A peek behind the curtain of a Majestic Casual production.
Majestic Casual aims to innovate and blur the boundaries between audio and visual aesthetics, and our live Majestic Sessions are no exception. This time, to celebrate our newest Session with one of our own Majestic Casual Records’ artists, Moli, we take a peek behind the scenes of how this project came to fruition.
To celebrate the release of 19-year-old British-Belgian singer Moli's new single, “Comfortable,” we decided to shape-shift the typical flow of our previous live Sessions by combining elements of cinematic sharpness and storyline with the intimacy of a live solo performance, all captured through one single take.
“The mantra of Majestic has always been ‘music meets photography,’ so if you translate that to moving images, every frame of the moving image should actually be photography,” said Majestic Casual’s Head of Content (and co-Executive Producer for this Session), Thay.
The visual concept of this Session was created by Director Anuk Rohde and Director of Photography Pat Aldinger, a duo who has been cutting their teeth on film techniques in line with dark, moody Hollywood movies, working on sets throughout Germany, Spain, and New York.
“Pat and I are partners in work and in life,” said Rohde. “We always try to stay innovative.”
When initially approached the two about filming a live session with strong visuals, Rohde and Aldinger had a more unique approach in mind.
“As a director who puts a lot of value on storytelling, I thought one could go a step further with the meaning of ‘more cinematic,’” said Rohde. “My thought was to introduce Majestic live Sessions with a small scenic pre-story, and then cross over into the live session in one take.”
The idea was a hit. “It made total sense to Majestic, which has always been about visuals,” Thay said.
The video opens with a wide-shot down a long open hotel hallway (The Regent in Berlin), gauzed in deep yellow light - a deliberate choice by Rohde and Aldinger, who picked the Hotel purposefully for its cinematic, vintage look. A couple emerges, slightly tense, their hesitancy in tandem with the opening notes of Moli's “Comfortable.”
The camera swoops to Moli, adorned in head-to-toe white denim and soft afternoon haze in a small hotel room, where she begins to sing through quick beats and long R&B-hued vocal runs, recorded live in one take.
“[“Comfortable” is] a song that talks about getting too comfortable in a relationship so there's no excitement,” said Moli. “The whole atmosphere of the video was really special; we had these actors [who were] actually a proper couple. They really inspired me.”
Singing live is a challenging feat for anyone, especially on camera - but Moli took the challenge in stride.
“I thought about that feeling you get when you're too easy around someone and that desperation that comes with it because you really want it to work but at the same time it's just not there, so I [wasn’t] too focused on the camera,” she said.
The camera oscillates between Moli’s live performance and the couple from the hallway, both propped against the doorframe of Moli’s room, all shot in one take from start to finish.
“One-takes allow you to constantly stay in the action,” said Rohde. “It’s really exciting during each take. We thought about what role the camera should have in order to make the video more scenic. It was also very important… that the Session still looks like a live session and [not too much] a music video… so a one-take as a feature was a great opportunity and a cool stylistic device.”
By the end, you're left not only with Moli's raw and flawless performance, but a deeper understanding of how the story unfolds.
“It's really important nowadays to stick out when you put a live session out, to bring something new,” said Moli. “It's a really cool concept. I'm interested how people will react to it.”
Watch the full Majestic Session with Moli below:
Moli - Comfortable (Majestic Sessions)
Directed by Anuk Rohde
DOP - Pat Aldinger
AC - Florian Waldmann
Actors - Rebecca Muro, Burak Isseven
Sound - Moritz Monorfalvi
Color - Jonathan Schupp
Hair & Makeup - Maria Loreen
Styling - Elli Drake
Set Photographer - Agatha Powa
Written by Robin Bacior
Edited by Jaclyn Siu