Music is invariably about what you hear not what you see, right? Yes. But the visuals deserve our attention too.

There are many songs which people have been utterly dismissive off at first, perhaps they were too loud or too quiet to grab our attention - but when a video is added, and it’s good enough to grab your attention again and again, the song and the band all of a sudden become noteworthy (I for one became a fan of Health and the xx through their videos).

Every few weeks I’ll be interviewing music directors, taking a closer look at their work and seeing where they get the inspiration from when it comes to putting together visual representations of our favourite songs.

Christopher J Ewing

Christopher J Ewing, is a US-based director and short filmmaker who has directed videos for bands such as Seasons, Family of the Year and Letting Up Despite Great Faults.

He belongs to the generation of filmmakers who have the likes of Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry to thank - as or he puts it, "[they] sort of exploded my world at a young age and dragged me by the eyeballs into music and film in a huge way."

Well now his eyeballs are behind the camera and making some terrific contributions. The video for 'Stupidland' (one of his earlier efforts) is a brightly coloured stop motion affair to go along with the cheerful melody. Whilst I haven’t spoken to enough directors to be able to say this conclusively, it’s safe to assume that directors of music videos are left with two rather obvious choices: they can either compliment the meaning of the song with a story that matches the lyrical intent, and editing that matches the underlying beat, or they can go off on a wild tangent and put their own spin on things.

Which one, then, does Ewing go for?

"Hopefully I always complement the song. I avoid literal interpretations of the lyrics in favour of creating characters or scenarios that are more inspired by the music. In the video for 'Trees' (by Thrushes) I discussed what the lyrics meant personally for the band and used that conversation as a jumping off point for two childhood friends dealing with an imminent separation. While the inspiration for that song isn’t outwardly tied to the lyrical content, I hope that the video builds upon those emotions just under the surface."

Every director has a style and certain themes which creep into their work. For Ewing, I notice, there are a lot of people, specifically women, running away. It’s something you see in the video 'Trees' and others.

"These characters only get to be alive for the duration of a 4-minute song, so they can’t waste time walking leisurely. It’s also nice to demonstrate someone’s personality by demonstrating when they run from conflict and when they choose to stop running and face their issues head on."

There are many things to admire about Ewing’s videos. His videos feature some great locations, are brimming with ideas and a fully thought out narrative, and he eschews short vignettes in favour of good old fashioned storytelling.

One of my favourites is one of his latest efforts, the video for 'Light, Lost' by Seasons, which features mildly frightening men made of flannel, and that funny packaging you get when you buy a new computer. I asked him to explain it in a bit more detail, the ideas, the challenges etc. Here’s what he had to say:

"Developing the idea was pretty breezy, Seasons were totally gung-ho and even pushed me to go weirder. It was fabulous to have collaborators that were so open to pushing an idea as far as possible.

"Production was challenging because we had this amazing opportunity to shoot on an artist commune just outside of Los Angeles where these strange, surreal art-structures loomed in every direction but we had a very contained amount of time. We had to scrap a few scenes and actually wound up shooting in my old apartment to cut down on travel time. We were constantly fighting the elements and chasing the light. It was roughly a bazillion degrees with no shade in sight and I had the band and our actors in head-to-toe felt and flannel costumes that basically made it impossible to see, breath or sweat.

"We had rambunctious bees everywhere and a roaming llama that kept leading this pack of goats through the backgrounds of our shots. It was one of the most unique shooting experiences of my life, but everyone worked through the challenges and it turned out great."