Releasing a video and a song is task enough, but John Tomkins has released Circle, a three-track EP with three accompanying videos, all in one swoop.
Coupled with that, each tune and music vid has a different style, and there’s even a collaboration. But there are unifying factors – the music’s 80s stylee and a very strong mental health theme. He tells us about what was behind the making of it.
Songs on the EP are title track Circle, Slightly Faded featuring Gibzzy Screamer, and You’re Not Alone.
“I challenged myself to finish three videos at the same time,” John told D&CFilm.
“But they are completely different types of videos. You’ve got the Slightly Faded song, which is about being emotionally isolated – and this was before coronavirus.”
Slightly Faded features Hybridize singer Gibzzy Screamer.
John was working on a music video for Hybridize with director Lemmi Swayze in Exeter. He enquired whether Gibzzy would be interested in collaborating. The answer was yes, the song was recorded and the video shot was at Oldway Mansion in Torbay and a warehouse in Newton Abbot.
All three of the songs are mental health-related.
“I don’t want to be too preachy about it,” said John. “I wanted to create some interesting videos and some interesting songs.”
Title track Circle is an example.
“In life, we’ve all been there,” said John, “you get depressed and then you’re back up again; you get depressed, you’re back up again. It’s about trying to break that circle.”
Influences are definitely 80s and include Howard Jones and Duran Duran.
“For Slightly Faded I was watching a few Depeche Mode videos,” said John.
And in Circle he purposefully kept himself out of the video, using 40 photos by photographers from across the world instead.
In the video for You’re Not Alone, John was experimenting with colour.
“In the footage of me, there’s no colour grade – I was experimenting with red and yellow and all the shots zooming in and zooming out were created after,” said John.
That scope to explore is a move away from John’s usual documentary filmmaking.
“Filmmaking is my hobby and my job, and my job and my hobby,” said John, who has just finished a documentary for Torquay museum, and he’s working on anther celebrating the museum’s 175th anniversary.
“Before you start a project, you’ve got to have a reason for doing it, and know what the audience is,” said John.