Nature of Light and Dark in Music and Film
Two acclaimed Namibian artists, a Musician and a Filmmaker, have collaborated on a project described as raw, innovative, unique and guided by intuition. The two are, Steffen List, the Namibian singer and songwriter, also known as Tonetic and Lila Swanepoel the Namibian Film Director who has worked on major international film productions, of Lila Productions. The project is the music video, Relapse shot in the surrounds of Windhoek, using light and shadow to tell the story of the true source of beauty.
It is an avant-garde piece that will be unveiled to Namibians, in what is described as a ‘jam session’ with Steffen List. 99FM’s MYD Art spoke to Lila Swanepoel and Steffen List to find out more about the piece and it’s unveiling post being nominated for Best Music Video Director at the 2017 Namibian Theatre and Film Awards. For the music video of the song, Relapse, from the first Tonetic album, Steffen and Lila wanted to create something never done before, “It’s about finding a place of acceptance through the eyes of something other than people, nature in this case.” Explains Steffen, who goes on to say, “achieving that point where you feel accepted and whole.”
“It was very experimental, for both of us. Beautiful but also unsettling in a way. But it was also a very liberating experience for me. There was no storyboard, so we had to go with the flow. I worked a lot with shadows, with the time of day and with his (Steffen’s) movements, interacting with nature. We didn’t have any budget, we did it out of the love of it.”
Producing this artistic piece had it’s challenges and liberations too, explains Lila, “We didn’t go back to reshoot stuff, we were just in the moment. I also wanted to show Windhoek in a different way, people who have seen it don’t think it was shot in Windhoek. It was very experimental, for both of us. Beautiful but also unsettling in a way. But it was also a very liberating experience for me. There was no storyboard, so we had to go with the flow. I worked a lot with shadows, with the time of day and with his (Steffen’s) movements, interacting with nature. We didn’t have any budget, we did it out of the love of it.” Explains Lila who adds that this labour of love took a year to complete.
Steffen explains that another aspect of this video that makes it unique is the fact that the shoot was done with him entirely naked, which sparks a conversation about male nudity and acceptance. “Quite a number of scenes are cut out completely and I personally found it annoying that I have to lose half my body because of the stereotypes and perceptions of male nudity.” When asked what his message would be in this regard, Steffen notes, “I just want to be happy with what I am, and do not want to have to conform or be categorised to a niche of the stereotype man. The permission to be completely naked and it’s okay, it doesn’t mean that I have a specific intention, it doesn’t mean I’m a threat.”
Lila adds that the way in which the shooting was done, was not to be a male nudist piece, but to rather create fluidity in the art, using light, shadow and editing that in the end, in the piece you do not see gender. This is part of what makes this more than a music video, and rather a statement piece of art.
“I’m hugely grateful to music, it is a tool to define yourself with, or to solve issues for yourself with.”
Music, a tool of expression, Steffen notes, “I’m hugely grateful to music, it is a tool to define yourself with, or to solve issues for yourself with. For me, it’s not a question of popularity the biggest struggle is the process of creation, that’s where it’s hard to not go for simple pop recipes, but to keep it genuine and to keep it as honest as possible. A painful thing as well, but it’s real.”
To see the realness and the rawness of this piece of filmed art, join Steffen List and Lila Swanepoel at the Loft in Windhoek on the 23rd of June 2017, for the launch of the TONETIC’s RELAPSE music video.
At the event expect a unrehearsed jam session with Namibian artists collaborating with Steffen List. You can expect to see the improvising energies of Shishani, Lize Ehlers, Sean K, Heather, Bantu Chanting Warrior and Nambowa D’Malua who will be part of the launch event.
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