James Gallant is a Slovenian born, London based music video director. He started out as a photographer and then quickly developed a big passion for moving picture which led to music videos.
Since music was always in Gallant’s interest there was no better way to combine a really cool hobby with something he enjoys and produce and direct various video content for all kinds of artists from all around the world.
His visual style is very striking, he likes to work with the artist and the song rather than make videos which will be more like movies only focusing on the narrative side and not support the song. He thinks that “magic” happens when you take the soul of an artist, that something special that each person has and use it to create video which will express the uniqueness, story or emotions that certain artist wants to express through his or her songs.
The music videos he did in the past had a lot of success and got great feedback. Some of them were also featured and released on platforms such as Clash Magazine and Music Crowns.
Gallant is currently focusing on making a lot of new video material for different artists and expanding his reputation across the UK borders.
London Prestige Exclusive Interview with Music Video Director James Gallant
London Prestige: What inspired you to become a director and how did you get into music videos?
James Gallant: I started out as a photographer, mainly focusing on fashion, beauty and portrait shoots where I got a lot of knowledge about lighting and working with people. Then I slowly developed an interest in the motion picture and shot a couple of fashion videos – and that’s where it started. I got more video projects on board and all of a sudden I was fully booked with video shoots. Since music was always my passion I didn’t really have to think twice when it comes to making music videos. At the start, I did a lot of different things in the whole production process but after time and after experiencing different roles on a set I found myself the most in a position of a director so that became my main focus – directing music videos.
London Prestige: What new projects are you currently working on?
James Gallant: At the moment I’m working on a couple of different video treatments and preparing the productions. There are also music videos which are currently in the editing but I can’t tell much about that as we will need to wait till they get released. But, we did release two other music videos, one was for July Jones and her new song called SOLO and the second one was for a band called Stitch and their song Champagne. I can say these two are my favorite videos at the moment.
London Prestige: What are the concepts of these music videos? What direction did you give the artists?
James Gallant: If you compare the two music videos mentioned before you will notice that they are very different.
SOLO, for example, was shot in a plain white studio, where the only person in front of the camera was the artist herself who was using the paint and choreography to tell the story. The concept behind the dancing and splashing the paint was to show a change, a decision the artist made which was to do her own thing and choose her own way. That is perfectly shown with a twist at the end where the artist changes her outfit from a painting overall to a suit which then represents a new character, stronger person who goes her own way.
Champagne, on the other hand, was shot in an apartment and it was all about a house party. In this video, besides the three band members, we also had a big group of people so that we created a real party atmosphere. The concept of this video was to show all the crazy and “wrong” things people do when they get drunk and then regret them the next day. That is expressed pretty straightforward through very “drunken” looking effects and scenes in the video.
London Prestige: What was the atmosphere on set like? What was it like working with the artist?
James Gallant: Generally, I would say I always strive to have a positive atmosphere on the set because it will affect the whole shooting process. I like the shooting days to go smooth and for everyone involved with the project to have fun from start to finish as that will help to make the final video even better.
But when it comes to working with artists, the experience always really depends on their personal flow and the concept we are working with.
For example on the SOLO music video shoot where we only worked with an artist, we needed a very detailed plan and the whole shoot needed to be “mapped out” to the second. Since we combined paint and choreography that also meant we had quite a lot of scenes where we only had a chance for one take and that puts a lot of pressure on the artist as well. But since we had a lot of rehearsals before the actual shooting day and a very patient artist in front of the camera we managed to get amazing results in the final video.
Champagne music video, on the other hand, was more “relaxed” as the shoot consisted of scenes which we could repeat multiple times in order to get a perfect take. But we had a different kind of pressure which was time as we only had 5 hours to get the shoot done and a lot of scenes to cover. Thanks to the amazing band and cast everything went so smooth that we finished half an hour before expected.
London Prestige: Who did you collaborate with in the making of these videos?
James Gallant: The crew I work with always depends on the size and needs of the production. There are always going to be a hairstylist, makeup artist & stylist on the set who will make sure everyone looks perfect on the camera. Then if the video, for example, involves dancing we will get on board choreographers and dancers to create choreography which will match with the style of the song. I always also work with great camera crew which makes sure to capture all the best angles and creates perfect atmosphere. And when it comes to editing, again depends, I will either work on the edits by myself or I will get another editor to work with me.
London Prestige: What kind of statements do you like to make with your videos?
James Gallant: I think each video is a story for itself which means each video requires its own statement. I would usually aim for a simple but very strong and captivating video concept. A storyline or meaning that will emotionally connect with people and make them watch the video on repeat. I believe that each song and each artist I’m working with has a unique style and personal story and I’m always trying to express that through the video we create.
London Prestige: How much creative control do you have as a director or does it depend on the artist and their vision for the song?
James Gallant: It always comes down to preferences the label or the artist has. Some will come to me with a very detailed idea and will want me to execute what they imagined with my own visual touch. And then others have a very rough concept in their mind but are not completely sure of how to portray that through video and that’s where I will have more saying when it comes to building the actual concept or storyline. Generally, I would say I always adapt to the creative flow everyone has as I believe that will bring the best results and create music videos which will always be very unique.
London Prestige: What other projects have you been involved in?
James Gallant: In the past couple of years, I directed a lot of different music videos, covering different musical genres which is always fun as each song style required quite different visual approach. Some of my other projects include music videos for Dub Pistols and Too Many T’s, Kevin Pearce, Andrea Di Giovanni, etc…
London Prestige: What are you looking forward to this year?
James Gallant: I think this year will be a very fun and busy year as we are planning some very cool and creative music videos so I’m really looking forward to seeing how all the things develop. I’m also looking forward to meeting all new artists and creatives as each person brings something new and different to the project. We will also be shooting some projects abroad and I think this year will bring a lot of good things.
London Prestige: What makes a music video great? What qualities do you strive to achieve?
James Gallant: I think that really depends on a personal taste but from my point of view I would always go for a simple concept or story which is emotionally very strong – simplicity is the key! I also like to create concepts evolving around everyday situations or feelings as viewers can easily relate to that. On top of that, I also like to play around with different filming and editing styles and explore new ways of portraying certain emotions or stories through the lens.
London Prestige: What other hobbies do you have?
James Gallant: Well, I combined my love for music and video making hobby and defined myself as a music video director so I’m kind of covering all my time with that. 🙂
I do like going to live performances, I love long walks where I can recharge my creative batteries and refresh my mind and I also like cooking and eating good food – I spend quite a lot of time in the kitchen so probably I could say cooking is my hobby haha.
London Prestige: What are you thinking about doing next?
James Gallant: Music videos, music videos and more music videos – that’s probably my main plan for the next couple of years, just to expand my horizons, create new stuff and grow as a music video director.
London Prestige: Any advice for aspiring music directors
James Gallant: I would say find your visual style and a way to express your visions and just work on developing that. The more material you make the better you become as I think that each and every project is a whole new experience and you never stop learning.