Directors Corner // Kate Moross
Kate Moross is less video director more auteur - an artist with a strong vision which is applied across the board from the videos that she directs, the shoes she designs and the host of album artworks and magazine covers that she has put together.
But that is not to say that Moross is in any way stereotypically dictatorial in her style, in fact quite the opposite. A quick flick through the credits shows that, like many artistes, Moross is big on collaboration. Case in point comes with the organic and ethereal offering for the video 'Ice and Arrows' by Alpines, which was a collaboration with Hans Lo.
"It's great when you know who you want to work with and they can bring their own ideas," she says. Homemade crystal samples and chemical reactions are put under a video microscope and those organic images are a recurring influence. You see the microscope again in the Simian Mobile Disco song 'Gizzard'. As much as she was influenced by the striking imagery it's also about, as Kate puts it, "using what is around you."
That applies to the physical, the actors, the props, the setting, but also to less tangible things. Moross co-directed a video for 'Life in Film' and used the .gif trend at the time to influence the finished product: "that one was great because they are a band who are having fun and wanted to have with the video. We made it around the time Tumblr was really blowing up."
In terms of rules, or mantras to go by when directing giving other people space is important she says, in order to let those ideas develop. In recent times that element of collaboration has come into its own with her work with Jessie Ware.
She directed Jessie's first video, 'Running', and has gone on to direct every other Jessie Ware video (4 so far), essentially taking on the role of creative director working in tandem with Ware to create an aesthetic that's readily becoming instantly recognisable. Moross has done a host of other visuals for Ware and the album artwork.
"Jessie and I are the perfect team, which is why we have continued to work together. Jessie tells me the foundation of the song, and how she envisioned it, then I add in my perspective. We are constantly discussing the ideas as we are creating the videos, it's a fluid process. We filmed it in the Brunswick House Cafe an old antiques store in Vauxhall which is a cafe by day. From the off Jessie was clear as to the vibe she wanted it to have. It was going to be a video that focused on a powerful performance, but the next video will probably be totally different."
The video for 'Running' is indeed a great introduction to Ware, who has the unenviable task of making it in a time of quite a few strong female vocalists. But a striking visual identity, the kind that comes from having an artist eye on board may just be come handy in helping her to break out.
I'm intrigued as to the kind of rigour that she brings to directing videos. Is she flaky on set or driven?
"You're there from the beginning right until the end. I'm a big believer that if something goes wrong it is up to you fix it," that sounds very much like a get your hands dirty approach.
Not only is she there from beginning to end she is often in two places at once: "I'm usually the Art director or DP on all of my video shoots," being an artist you wouldn't expect anything less.