Published Feb 13, 2015Along with releasing his first album in nearly three years, Signs Under Test, this month via Kompakt, California-based DJ and producer John Tejada recently unveiled a collaboration with French-born filmmaker Clément Oberto called One Step. The gorgeously shot slo-mo-filled short is anchored by Tejada's dream-weaving soundtrack, while Oberto's work behind the camera is equally mesmerizing.
Brought together through mutual friends, Tejada's background in sound design and openness to exploration were a perfect fit with Oberto's filmmaking style. Unlike more traditional music videos, both artists worked collaboratively, building off each other's interpretations as the process unfolded.
"I met Clément through Andy [Turner] from Plaid. Clément was here doing some research and some shooting. We just kept in touch," Tejada tells Exclaim! from his L.A. home. "What we ended up doing was creating the piece together from scratch. I would just ask for images or stills, anything that I could look at to get a vibe going. I would start putting it together in little baby steps and then I would send it to him, where he would cut a little more and send it back to me. I would get an idea on how to further the piece.
"It was almost like two musicians sending a piece back and forth and working on it a bit at a time, but he was just doing the visual aspect and I was doing the music. I found that a really interesting process, and I think it makes the work unique. In most cases, someone just sends the other person a finished piece of music or a finished visual and then the person just works from that. In this case, we did it differently."
Not all producers would be as flexible to work in this type of collaborative style, but Tejada has never shied away from challenges and seems to be invigorated creatively by the process.
"There is a fun thing that kind of opens up your creativity when you are looking at moving images. I think that's what makes a great movie and great soundtrack so powerful. Even when you just hear the music, you are reminded of those certain moments, so there is a real strong emotional connection between the two. Imagery and music works really well together, and it's definitely fun to collaborate in that way."
Watch One Step for yourself below.