Interview with Éli Sokhn, Director Behind Rajiv Dhalls’ ‘untitled’ Video

Éli talks inspirations and challenges

Éli Sokhn is the amazingly talented director behind SOUNDS LIKE YOUTH’s short film for their EP, ‘untitled‘. We chatted with him about what went into making the spectacular short that consists of four music videos (if you hadn’t had the chance to check it out, make sure to do so here).

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What was it like working with Rajiv Dhall?

“Other than the fact that he’s one of the realest and most talented dudes out there, Rajiv is an artist who has a sense of direction and vision to his music. So it was creatively rewarding to collaborate and make some magic happen. We both clicked because we both love to do things [that are] unconventional and untraditional and with work like this, trust was a key element, since we’re not just producing one or two videos, but 4 videos for his whole EP and his first appearance since he formed his band.”

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All four videos in the short film take place in different locations, yet all of the concepts tie in with each other. How did you come up with this idea for the short?

“Earlier on in the process, Rajiv and the team came to me with the idea to create a 4-part music video with stories that interconnect. And I was pretty ecstatic because it was pretty challenging logistically and creatively, and of course we took the challenge and we had fun creating! As far as my process goes, I tend to visualize elements and scenes in terms of sound. So naturally I listened to the songs and automatically I started getting visuals and shaped them according to the stories I was trying to create. And as  you’ve seen we’ve gone from a fantasy story about a vampire who saves a woman trapped in a weird-post-world, to a modern day relationship drama, and transitioning into a retro piece about young fresh love and how exciting and fun it is to first fall in love, and we ended it with a high school party theme kind of thing that ties back again to the first vampire story we created. So yes, it was fun mixing a variety of genres that wouldn’t otherwise blend in so cohesively, but because the music video world is a free and open world we get to push our limits and test our creativity all while telling fun and entertaining stories.”

 

What inspired the concepts of the video?

“To be honest with you, the majority of the stories are loosely based on personal experiences that Rajiv has gone through and wrote the songs about. “Pour Me Another Drink” is a great example of that, or simply a made up story such as the vampire one and others that are just inspired by experiences and events I went through personally.”

 

What was the biggest challenge you faced when working on this short film?

“Of course the number one challenge is story. Creating four stories that interconnect was not an easy task! Let me rephrase that actually, creating stories is easy but then reality hits you with a bunch of road blocks and then you have to re-work your stories and shape them in order to fit in with your schedule and budget. 6 scenes become 2, 4 actions become 1, 10 shots become 4 and so on… And yes of course we can dream of anything we want to shoot and that’s usually awesome at the beginning – get me the most bada*s haunted mansion, and the sexiest 50’s vintage diner, and the highest helipad in the city and then… BOOM! Conflict of schedules, too expensive to get, locations unavailable for specific dates, deals fall out, cars break down, props malfunction, etc. But honestly, I have noticed the more limited you are the more resourceful and creative you get to overcome the challenges, and often times that is way more rewarding than having unlimited resources to play with. Creating something out of nothing is always cooler than creating nothing out of something.”