Making Music with Nelson Navarro and experimental video production

If you’ve been following me on my creative journey, you might know I have done quite a bit of creative trade work with local musician, DJ, producer and radio presenter Nelson Navarro. Our first collaboration was when Nelson modelled for one of Black Brighton shoots. From that point he became my DJ teacher (always wanting to learn a new trade) and I did his album artwork. We traded hours, and Nelson had built up a few for me to use, I had the basics of DJ-ing down and wanted to test my skills at music production. Going to Nelson’s studio sometime last year, we had a play around to help get me comfortable and confident in music making. I played him some songs I felt was the type of tunes I’d like to make. After setting up the mic we started putting some beats together, a couple of bars in we’d made enough to loop. We then played around and he showed me the different ways you can manipulate vocals. We’d recorded a nice little bit of me talking that, when laid over the loop, almost resonated with Solange knowles ‘skit-type’ tracks that make up most of her album When I Get Home. It felt like we’d only just begun, but it was time for me to leave, so I took the minute moment we made and I begun to mull over what I could do with it to turn it into a visual.

I had recently gone through all my video footage for another project, but the visuals and audio didn’t quite work, so I decided, since I wanted a fresh slate with a new website and not to use any old work, I was going to use all this great footage I’d collected, chop it up, and stick it in a video for the track I’d made with Nelson. I had so much footage though, I didn’t think it would be that pleasing to watch if I chopped it up so much it could all fit into a minute. So I decided to cut the track up and loop the parts that didn’t have any of me talking on it, and somehow get other audio/singing to put on top of the rest of it. I didn’t yet feel confident in singing, and with lockdown, I didn’t have the opportunity to go to a studio or Nelsons. So I had to get really creative.
A friend of mine and I discussed in the past how some voice notes we sent each other would sound really good with some sort of music or beat behind it. That was it! I was going to lift voice notes friends had sent me over the last year – almost in commiseration to the year and in recognition to being able to stay connected to friends online – from WhatsApp and make a music video using the currently limited but learning skills I have of video/music making.

This video is a combination of old ideas that had loose ends or didn’t quite get to a point where I could use them. The music was unfinished so I finished it, not by writing a song or covering a song. The videos didn’t necessarily have a purpose before but now making a music video gave them one. And lastly, the creative way in which I created the video; using not only video footage, but photography as well. It was an idea that came to me maybe a year ago, to make an almost chill hop type video where part of the visual is still and part moves. I don’t yet have the skills to create animated illustrations, so I used videos and photographs, layering an image one top of my videos that has a window cut out to see the video.

After making this, and being excited about the new way in which I’ve made a ‘song’. I really want to practice more on music video making in this way, using the same backing track and different voice notes friends send me. It kind of reminds me of when rap artists in the late 80s and early 90s would have like phone messages before a track, Biggie did it in his song One More Chance and A Tribe Called Quest had the voice of the answer machine woman throughout the album Midnight Marauders. I’ve just made a whole song from it!

To view full video

Published by Jade Hylton

"Doing It All, All Of The Time"

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