‹ Referred by Stephanie Downey


Referred Jonathan Wallace ›

Chris Hill

Chris Hill is one half of directing duo, Krozm. Together with Lachlan Dickie, they have created music videos for some of Australia's biggest export bands, including Cut Copy, Jet, Midnight Juggernauts and Miami Horror. With a video arts background and focus modern artefact, their work is distinctively dedicated to twisted narratives and exploratory realisation.

You started Krozm in 2005, straight out of uni?

We were actually still in university. We studied media art, fine arts, but we got to use cameras and sound equipment. We started working together and did our first couple of music videos in the summer of 2005.

Did that include Damn Arms?

Yeah, it was fun to make, I guess we didn't really know what we were doing technically but we had an idea of what we wanted to achieve.

That one in particular feels like video art

Technically we did study video art, and when I was a teenager I wanted to be an artist, I didn't want to be a film director, but that just changed when I was at university. I like storytelling and all the elements that go into producing a film, so there is still that influence.

I viewed your archive of music videos starting with the most recent, and noticed many of the motifs and use of totems and vessels were pretty consistent throughout, right back to the beginning.

I think they were a little bit more haphazard back then, I guess our ideas have become more formed with a clarity of what we want to say with each production. At the start we were trying to squash in 10 different ideas or work out a way that those 10 ideas could link together, whereas now I think we're better at carving it down to one idea and focusing on that.

Was that need to try and fit 10 ideas into one video a concern that it might be your last job?

I think it's just over-excitement. When you start, all of these ideas are popping out of your brain and you just want to explore them all. I think our tastes and interests are now more precise and that's our creative ideal - getting across your idea in the most basic way possible so everyone can understand it.

That's quite apparent in Architecture In Helsinki's 'Contact High' - you open with an idea and stay with it, as opposed to a building narrative.

Yeah, Architecture in Helsinki are great to work with, they're very artistically critical themselves and a really good sounding board for ideas and treatments. A lot of our favourite work is with them.

That leads me to a question I wanted to ask about control - do you ever relinquish it to the artists?

I like making people do things that they feel uncomfortable with! And we're friends with those guys so from the first video we knew they'd be up for doing weird stuff which was a bonus. In Contact High, we didn't really want them to feature but they wanted some presence, so we have them in the picture frames. Then in W.O.W. we were going to hire an actor but Cameron said he had always wanted to act and really went for it - I was really pleased with his performance of being depressed!

I had a feeling that the dolphin wasn't really suppose to be a dolphin?

Haha, yeah the idea was always meant to be a joke, on various levels, that didn't really become apparent until the end. I'm happy you thought that.

And what about the recurring arrangement of glasses and vessels?

Hmmm` maybe subconsciously, as you look back at projects you find recurring things you weren't aware of at the time. You start wondering why they popped up again, but the fun is making something from your sub-conscious, and the process of working out what you are trying to express. I guess that's what becomes harder as you progress and become more succinct in expressing yourself - the need to inject that randomness back in by testing and trying out new things.

Where do these props come from? Do you have a collection somewhere?

We do, but it keeps getting bigger so we have to throw stuff out! It's partly a cost thing, in some strange way props and costumes are quite cheap to buy or construct. But a lot of our ideas aren't based on reality so they have to be made. We do like using objects in ways they're not made for, taking something quite insignificant and adding importance` maybe that's related to what you noticed with glasses and vessels.

Do you spend quite a bit of time going through the song?

I like to think that all the ideas are from the song, but it's hard to get into the musician's head. It comes down to your own interpretation which can be completely different to theirs. But I like this contrast and think sometimes it fits the song better.

And the artists are happy with that?

Everyone's different, but mostly they are surrendering creative licence to you. They then get excited when they see an approach using other people's influences and interpretations.

So what was it like working for Cadbury in comparison?

It was interesting. They have a fascination for purple, obviously. About 95% of work with commercial clients is already scripted, so it's a wrestling match to inject your ideas and get something you're both happy with.


Photography and stills property of Krozm and Double Days.