Jorja Smith's brilliant new single "On My Mind" owes a big part of its addictive nature to a garage beat courtesy of Birmingham producer Preditah. Better known for his grime instrumentals, Preditah takes Smith back to the turn of the century when British clubs were filled with immaculately dressed people dancing to UKG and sipping brandy or champagne. The style suits her — and she's never sounded better.
The FADER-premiered video for "On My Mind" captures a more raw side of garage culture in the shape of pirate radio, where aspiring DJs and producers would broadcast their sets around the local area while trying to avoid detection from the police. The clip was filmed by director Hector Dockrill, who has previously made videos for Ray BLK and Donae’O. In a tower block in south London’s Clapham neighborhood, Smith dons a baby blue Avirex jacket as she performs at what looks like the final hours of a house party, when the sun has come up but the music is still popping. A cameo from Kurupt FM, the stars of BBC pirate radio mockumentary People Just Do Nothing, only adds to the atmosphere.
The FADER spoke to 24-year-old Dockrill direct from Kiev, where he's currently filming his next video. Read on to hear his thoughts on channeling the pirate radio spirit, bringing a sense of humor to the shoot, and his working relationship with Smith.
How did you come to be involved in the "On My Mind" video?
HECTOR DOCKRILL: I made the "Beautiful Little Fools" video with Jorja and we wanted to have a bit more fun with our next video. The video looks exactly how the shoot went — it was just a day of everyone having a great time. We wanted to make it feel like Jorja had been invited down to a pirate radio station and I think we managed that. It was a proper vibe.
What steps did you take to capture the pirate radio atmosphere?
DOCKRILL: I've got to give the Kurupt FM boys credit there. We put those guys in there and let Jorja perform around them. I think it looks really authentic, and that's because we weren't pretending to be having fun there. There were lots of jokes and us [crew] vibing off it.
Were there any videos from the garage era or footage from pirate radio stations that you referenced when you were preparing to make the video?
DOCKRILL: I've always been into garage so understanding that environment helped. Pirate radio stations were a bit before my time but it is how we imagined they would be. We wanted it to be more light-hearted than a typical seedy station. It was a completely different look for Jorja and a different approach. Her videos up to this point have had a very classy, elegant style to them. It was a change for me too. A lot of my work is based around social realism and is gritty, but this definitely has an element of humor in it.
What are the Kurupt FM guys like to work with? Having seen them around London, they don't appear to be hugely different to what you see on their TV show...
DOCKRILL: Totally. They just play much more exaggerated versions of themselves. They're just a group of friends who have put themselves out there to the world. They're jokers but once you start rolling they elevate their personalities even further. There's little direction needed.
And you must have a good working relationship with Jorja by now?
DOCKRILL: She trusts my vision and I understand what she wants. We have similar tastes and generally our heads are in the same place. There's a good thing there.