After relocating to the Boston area from Germany five years ago, Jonas Em has quickly assimilated himself in our city’s music scene. As director, cinematographer, and editor of Emvision Productions, he’s spent the past two years crafting music videos from everyone a mix of locals and national acts, including many we feature regularly here at Vanyaland, like Petty Morals (“Just A Game”), the Rare Occasions (“Dysphoric”), and Trophy Lungs (“Dad’s Away On Business”).
At the start of the New Year, Em spliced together about 20 videos from the past year into a minute-long 2014 Music Video Reel, and like his full-length music videos that we have premiered, we’re giving it the same treatment. Em prides himself on working with “local artists in all genres,” and looks forward to building his video catalogue in the year ahead.
“I started working on a feature film as a director of photography this year, but still want to focus on music videos,” he tells Vanyaland. “I love meeting and getting to know new people and artists.”
Read our quick Q&A with Em below, and watch his just-completed video reel after the exchange. Pour yourself a shot every time you recognize someone.
Michael Marotta: How many videos are shown in the reel?
Jonas Em: I narrowed it down to a little over 20 music videos in total. I shot a few more, but those were the most fun and unique ones.
Which of those was the most fun?
Thats too much of a tough question. Thus far I have been really lucky with all the artists I got to work with. I love diving into different cultures and broadening my horizon. Hip-hop, metal, punk, rock, pop, whatever it is they all offer new experiences, which make every shoot unique. As a director I also like to have a close working relationship with everyone I work with. That way I can translate their character and style best onto video. But it also adds to a comfortable environment on set and during post production.
How do you determine which artists to work with?
The genre doesn’t matter to me. I just have to feel it. Camera movement, and editing are like painting a picture to me, where I have to get into the flow of the music to make all components snap together on screen.
Which video from the reel was the most difficult, for whatever reason?
That would probably be Death Rattle, “Sociopath”. Two hours into the nine-hour shoot, the owner of the warehouse we were in needed us to be out as soon as possible. I only had finished a few takes of the drums at that point. So we shot the rest of the video within no more than 90 additional minutes. With that amount of time pressure every take had to be right, which made it quite challenging. But I worked with those guys before and they knew exactly what to do to make every shot work.
With that in mind, which video was the most rewarding, as a director?
I really enjoy the love and support bands receive from their videos. But the most intense moments are, when I stand in the crowed at a public screening of one of my videos before the bands set. The Petty Morals did that recently with their video for “Just a Game”. Seeing and hearing the crowd reactions around me, while the video is shown on a big screen is just an incredible feeling.