Studio RM, the creative studio specialising in colour grading and post production across film, print, and digital, is partnering with Little Black Book to sponsor The Directors channel. A space for celebrating directors who create aesthetically beautiful and nuanced imagery, the creative potential of technology, and diving into the trends in contemporary culture which these visionary minds so often spark.
In this series, we’ll be highlighting directors who have a distinctive creative voice, and who are championing new and exciting visual styles through fashion, music, and culture. Here, LBB hears from the multi-talented Taz Tron Delix about channelling his early fascination with music videos and community-driven projects into his work, building dream-like worlds for music artists like Stormzy, Joy Crookes, Kojey Radical and Berwyn. The cutting-edge director discusses his use of contradictory colours, his fondness for celluloid film and how, regardless of subject matter, he aims to empower viewers.
Name: Taz Tron Delix
Location: London, England
Repped by: COMPULSORY
LBB> Where did you grow up? Who or what inspired you the most during this time?
Taz> I grew up in a seaside town called Folkestone in the south east of Kent. I guess my biggest inspiration growing up must have been my parents, who are both amazing artists in their own right – our family home has always been full of art, colour and music.
My dad was a musician and sound recordist, so he would be creating music or take me and my brother to film sets. My mum was a fine artist, teacher and muralist who would specialise in community art and, later on, in my early teens, I would assist her with these workshops and community projects. So, you know, it was always there; creativity, play and learning different ways of expressing myself, even if I didn’t really see it like that at the time.
LBB> How did these early influences shape your creative voice?
Taz> These laid a solid foundation, and I developed a fascination and obsession with music, art and film. In the late 90’s, I started to discover Hip-hop and drum’n’bass, then we finally got Sky TV which meant I could binge-watch MTV Base, Kiss and Channel U. I fell deep into some amazingly iconic videos, fascinated by the culture and the different worlds; from the storytelling and language, to the different visual styles and the impact music videos had on fashion and design.
I feel like these influences still run deep within me, etched into my brain and DNA. I strive to create the same spectacle and emotional impact when crafting my work and worlds.
LBB> What is your signature visual style? Which piece of your work illustrates this style the best?
Taz> That’s an interesting question, I have this theory that imperfection is the character that defines us, not perfection. Think about it – if we were all perfect, we would all be created the same. Characteristics don’t come from perfection, they come from imperfections. They carve out and define the shape of us, and I like to lean into these, as they make the work more authentic and real to me.
During my creative process I look for beauty in the rawness, the darkness or the unexpected. Simultaneously, I try to listen to my primal gut instinct and reaction to how something makes me feel. Naturally, this makes my style authentic to myself and I think that comes through in all my work, even if each world’s tonality is different.
This being said, I do love to get dark and moody and poetic with my films. I feel like this side of my style is best reflected in my TVC, ‘A Call to the Lost’, for Brew Dog’s Lost Larger.
LBB> Is there a particular genre, subject matter or style of work you are most drawn to? If so, why?
LBB> How do you use things like colour and grade to accentuate your vision?
Taz> I love colour and it plays an important role in my work. For me, it’s one of the purist representations of emotion and can be the starting point of a whole project. Normally, I have a strong idea of the colour palette, grade and final look I have in mind for a film, working towards it with my team. Colour can define the style and world I’m building, giving me another chance to express myself and craft something unique.
LBB> How important is the role of colour and grade in the overall look and feel of a film?
Taz> Colour grading is a super important part of my work. It’s a finalising and mastering of your final film and image. Once you have made it to that place, it’s a great feeling. After all those long hours of hard work, you’re finally done shooting, you’re done labouring intensively over the edit, and now you get to focus on the finer details of the image as you pull, push and sculpt your final frames on a big beautiful monitor.
LBB> You’ve directed a number of music videos for a number of the UK’s big hitters like Joy Crookes, Stormzy, Novelist and Kojey Radical. How does UK flavour influence your approach to these projects?
LBB> What is your approach to creating a treatment for a spot? Does it differ greatly when working for commercials compared to music videos?
Taz> These days, the line between the two is blurring more and more, but I do find commercial briefs more direct. You have a team of creatives who have been working and developing the idea for a while, so the end vision is often clearer and quicker to develop in the treatment process.
LBB> What’s the craziest problem you’ve come across during a production? How did you solve it?
Taz> My work normally revolves around some sort of spectacle or crazy stunt; people flying through the air, flipping cars with superhero strength. Sometimes we haven’t quite worked out how we are going to achieve it until we start production, but creative problem solving and coming up with solutions is all part of the fun!
For the ‘Audacity’ music video, I wanted Stormzy performing on top of a moving lorry. We didn’t have enough budget to achieve it in the UK, so we flew out to Ukraine and worked with a fantastic team lead by Dasha Deriagina and my EP Kiran Mandla. We strapped Stormzy to the roof, with four wires pinning him to the lorry, along with a low back rest for extra support. It’s kind of funny because Stormzy is super tall, like 2M, and the lorry is about 4M tall, so he really was on top of the world when riding over the Yuzhny bridge in Kiev.