“Everyone’s multitasking, and I’m no exception”: DIY talent Aerosol Jezus spent two years making a music video

The musician/producer/filmmaker talks about creating his intergalactic music video for ‘Cozey’, his favourite music videos and more

Aerosol Jezus filming the music video for his track ‘Cozey’

Aerosol Jezus filming the music video for his track ‘Cozey’

They say that to make it as an artist in music today, you have to be the full package – the producer, the player, the singer, the videographer, the mastering engineer… don’t get us started on marketing and social media. Upcoming producer, musician and filmmaker Aerosol Jezus adopted this all-rounder role with ease when it came to the release of his self-released track Cozey in June.

No record label backing for an awesome music video? No problem. Aerosol Jezus, real name Mitchell Abraham, as a videographer alongside a singer/producer, set out creating a mesmerising music video capturing an astronaut collecting crystals on different planets. It took two years to complete the video, seeing him and his tight-knit film crew film in a desert and a forest. We speak to Abraham about what work went into creating this “cinematic masterpiece”, as one YouTube commenter calls it, and his love for music videos.

Hey, Mitchell. What do you do as a producer and filmmaker and how do the two roles converge?

The Aerosol Jezus project is all self-driven – I write and record everything solo. Film inherently requires collaboration during production, though I was able to handle almost all post-production myself. Technology continues to blur the lines between who does what these days. Everyone’s multitasking, and I’m no exception. I view myself as a storyteller regardless of the medium.

Why did you decide to accompany Cozey with such an impressive music video?

Early on, I decided this would be the flagship for the entire album. I’m laser-focused on making feature films; this was an excellent opportunity to demonstrate what I could do with a bare-bones crew and limited resources. Directing ultimately amounts to delegating, which you can only do effectively if you have a deep understanding of each role. Going into it, I knew a fair bit, but the massive undertaking that this was taught me even more. That knowledge alone made all the hard work worthwhile.

Aerosol Jezus filming the music video for his track ‘Cozey’
Aerosol Jezus filming the music video for his track ‘Cozey’

Do you often think of what the music video might look like as you produce music?

Music allows you to dream while you’re awake. It’s tough for me with my songs because I tend to remain highly critical of them, but music’s always been a visual catalyst for me in one way or another. It quiets the noise in my head and allows me to get lost in some foreign place where I can’t help but begin to fill in the visual gap.

You say you were on set for a long time. How long and where did you go?

Principal photography took four to five months with just Zach Ostapchenko and myself out there. Finding locations that felt deserted enough to represent different planets was challenging, especially considering it was just the two of us in my car. It’s why many filmmakers opt for green screens – it simplifies things. I think the video is unique because we were out there doing it for real. We were on an adventure, and it showed.

A still from the music video for Aerosol Jezus’ ‘Cozey’
A still from the music video for Aerosol Jezus’ ‘Cozey’

What were the challenges of creating this video?

You occupy every role on set with just two people, from directing to craft services. Every setup was complex. We were hiking dollies and jibs up mountains and through the jungle sometimes to get just one or two shots.

Production beats you down physically, but the mental battle of post-production was somehow worse. I was simultaneously editing, colouring, and doing VFX work throughout. I enjoy VFX, but colour is a different beast entirely. Even with a calibrated monitor, you can drive yourself insane in no time.

A still from the music video for Aerosol Jezus’ ‘Cozey’
A still from the music video for Aerosol Jezus’ ‘Cozey’

How did you film scenes and what camera did you use?

We shot on a Blackmagic Pocket 4K with Rokinon Cine Lenses. I also have an old Dana-dolly and a pocket jib that we brought into play extensively. By not splurging on high-cost gear rentals, we could allocate more time for planning, location scouting, and, most importantly, shooting.

You say you edited the video in Resolve, Fusion, and Maya. How?

It’s a testament to the great work Blackmagic is doing that this was the first project I’d used Resolve/Fusion (visual effects, 3D, VR and motion graphics software) on, and this was the result. It’s incredibly intuitive, all under one roof, and doesn’t crash constantly, which is icing on the cake. I learned Maya/Blender in college, but I did 97 per cent of the VFX work in Fusion. I’m just as comfortable with them now as I am in Ableton Live.

Aerosol Jezus filming the music video for his track ‘Cozey’
Aerosol Jezus filming the music video for his track ‘Cozey’

What’s easier, music production or film production? Why?

Easier doesn’t quite cut it for either – it’s about pushing the envelope every time. Simplicity isn’t king, and overproducing isn’t a real thing. Outwork everyone, and people will notice. Both are demanding in their own ways because you’re climbing a mountain whose peak you know you’ll never reach. “Art is never finished, only abandoned.”

Do your best and learn to live it down.

What’s your favourite music video? Why?

Páraic McGloughlin’s video for Someday by Weval would be my pick. It’s a masterclass in sucking the breath out of people’s lungs. It’s at once mesmerizing and unsettling – a product of immense effort and originality that you can’t help but respect.

What advice would you give to producers who are also keen to get into filmmaking?

Invest in what’s in front of the camera, extensively prep, and have a solid game plan. Story and character development are everything. Also, director commentaries are a gold mine.

Keep up to date with Aerosol Jezus via Instagram.


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