Jocie Cox is part of a small but growing breed of independent filmmakers who’ve chosen the world of underground dance music as their preferred subject of choice. Just in time to exclusively premier her new short film spotlighting 24 hours in Ibiza with the men of Apollonia, Dan Ghenacia, Shonky and Dyed Soundorom we caught up with this talented young woman to learn a little more about how she got her start and what it’s like to be a freelance artist.
You began work as an intern at MTV and grew your own career through a combination of creativity, hard work and what seems to be a winning disposition. But what would you consider the first piece of work that started to really help make a name for yourself and open the doors to some new opportunities? When I first went freelance and decided to work out in Ibiza, I had to do one or two gigs for next to nothing – one of those jobs was for a big London NYE party that Damian Lazarus was headlining. I would say that this piece of work opened a big door for me as it enabled me to make contact with Damian and fellow Director, David Terranova – which in turn led to me being involved in some of the RebelRave episodes.
There is a handful of videographers who’re helping tell the underground’s stories in a professional way that elevates awareness of the artists/labels/brands involved while also portraying the scene in a way that gets people excited. What have been some of the lessons you’ve learned throughout your career thus far? I’m a firm believer in creating interesting, creative and non-formulaic content – no matter what field you work in. Even if you are just trying to shoot a video that makes a party look mind-blowing – it is still worth doing it in an interesting way. I get frustrated with lazy editing and cheesy footage, so I suppose one of the lessons I have learnt is to always try and go that bit further to make something look good! (Also, keep your work head and your party head in two different places. I learnt that the hard way!)
Spending 24 hours in Ibiza with Shonky, Dan Ghenacia and Dyed Soundorom seems like a pretty nice assignment. Can you tell us a little bit about what it was like to follow the guys around for all the madness that’s entailed in stopping by radio stations, playing at DC10 and then continuing to an afterparty at Dan’s villa? Dan, Dyed and Shonky are super nice guys - aside from being very talented - they have a French swagger that is very likeable and it was a pleasure to follow them around with a camera. It was a bit of a last minute shoot in the end, only organized the day before or something – we just thought it could be a fun idea and quite simple. Documentary is more my background so I jumped at the idea of making a little ‘diary-style’ promo piece.
Filming in DC10 always throws up a slight struggle between work and play – there are just so many familiar faces from the Island – plus the lighting and the consistently packed dancefloor, (this night being no exception), make it quite a challenge. But working or not, I always have a great time there – and Apollonia didn’t disappoint! The idea to continue the video at the afterparty was theirs actually. They just really wanted to show the viewer a glimpse into the hedonistic world of Ibiza summers - and the laid back nature of inviting friends round to your house for an ‘afterhours’. They were all walking on air after the show so it made for good vibes!
This project seems to go hand in hand with what appears to be a bit of French Connection you have with Lola Ed and Apollonia having worked on some other projects for them in the past. What do you think has made this such a particularly fruitful relationship? Dan has been a resident at DC10 for many years, and he and Dyed have been based in Ibiza over the summer ever since I have been coming here. The girls over at Lola Ed are here a lot also, and we all just became friends over time. I am a big fan of the agency music-wise, and it’s always nicer to work with artists and labels that you respect.
You shoot and cut all of your videos, which do you think was the harder discipline to master? Although editing is more time consuming and technical, I actually prefer it to shooting. Up until now I have been working completely by myself, so it can get quite difficult to manage all the kit and the sound that I have got together over the years! There are basic rules to shooting, and I think you need a good eye. Editing skills take time to master and I am still learning every day.
Since so many aspects of any art form involve a hefty amount of mistake making, how many happy accidents have you encountered where it ultimately turned into a new technique you employ with current projects? This sort of thing mainly happens in the edit suite when working with crappy footage – sometimes you just cant get the shots you want, because of lighting, crowds etc. But occasionally if you add an effect or filter or use the footage in a different way – you get an altogether different look and make it useable again.
I’ve been hearing more and more about After Effects lately, is this a program you’re a fan of? Yes after effects is great, although I have to say I’m particularly rusty so will be spending this winter brushing up on some technical skills!
Have there been any new pieces of gear you’ve added to your arsenal of late that have changed the game for you? If you could get any new equipment at this point in your career what would you add? I am using a new Canon professional prime lens which is just beautiful and makes ordinary life look exceptionally cinematic. My new Gopro Hero camera is great too. With these DSLR cameras you really need extra kit to get steady shots, so the next bit of gear I’m hoping to buy is a Cinevate slider. Also on the wishlist is sound equipment, another Canon Zoom lens, a C300 camera.. I could go on..
What was it like to work with Onebeat.tv on the Freaky Tikki film? Do you have any other future plans to shoot or cut anything for them down the line? The OneBeat production was great fun – that party is one of my favourites at Miami Music Week and the vibes on the boat are unreal. Plus Danny Howells and Cassy are such good friends that we didn’t even need to try to get great footage. Nothing more in the pipeline, but I have a few ideas up my sleeve..
Your video for Seuil - Don't Trust feat. dOP is a great piece of work that manages to tell a story that’s more complex than one might think the children stars of the video were capable of pulling off. What do you think was the secret to its success, and since the video follows more of a narrative than your documentary work, did you find it easier or more challenging to put together? On this video I worked with the fabulous Crystalmafia girls, an art collective based in Berlin. They have so many great ideas and a bottomless supply of props and set design pieces, so it was really fun to work on. We got so lucky with the kids – the little girl especially. It took a while for her to relax but once she had a bit of confidence she just gazed into the camera with such a faraway look – you would think she’d been doing it all her life! In actual fact she was just the daughter of an artist friend also based in Berlin. It’s really important for me to vary the work I do so it was a fantastic opportunity and I think there will be more collaborations to come in the near future.
Are you currently at work on anything we’ll be seeing in the next couple months? At the moment I am hibernating in the glorious sanctuary that is Ibiza in the winter. I am working on a lot of ideas that should come to fruition early next year, mainly concentrating less on dance music and more on the characters I have encountered in my time living here. There may be some fashion collaborations coming also, plus any day now, a piece will be released from a big London festival that took place over the summer.
I think one of the characteristics of a good video about nightlife and the underground scene is the playful, creative of the true party people who frequent some of these amazing events. Since it can sometimes be difficult to get people to relax and get beyond the “smile for the camera” type behavior what do you think are the secrets to capturing these moments of sexy magic? I very much agree with this and I think the key to capturing and portraying the magic is mainly unlocked in the editing. I don’t tend to stick my camera in people’s faces – in fact I can’t stand that! In my opinion you will always get a better and more natural shot if you observe from afar like a spy. Sometimes you get lucky and sometimes you have to work harder. It’s always good to make things look sexy, but searching out gorgeous girls and watching them dance is perhaps less intimidating as a girl myself! There are obviously more clever ways to make something look hot than just focusing on boobs and bums. If you blend in, (well, as much as you can with a big camera), and smile a lot then your vibes will hopefully rub off on other people. I think that is probably a general rule across the board for filming of any kind.
What’s been the most challenging aspect of your career as a freelance artist and beyond choosing when and where you work, what’s been a less obvious perk that’s come along with charting your own course? I read a saying that stated, ‘The best thing about being a freelancer: working alone at home, in your pyjamas, on your own schedule. The worst thing about being a freelancer: working alone at home, in your pyjamas, on your own schedule' You need motivation that’s for sure, and I miss the camaraderie of working with a big team. However, working alone and basically choosing my own path has meant I have total control over the projects I take on. Although I love working within dance music, I feel privileged that I am able to branch out and make films about other things that interest me. Of course, you always have to consider how you are going to eat, but creativity thrives most when you open your mind to all possibilities. I’m looking forward to 2013!
What project would you embark on if you were giving a million dollars? I would love to make a feature about the White Isle – nothing really good has been made about Ibiza for a long time. There is the wonderful cult Channel 4 doc, ‘A short film about Chilling’, but that was over a decade ago. I am already working on a series of short films here, but if money were no object, then an in depth, feature-length documentary about the history of the Island, the people and how popular culture has changed here would be my dream directing job.
Since you’re constantly interacting with new artists and people on the bleeding edge of the underground scene and culture, who are some artists you think we’re going to be hearing a lot more from in the future?" Well, obviously the Apollonia guys are already established individually but their new b2b2b DJ performance is something you will be hearing a lot more about in 2013 all over the world. Also Djebali, Seuil and Anthony Collins are all doing a lot on their respective labels. Seuil's label Hold Youth that he runs with Le Loup is really forward-thinking, they take influences from a lot of different styles and blend them together. On the female front, Sonja Moonear is definitely one of the strongest underground dj’s around at the moment, it seems people are really taking note of her now.
To check out more of Jocie's fantastic work, check out her Vimeo page here.