Debuted here, in Wesley Joseph’s self-directed new video for his track Monsoon, an angel and devil have a gunpoint stand-off, a couple romantically slowdance through a cabin window beneath a red cloth, and two cowboy kids feel the groove. “The video is the most minimalist I’ve directed but also the most poignant, with each scene existing as a visual metaphor and the focus throughout being on feeling and expression,” says the Birmingham-born songwriter of the visuals. “I thought of scenes that could work as huge prints before they were moving frames, each one has a picturesque feel to it for that reason.”
This cinematic and holistic ethos underpins Joseph’s craft, writing songs guided by visuals, moods and storylines. “I make music that inspires film, and other times I think of scenes that need sounds. It’s a constant feedback loop of both.” His 2021 debut record, ULTRAMARINE, set the tone, blending rapid-fire flows with smooth, falsetto melodies. See the self-directed video for Thrilla for a fine example of Joseph’s visual storytelling, composing a series of vignettes that tell his story, beginning with a young version of himself in angel wings.
With a new eight-track collection titled GLOW coming next February and a support slot on Loyle Carner’s 2023 UK tour, MONSOON introduces us to a new chapter for Joseph – one that promises to deliver on multiple levels.
On the concept behind the song…
“For the Monsoon video, I knew that the focus should be on the feeling of the song. I wanted to create direct and impactful imagery that leaned into the abstract whilst holding real emotional weight metaphorically at the same time. Iconography and photography were a huge part of the process for me. I thought of scenes that could work as huge prints before they were moving frames, each one has a picturesque feel to it for that reason. And it felt important to create them in a way that was directly connected to the song but still equally powerful without context.”
On the influences behind the video…
“For the Devil and Angel scene I used a clean backdrop that allows their anatomy, mannerisms and expressions to be the focus – it also feels unidentifiable enough to work as a canvas.
With the dancers, I wanted to create an almost childlike and intimate sense of joy whilst also allowing for unison between them. The forest scene is a metaphor for the sweat and nostalgia of summer. I wanted the light to feel like a mosquito trap in Jamaica, and next to a vivid sunset there’s no better landscape for that feeling.
We then had the cowboy kids in bushes at night, as I felt that sometimes in our world we can all feel like scared children armed for the night. Creating the jungle feel in the shot only further emphasised that sentiment. And the moonlit wooden house was to resemble love – chilled outside and warm inside.”
On how his process differs between songwriting and filmmaking…
“It constantly changes. Sometimes I make music that inspires film, and other times I think of scenes that need sounds. It’s a constant feedback loop of both, and doing one of them always inspires the other.”
Follow Wesley Joseph on Instagram.
Photography by Lewis Vorn