"Today I am exactly where I imagined when I was a child."
Lior Molcho (photo: courtesy of those photographed)
Almost ten years have passed since Sia started appearing on stage with a blonde wig that hides her face and became a symbol associated with her, as part of a desire to maintain her privacy.
At the same time, at this time she also chose not to appear herself in her music videos.
There are music video directors who could freak out over such a decision by a female star.
The Israeli Lior Molcho, who directed many of the singer's music videos in these ten years, was actually turned on by the challenge.
"It's a challenge that's a blessing to me," says Molcho, "one of the best things that happened to me in my career in general is working with Sia, and I really like that they gave me this spinning ball - you can do anything except show the artist in the music video because he doesn't want to. It Open up possibilities. We tried to think, we really scratched our heads, what to do. Already in the music video for the song 'Alive', out of teamwork, we came up with the matter of producing this rebellious character with the wig and without a face. Before we worked with her, Sia had already used a wig on her head, And we said okay, let's do something iconic with this face that doesn't exist, it's just the wig. And everyone really, really liked it, and we occasionally revisit these characters. As a kid, I grew up on music videos and I thought the most interesting music videos were the ones where the artist wasn't in them. I got lucky I'm very lucky and I work with several artists who say: yes, leave it, I don't need to be in the music video, do something in animation or something fun, exclusive. For me, it's a pleasure."
Not only Sia avoids revealing her face in the media.
Molcho, one of the most successful and respected Israeli music video directors in Israel and the world, has so far chosen to hide from exposure, maintain his privacy and avoid press interviews.
He has signed over 200 music videos, including those of first-class Israeli musicians such as Idan Reichel, Kobi Oz, Rami Kleinstein, Miri Mesika, Sarit Hadad and Shina, and among them quite a few international stars, led by Sia, along with Sean Paul, David Guetta , Alanis Morissette, Enrico Iglesias and the bands Weezer and Stone Temple Pilots.
His creative and directing work has been praised, being called, for example, "subversive" by Rolling Stone magazine and "highly original" by Billboard.
Now, at the age of 45 and after years of tremendous success, Molcho breaks his silence in his first interview, which takes place in a phone call from Los Angeles where he has lived for a little over a decade.
The reason he agreed to be interviewed for the first time is to promote a magical animated music video directed by him for the new and touching song "If You Give Me My Part" performed by Dana Vyshinsky, daughter of the actors Shlomo and Esnet Vyshinsky.
The painful love song was written by Lea Goldberg, composed by Adi Mednes and edited and produced by Dodo Tessa and Nir Maimon.
The result is exciting and has strong retro tones, and corresponds with great Israeli classics both in the melody and arrangement - and in the creative animation clip, based on another work by Goldberg, "Apartment for Rent", in which the characters from the beloved children's story take on a life of their own.
This work is another successful meeting between Madens and Molcho, whose second music video he directed in his life was for the musician's song, long before he directed for giants in Israel and abroad. "Adi played me the stunning song, offered me to direct the music video and directed me to a documentary film about Goldberg.
I watched it.
He is of course very sad because she has a very sad life story - she lost her father in the Holocaust, had an unrequited love and had no children even though she loved children very much.
And suddenly in the film there is a picture of her on a roof in Tel Aviv, sitting and reading 'a rental apartment' to a group of children, when she is already in her sixties.
This picture just broke my heart, it's so sad.
The great poet who wrote one of the most important children's classics in Israeli history sits there without children, and reads the book to the children.
I called Adi, and I told him yes, we have it.
In addition to this image from the film, 'Apartment for Rent' was also chosen for the music video because it links to the song 'If You Give Me My Part', the story about someone who was left behind.
Molcho on the set of the stop-motion video clip "If You Give Me My Parts" by Dana Vyshinsky (photo courtesy of those photographed)
Lior Molcho was born in December 1977 in Kfar Saba, the son of designers and educators Ruti Vicky Molcho, founder of the Vital Design Studies Center, and brother to Michal Molcho, a professor of history and formerly a music editor at Gali IDF. At the age of eight he started making stop motion films inspired by "Star Wars". In the middle, he says, "I had a very nice teacher who saw that the only way to get me to do something was to let me make animated films, and so it was."
He received a video camera for a bar mitzvah and at that time he began filming music videos, and in his adulthood, the first professional music video he made was for Tal Gordon, for the song "I wanted it not to end".
"Tal believed in me," says Molcho, "and this is still my favorite music video. I think I did a good job there."
During the first decade of the 2000s, he led a production team that directed music videos for a long list of top-ranking artists and bands in Israeli music, including Kobi Oz ("He is a wonderful person, there was a connection from the moment we met, and every work we did together was different"), Mashina ("As a child, I saw the music video of 'Night Train to Cairo', and working with Mashina was a dream come true, and they were the most humble and pleasant people"), Gabriel Belhassan ("He was a very interesting person to meet"), Mika Karni ("who took me in the direction of fashion with 'Magdalor' "), Amir Perisher Gutman ("He was full of wisdom and calm and a pleasure to work with"), Danny Sanderson, Idan Reichel,
Rami Kleinstein, Sharit Hadad, Korin Alel and Gilad Segev.
In 2005 Molcho won the award in May of the year in the music video category at the Ami Awards ceremony held by Channel 24.
Molcho transferred his magic touch to the big screen as well.
And in 2011, after five years of work, an independent film titled "Two Flags" was released, on which he signed as screenwriter and director.
The film takes place in the Land of Israel in 1939, and deals with Iashek, a young boy from Poland who illegally qualifies and is adopted by a group of children who are fighting their own enemy: Shaul, the high school bully.
Together with his friends Yashak builds a fortress, a "wall and tower" of their own making that will protect them.
Although it was produced with a budget of about a quarter of an average Israeli film, it is rich in special effects that recreate the Tel Aviv of 70 years ago, and for the first time in Israeli cinema, it was used on a Hollywood scale in the construction of miniatures for filming purposes in the film, to recreate sites in Tel Aviv of the late 1930s that existed and no longer exist, including the historic Dizengoff Square, Mogherbi Cinema and Herzliya Gymnasium.
The film won two awards at the "MOONDANCE" festival in Colorado in the categories of the best children's film and the crowd favorite award.
11 years ago Molcho left Israel for Los Angeles, United States.
"Those who know me, like my childhood friends, always knew that I would come here, there was no doubt about it," he says, "From the day I got a video camera for a bar mitzvah, I wanted to come here and make music videos. This is the thing that interested me the most in the world. I love what is in English They call it Music Videos, and in Israel it is called by a less successful name, music videos. For me, it is an art form. What is requested is to come and do it here."
In addition to the desire to create in the United States, what else made you leave the country?
"About 11 years ago, more or less, they bought the music channel, stopped making music videos, and some one man took over the entire media industry in Israel. So you say, OK, the time has come. And here, in LA, we felt that we were welcomed with open arms. See That we are ready to work hard, and they told us - come."
Together with his Danish partner, in the home studio of his production company "Neon Cat", Molcho has worked in the last decade with a host of major international artists, and above all of them, as mentioned, stands out his most resonant collaboration with Sia, which began when he directed a music video for the hit song "Alive".
In response to the question of how the relationship with the singer came about, Molcho replies that it is the result of hard work.
"We came to the attention of people who work with Sia after working with a lot of people. It's a lot of work with a lot of precision. It's like being an Olympic athlete. You work every day, all day, all the time. There's no time off."
"We really enjoy working with her and her team, they are fantastic people."
Sia (Photo: GettyImages)
Molcho's big breakthrough in the United States was through the collaboration with Sia in the official music video for the hit "Cheap Thrills", in its official remix version that includes the voice of the rapper Sean Paul, which was released in February 2016. The special music video, which is all in black and white, simulates dance shows from the 1950s on TV the American, and two dancers who wear wigs in Sia's style.
To date, the clip has reached an astronomical and unimaginable number of views - one billion and 800 million.
"Yes, it's definitely satisfying," Molcho says of the viewing figures.
"I like reading the comments on YouTube. It's fun to see someone say 'I cried' or 'I was moved' or 'How beautiful'. The 'Cheap Thrills' music video was really a project that we also really enjoyed writing and making, and this music video is us. It was an idea of It's Danish and it suits my retarded sense of humor. They really liked it and it got a very good response. So we said to ourselves: OK, it's happening. We and the whole setup of Sia and the record company realized that we're all on the same page, everyone likes to work together. Since then I've really enjoyed working With Sia and her team, these are fantastic people."
In the ongoing work with Sia, Molcho directed music videos for her, among other things, for the song "Never Give Up" from the soundtrack of the movie "Saro - The Way to Home", as well as for the songs "Move Your Body" and "Floating Through Space".
And since 2017 he has been directing a music video for her Christmas song every year.
One of these music videos, for the song "Snowman", earned its creator an award in 2021 at the Clio Awards for creativity in the field of advertising and design.
Another music video by Sia, "Flames" in which she collaborates with David Guetta, directed by Molho in the kung fu style, was nominated for the best music video award at the MTV Awards.
"This is one of the most exciting music videos because it's a ninja movie, and American Ninja is something I've always really liked," says Molcho, "I really like martial arts. As a child I participated in a judo class, but I was so thin that the stage came when people They had a green belt like me and I'd get punched and I'd fall, so I stopped competing. But I love martial arts and I've always had a dream of being a stuntman. When I was a kid, my first home video movies mostly showed me getting beat up and then being thrown off all kinds of hills . This is the thing I liked to do the most as a child. So it was a real pleasure to work in this clip with stuntmen who work in TV series, on fight choreography. Say, can you jump like two meters in the air? Sure! It was really fun. And it's lots and lots of work and rehearsals.
There was a medic on the set and had to be very, very careful.
And it was also fun to work with the charming actor Danny Trejo."
Molcho on the set of Sia's "Cheap Thrills" music video (photo: courtesy of those photographed)
Ninjas exist not only in this music video of Molcho but also in his life.
The majority of his team consists of women, headed by his partner Danit, mother of his son, a photographer and editor and a full partner in his creations.
"We met in Israel 20 or so years ago on the set of the first music video for Tal Gordon, and we have been together ever since. We always worked together, and moved to the United States together. And now there is a little boy, and he also works with us. Of course there is a team of people, animators, sculptors and many other people who contribute from their talent," he says.
Together, they create extremely invested music videos, and their commitment to the profession is total.
"When we made the 'Flames' music video, Danit and I as the main photographer, we had a three-week-old baby," Molcho says.
"We got the biggest project of our lives, a huge budget of hundreds of thousands of dollars, and one of the biggest artists in the world, and all this while we have a three-week-old baby. So okay, it's great that you have a three-week-old baby, what are you going to do? Tell them." I want to film next month'? So my father, Yaki, came from Israel and he was with our son on the set, and took care of him!".
Listen, flying dad from Israel to Los Angeles to look after your son is the most expensive babysitter I've ever heard of.
"Yes. Then, because the sets here are very closed and cell phones and devices are not allowed on the set, David Guetta's people asked me: Tell me, do you happen to have someone who can film 'behind the scenes' and interview David on the set? So I offered my father, like this that he was also a babysitter and filmed 'behind the scenes' and interviewed David Guetta, and it's on the Internet. And in another clip we shot for three weeks in stop motion for Michael Bubla, when our child was a few months old, the grandmother, Danit's mother, came to babysit."
In their absolute commitment, he says, the industry notices.
"When we finished 'Cheap Thrills' we received a bouquet of flowers at home with a card from Messia and the team, which says: 'Thank you very much for your attention to detail.' Also to be precise."
I guess it's not easy, this sacrifice, the endless work, the perfectionism.
"I remember that before I moved here I was in a lecture with the people who worked on the soundtrack design and the sound effects in the movie 'Titanic.' Bigger. It's like an athlete training for the Olympics. You can't say 'I'm busy today' or 'I have family in town' or whatever. There's an Olympics, then there's an Olympics. You train for it your whole life, all the time. It's the same thing. A lot of work. The challenge is To keep up. You have to be very, very precise. It's [like] an orchestra player. When you perform in the Philharmonic, you can't have a bad day. There's no such thing. It's to maintain an optimal level of functioning every day, every Today, all my life. And no one here makes artistic comments to me. It's not because I'm such a genius. Simply because it doesn't work like that. Everyone has their job. Me - my job is to make a music video."
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Director Lior Molcho on the set of Michael Bubla's "White Christmas" music video (photo: courtesy of the photographers)
And it's different from Israel, the situation where you don't get artistic comments?
"In Israel, we still had to have the conversation about why a music video should be made. And it would be tiring to have this conversation. Why should a music video be made? Like this. Because there are several billion people waiting to see it. That's why."
Not to mention the huge differences between the production conditions in Israel and those in Los Angeles.
"It's different. Give Israel another 250 years. It's an unfair comparison. I eat here at a hamburger chain that's older than Israel. So you can't compare Israel to the United States. Nor can you compare England to the United States."
Was there anything in the American industry that was difficult for you to accept or that surprised you negatively?
But you can't build a plane like that.
You see, the aerospace industry doesn't work like that.
Everything here is a huge corporation.
It takes time to understand that."
To what extent are personal connections made with the international talents you work with?
"There are personal connections, but three years can pass between projects with an artist. When you work, the work is very, very pleasant. They always say, 'Be careful not to meet the people you admire. I was lucky that everyone I met and worked with were really nice and good people. It's like you come to a restaurant and everyone is happy, so you know the boss is good, and the shift manager is good. And when you come to a restaurant and the waiter is not nice, then you know that the shift manager is not a nice person. It's a huge organization, you work in front of dozens of people when you work with artists like this. And every One is nicer and more helpful than the other. And how nice that Alanis Morissette is a lovely person! It's very nice, I really like her music."
Director Lior Molcho and David Guetta on the set of Sia Vegeta's "Flames" music video (photo: courtesy of those photographed, Yaki Molcho)
Danit Molcho works on the set of Sia and David Guetta's "Flames" music video, with their baby son (Photo: Courtesy of those photographed, Yaki Molcho)
The film "Two Flags" that you created won praise and awards.
Do you have an appetite to make another film?
"Less. I really like that in music videos there is a process where within a month or two you go from the idea to something finished, there is something very satisfying about it. I've always liked music videos, because music videos to me are pure cinema. It's music and pictures. There's not even talking that gets in the way. That's my taste in cinema , I like silent films, I like the moments in films when no one speaks and the camera moves and there is music. So for me music videos are perfect."
In the new clip "If you give me my share" your love for history from the last century is expressed.
Sia's "Cheap Thrills" also simulates a dance show at the fifties, and "Two Flags" takes place in Tel Aviv in 1939. Where does the passion for retro come from?
"I am deeply immersed in history. I have a sister who is a professor of history. My father is a big history buff. We grew up in a house with history books, we traveled all over the world, from ancient Egypt to castles in Europe. I really like period things, there is something romantic about it. And how do you say? Those who do not know their history are doomed to repeat their mistakes."
The singer of your new music video, Dana Vyshinsky, is actually a clinical psychologist.
What would you be doing if you weren't a director and creator?
"I was a marine biologist. I have a lot of aquariums. There are far too many fish here."
When you were a kid and you filmed yourself being thrown from all kinds of hills, could you imagine the Hollywood Hills and dream that your music video would reach 1.8 billion views?
"When I was a film major at Alon High School, teachers and classmates made fun of my desire to make music videos, because it is not 'cinema'. When I wanted to make music videos in Israel and there was no music channel yet, I made music videos for anyone who agreed, and friends who worked in the entertainment industry thought I was delusional. Danish She was the only person who believed in the vision, who said, 'Let's go for it.' So the answer is yes, because the road here was full of stubbornness. Today I am exactly where I imagined when I was a child. The road here was very surprising and still not completely clear, but I feel that I have fulfilled my dream My girls".