This article is not mine. The original is published in french here http://neoboto.com/interview-quand-mikael-colombu-faconne-the-weeknd/ and was made by Sipowitz.
This page is only a translation in english….
What it will be revealed to you below is the story of a perfect alchemy between a musician and one who had the chance to make his first vision. The Weeknd and Mikael Colombu with their innovative contributions breathtaking in their respective fields have offered a nugget of picture and sound for « The Knowing. » You have been touched by the aesthetic power concentrated in just 8 minutes. You’re still having questions about the meaning and symbolism of the thickness of the Work. Nothing more normal, Mikael told NeoBoto why, and sheds light on his approach. You’re not ready.
Your reports are very similar to the animation, how is therefore a shoot with you, and more specifically this one?
For this type of realisation a shooting is relatively simple in the sense where it consists only in shots which I prefer to realize outdoor with a day light. I rarely have more than one assistant and if possible I work alone. A nearness upstream with the artist is the most important, just to get acquainted with the subject, to exchange and learn to know him. It is very cool generally. I ask the artist not to be surrounded too much if possible. We drink some rosé, we say bullshit and meanwhile I shot everything.
How do you create a universe as this one?
I listen to a lot of things and on certain pieces I block totaly. My spirit raves, it builds the images. It became an emotional reaction. Then images appear to me very often as a kind of puzzle at stage zero. I have to put everything together and complete. It’s like if everything already existed there, scattered in my head, like a stuff already written.
The Weeknd is a singer who maintains a kind of mystery around his image, we rarely see him appearing on the medias, can you speak to us about him and about his artistic personality?
Not obvious. He is a rather surprising guy, and really a mystery (it is not just an image). One thing is sure, he is artistically fabulous and very honorable; beyond all that I could imagine about an artist’s of more coming from « r’n’b »…He is only 21 years old, he is rare, very beautiful from the inside and is everything, except what everybody can imagine about himself.
I will not reveale more about Abel Tesfaye. By respect for him. But I can say that I like him verry much,so artistically as on the personal plan. He is for me like a kind of « artistic Messiah ».
How take place your collaborations? Is it the artists who request you or the opposite?
It is a little both. I ofthen find a subtle means to suggest a collaboration. For The Weeknd that was made through a guy who knows everybody in the industry and especially a close relation of one of the producers of The Weeknd. He dropped an e-mail and in the minute I was on the phone with Abel.
I was happy because he is very requested and answers nobody, even if your name is Puff Daddy (I can certify this).
Do you collaborate only with artists whom you like? Cee-Lo Green, Bilal, Janelle Monae, The Weeknd .We can feel a qualitative selection …
I can only realize things for artists who inspire me and it is especially true for pieces which I like particularly.
« The Knowing » is a song which put me tears in the eyes every time I listened to it . With this song, the idea came to me immediately.
After the clip of Cee Lo we made me beautiful proposals which I refused because I found the music to shit or because the artist was « too much produced ». It wasn’t a question of principles, I even didn’t found the slightest valid inspiration.
« The Knowing » is the first clip of The Weeknd, how do you feel the fact of being the first one to put images on his artistic initiative?
« Blessed » as they say. A unique opportunity.
Can you tell us about the meaning of this clip? What did you want to tell?
It is the story of a woman, a supreme being, who created her own world. It only lacks a thing that she does’nt dare to create from zero : a man. She decides to go to draw from an existing shap. But not to fall in love with an ideal, what would correspond to fall in love with her. She returns to the past in search of a male individual having a soul and a heart with power similar to her and started with her inspiration (Haile Selassie I). But she reincarnates him so that she can still make its own creation with some alterations. At least partially.
I don’t think it can work with a dreamed being. Thus rather she quickly becomes aware that she is not in love with him and deceives him with a god on whom she has no influence. Informed about this treason, the reincarnated emperor decides to take revenge and made rape and kill her three sisters. Bodies are delivered to him dismantled in a big jar and loving anger she splits her (their) world into two. but it is not enough for her. She wants to annihilate his heart, which is the most powerfully But in every attempt the heart becomes more and more stronger and bigger than before and she gets lost.
Can you tell us about some symbols or do reference which you inserted into this very complexe and rich clip? What is their importance for you?
It is just a vast metaphor of the quest for the love and of what returns very often the impossible love because the appearance or the prospect throws away(spoils) everything (for example).
Haile Selassie is because Abel is of Ethiopian origin. But also because all those years of famines which followed in the 80s deeply marked me when I was small and everything began following the reversal. Haile was a great man with a big heart worried about the good to be with his people even if the end of its reign is open to criticism.
But the most important for me (where from the interest is to say a minimum about it and to leave whites) is to provoke the interrogation, to stimulate the spirits. I like when people construe things in their way. I find that healthy to oblige them to ask questions. When we broadcast completely stupid and all already baked stuffs that a sbarrow could easely understand, on TV, for example, spirits are on standby. This is what makes the powerful of this world they make us upside down without any effort and that stays there like fools to let them make what they want, sitting like fools and letting them do all they want.
What were your sources of inspiration?
The music is my most beautiful source of inspiration because it provokes big emotional discharges.
Then I am fascinated by the cinema, more particularly by science fiction and the art to transcent the emotion by the image and the sound.