One Step Closer: Martin C. Pariseau

A Montreal Director you’ll want to get to know

Just a couple years ago, Martin was experimenting with his 35mm’s, taking press pictures for his friends. His career as a Director set in motion after the making of his very first music video Tony Hawk for the Dead Obies. Immediately after the release, the video received a great deal of attention that landed the Dead Obies a record deal and Martin, a call from a production house. The next step? At All for Kaytranada, made with 1000$ and a camera. That was officially the dawn of a new beginning for Martin, entering Montreal’s creative scene as a Director, now represented by Cinelande and Caviar London.

Winning the 2017 Prism Prize, awarded to the top Canadian music video of the year, with Kaytranada’s LITE SPOTS, his name became underlined and definitely remembered.

He has now collaborated with artists from all categories: Coeur de Pirate, The Posterz, Ryan Hemsworth, Loud Lary, Allan Kingdom and the list goes on. Staying busy, Martin is currently developing a Viceland series, ads for your favorite childhood cakes and continuing to create music videos (of course). 

Each of our internal fires burn in different ways. What we are pushing to uncover with this ”Tuning In” series, is the unique ways in which each of us is driven to success. How one can constantly better themselves and overstep their boundaries with a flare of their own.

Through a conversation with Martin, we got to discover more about a man whose internal fire is driven by the stories of others.

Uncovering the truth behind his stories

What stands out from Martin’s music videos is his angle of approach. He decides to put forth elements that most rappers don’t. Instead of limiting his work to the frivolous imagery that the rap culture seems to showcase ever so often, he opts for depth and shows the internal world of the artist. 

‘‘It’s more interesting to go get their inner core, who they really are and create a proximity with the artist. You have the impression of getting to know something that is not only more pertinent, but more honest. Even if I occasionally incorporate elements that are magical situations that aren’t possible, like a car floating in the water, there’s still a whole metaphor for change, a rupture with the past. The Volvo that was the symbol for their past. Fiction can often get you closer to the truth.

(Referring to Loud Lary)

Bringing forward the ‘unsaid’ of every artist

Martin searches for the other dimension, the layer under the appearance of things. The core emotions that these people who have made it are feeling. Nothing is picture perfect. And it’s in these imperfections, these raw emotions, that Martin feeds himself to feed his work.

This uncovering of themes like solitude, shows us a behind-the-scenes of the artist’s life, which slowly brings these individuals that we qualify as ‘superhuman’ closer to our level, making them relatable, and beyond that, likeable.

His creative process

Martin is passed being ‘‘on trend’’ or ‘‘hypervisual’’, he just wants you to be marked by the imagery that he’s putting together to fit your screen.


”For a music video, it’s for sure the song that inspires me.  I have to like it! I can listen to it 150 times, to the point that I think it’s as much their song as it is mine. I then ask them what they’re into and what they’re not into and I try to build a scenario where their music will shine but also where they will shine.”

The vision for the concept will come from him, but ‘‘the artists always remains really close and without him there is no concept.’’ Martin guides the ship but the artist is onboard and takes control of the steering wheel from time to time, to re-adjust the direction when needed. Allowing him to really ‘‘build with this person’’.

Step two?

Well, Martin says to be inspired by ‘‘everything’’.

”It’s my friends, it’s my lovers, it’s the people around me. I feel very grateful to be surrounding by very inspiring people.” 

That doesn’t mean that it’s an easy process. Sometimes ideas comes pouring out of him, and the vision is clear. At other times it takes a couple of days to conceptualize, to make clear the core of what he wants to divulge.

”I always second question my creative decisions. I always try to find a deeper level in what  I’m writing, developing, conceptualizing. ”

Every set, setting, environment comes with a unique vibe of its own, that can be a source of inspiration for creation. Even if you plan everything out, things rarely go according to plan, as there are elements that you can’t control. That’s why being flexible is an essential trait to have when in the Director’s chair.

How he found his personal voice as an artist

Time was his secret ingredient to discovering his personal style. Looking back at his past videos now, he says he would definitely have done them differently. Nonetheless, he adds that it was part of his personal process, each step he made, whether in the right direction or wrong, allowed him to elevate himself. He put himself in situations where he had the chance to experiment, test the waters of his talent and see what worked for him. And now, those videos are a point of reference that he can look back on, to literally see his own evolution.

”Hopefully, every video that I’m going to make is going to be better than the last. Now what I’m seeing with these trial and errors is that every video wasn’t a recipe that I knew was going to work. I never know if it’s going to work until we shoot.”

Faked it ’til he made it

”I was lucky, people gave me chances at the beginning. With these chances I learned early where to place my camera and with who to surround myself with.”

When it comes to his personal evolution as an artist, Martin believes to have ‘’Faked it ’til he made it ” adding that ‘‘personally he knew he had it’’, it was just a question of proving himself to others, so that they would trust him enough with their personal image.

A music video, an advertising campaign, they are extensions: In one case of the artist and in the other, of the brand. The image will forever be associated to them and that’s why they are careful in whose hands they put their image.

”Working in film is working with people who are better than you to do things that you can’t do. It’s being basically being a maestro, who can’t play the violin. You’re really just there to direct.”

The difference now with his creations is that he has more people on his team. People that support him and lend him a hand in the reaching of his goals.

The words he lives by

”If you don’t attribute value to what you do or what you are, nobody will do it for you.”

 Claiming possession of his ideas was his gateway to being able to live from his passion: Telling stories.

He now intends to spread his wings from his Montreal nest and go spend some time in places like London -where he just got recruited by Caviar – and Los Angeles: Where he he will create new bridges of influence that will inspire his future work. Continuing to burn his internal fire burns alongside the storytelling of other artists.

Watch more of Martin’s work on his vimeo.

Martin on Instagram: @cpariseau

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