Mattis Dovier has created a ‘gif novel’, set to the soundtrack of two unreleased songs by Wild Beasts. He has collaborated closely with the band to create the work, which is released online next month. We talk to Dovier about the project, and share four exclusive gifs from it here…
The project forms part of The Jameson Works, a new website created by Jameson Irish Whiskey. The site features various creative projects and collaborations, all with an emphasis on craft. The finished piece from Wild Beasts and Dovier will air on the site on December 10, but here is a sneaky peek into how it will look…
Dovier’s involvement in the project came directly from the band. “Wild Beasts contacted me after spotting my video for Plurabelle online,” he explains. “The main idea was to join our two crafts of music and animation to create a story based on two unreleased tracks from the latest Wild Beasts album, Present Tense (Soft Future and Blood Knowledge). After a meeting discussing what we could create, we landed on an online graphic novel using gifs.
“The theme of the story is the confrontation of a human and a robot in environments that are foreign to them,” continues Dovier. “They each experience psychedelic discoveries across organic and futuristic worlds. The idea was to show visually the feelings experienced when listening to the tracks.”
To create the gif novel, Dovier began with a storyboard, as with a traditional graphic novel. “The gif is a hybrid format between image and video, it doesn’t differ too much from a classic graphic novel,” he explains. “In fact, the first step is the storyboard, to question and define the key images and highlight those that have the most visual impact, just like in a printed novel. But it is also very close to video since they are looped fragments of animation, the dfference is that it remains more elliptical.”
Wild Beasts has collaborated closely with Dovier to create the piece, even adapting the original tracks to work better with the gif novel. “We’ve all spent many long days in the studio working together on this project,” says Dovier, “bouncing ideas off each other and working out each element together, even down to the minute detail. They have actually reworked their tracks in accordance with the storyboard we determined, they have given sound to images, like a real soundtrack. It was really interesting as it’s relatively rare for musicians and illustrators to collaborate in this way. I first took my inspiration from their music universe to draw the gif storyboard and then they adapted their tracks to complement the illustrations, it was a really great experience!”
Mattis Dovier and Wild Beasts in the studio
Film of Dovier and the band working on the project
The finished gif novel will be released online on December 10 at thejamesonworks.com.