12th July 2013
Colour beat
Title of film: Towa Tei, Radio with Yukihiro Takahashi & Tina Tamashiro
Director: Yusuke Tanaka
Japanese director Yusuke Tanaka's latest music video for DJ Towa Tei encapsulates the vivid world of his graphic imagination. See some of his earlier work in Related Content

You seem to have a strong eye for colour, in particular your use of it to set the mood or tell a story – did you come from a more traditional artistic background or is it a skill you picked up along the way?

My childhood experience of growing up in Colombia had a great influence on my sense of colour. The music video Blow which I created eight years ago was indeed based on my childhood experience there. Also I majored in graphic design at college, where the use of color became an extension of my graphics expression.

There’s a great balance of fun and creepiness in much of your work – puppet doppelgängers, sexy canine dancers, robot/ human relationships – would you say this balance is intrinsic to your creative output or does it come about from each project?

I always come up with at least one strong idea for a music video and, in many cases, I like to choose something strange for a project. However, this strong idea could be about objects, atmosphere or an overall key theme. It varies depending on the project.

Your earlier video for Wordy by Towa Tei is a wonderfully deranged journey through both the colourful and sleazy, ending in an unexpected transformation – could you give us an insight into how you came up with the idea?

The theme for Wordy was dogs and typography. Wordy is actually the name of a dog. The artists of this song BAKU BAKU DOKIN actually requested that they wanted to be a doggy. Then, I expanded the idea from there.

The story of the music video goes like this: A filthy house party takes place in the basement somewhere in Tokyo. If you drink a suspicious pinkish liquid, all the people around you look like dogs. And then, you become a real dog in the end. The idea of colorfulness and crazy theme comes from the lyric and song.

I asked Masuda Sebastian to art direct the doggy costume and the decoration of the room. He was also the art director for Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. This music video was helped very much by his wonderfully crazy expression.

There’s a huge amount of energy in your work, in particular (but not confined to) your music videos. Does this reflect your own nature or do you only apply the fast pace to your work?!

Thinking of myself, I have a quiet personality. However, my work could be a reflection of my deeper nature. That’s why I continue to express myself but, as an answer, it is only in the case of the work.

Do you storyboard all the CGI elements and practical effects and props, reworking everything thoroughly before you start a project?

I draw storyboards in detail as much as possible. It’s not just for me but they’re also an important tool to share my ideas with crew and cast during shooting.