been working on with ADP/Broadway Sounds. It features the fine things of life mixed with the strange and bizarre. You’ll see karaoke, safari, seedy magic, burgers, luxury, romance and glamour. To me, this medley is like if Broadway Sounds put together a dating tape in the early 90’s, although ADP may disagree.

What do you think makes a good music video? Are there any elements that you always like to work in, such as a storyline, types of footage? 

It’s very subjective, nothing in particular really. I like weird things but can also appreciate a beautiful well-shot story. I guess it all stems from the concept, doesn’t necessarily always have to be complex or groundbreaking, it just needs work in cohesion with the song.

I like to try and include some nostalgic elements that people can relate to in some shape or form; whether it be a visual style, an item from childhood or a comforting treat. With music videos I tend to lean towards the psychedelic side of things but love a bit of awkward humour - kitsch and cringe bring me joy. The tracks and type of artist/band with tell me where I’m heading with it all.

Can you share with us any music videos that  stick with you as really wonderful collaborations between videographers and musicians?

I recently watched Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat It’ on a plane and realised it’s the perfect music video. 

King Gizzard and Jason Galea are a match made in heaven.

With recent advancements in the way we watch TV and an increase in watching shows or music videos on computers or phones, why do you think the idea of having a music video remains strong and relevant? 

If anything it’s more relevant now because it’s so easy to consume content now. It’s available immediately and there is a strong demand for a constant flow of fresh content. And it’s always going to be nice to have a visual in some form to compliment music.

The cinema at Paradise is a neat way to integrate what you do as part of the music experience, with live music performance. What do you make of having a cinema at Paradise? 

It’s just brilliant. It makes sense and it’s so lovely to have platform to screen to a particularly relevant audience.