Up and coming Director Matthew Dillon Cohen has collaborated with The Mill’s Colourist Josh Bohoskey on numerous projects, Pusher "Clear" being the most recent, and previously on Gus Dapperton’s "Moodna, Once With Grace" and Leaf Ft. Lil Yachty "Nada".
Cohen notes that prior to finding his grading groove with Bohoskey at The Mill, the colour process could be a challenging one, due to the creative importance of finding the right look and feel for a final grade. After all, a good grade has the ability to change the entire tone of a piece and the creative relationship between Director and Colourist has always been an important one.
At the beginning of their collaboration, the pair focused not just on making the visuals look good, but on transforming the footage into something truly special and memorable. Since then, the two have been able to experiment with colour in a way that cohesively illustrates the uniqueness of each project through film.
Cohen explains, “With “Moodna, Once With Grace” it was all about creating a world of nostalgia. For the “Nada” music video we wanted to capture a mix of beauty and grit that directly represents New York City. Our most recent project, “Clear” we planned to capture the dog days of summer in rural and desolate surroundings. Josh is able to interpret the grade in the direction I wish to translate through film. For me, the trust between director and colorist is essential.”
We caught up with Director Matthew Dillon Cohen to find out more about his directing journey:
Tell me a bit about yourself and how you started directing?
I’m originally from a suburb in New Jersey. My father started a percussion instrument business and he was also a photographer. From a young age I have always been around music and photography. I’ve been taking photos since I was 7 and I started a youtube channel when i was 13 interviewing upcoming musicians. While having a youtube channel I was able to learn the workings of production and how to connect with artists.
How have you come across the artists you have directed music videos for?
Majority of my friends are musicians. All musicians want a quality music video—oftentimes it’s as simple as a friend introducing me to one of their friends. I love music so if there is a record that I really connect with I will make a strong effort to create a visual for it. Our latest project, “Clear,” came about after I kept calling Mothica (the artist) and convinced her that the song needed a visual. Other times it’s the artist who comes up with the idea for their video and pushes me to make it work. It always varies; I shot NoMBe’s “Miss Mirage” on my birthday at 2AM in a subway station when he convinced me that it needed to be the music video for his song. It's important to me not to spend time stressing about the budget for a video, and to instead challenge myself to make something special with the resources that I have available.
What’s been your best experience shooting these videos?
Filmmaking is the perfect opportunity for me to explore subjects that I have a general curiosity in or a fascination with. Just a couple of weeks ago I brought a small crew to Philadelphia for a weekend to shoot a documentary on hardcore death-match wrestling. This was a project where we were able to tell the story of one of the most professional and passionate types of performers and contrast their story with the truly brutal conditions they put themselves under for their fans. Being able to travel and uncover stories like this are fascinating and the reason why I'm so excited about creating film.
How do you feel music videos are evolving within a world saturated with technology and the rise of visual effects?
Music videos are no longer just a tool to market a record or a musician, they have become an opportunity for the audience to connect with the artist. With so much incredible technology accessible to almost everyone, people are able to create better videos than ever. I believe a quality video can make the listening experience better and in the ocean of media that exists today it is crucial to make a lasting impression on the audience. I have seen many videos benefit from visual effects because of there were no set rules during creating the music video which makes them the perfect medium to experiment with visual effects. I use visual effects in almost all of my work and majority of the time people don't actually notice it. I like the idea of doing very minimal VFX to create something unexpected that enhances the scale of the story.
How does living in New York affect your creative style?
Living in New York City is not easy. Between the weather, lack of space and cost of living it's far from perfect. I've learned to love and embrace the difficult nature of producing content here and I respect it. The diversity in the city and living so close to different walks of life directly influences my life and the work that I make in a special way. I am proud to be a filmmaker working here.
If you could collaborate with any artists who would it be and why?
Watch some of Director Matthew Dillon Cohen's videos below and stay up to date on future projects on here and his website. You can also follow his Instagram and all social @Itsbongaboy