The Art of Making a Fire Music Video w/ MIZAIAH & Sae Vista

Matthew Loyd

February 10, 2023

At the end of last year, NYC-based Hip-Hop musician MIZAIAH released the Phases EP, an amalgam of really cool and interesting sounds, and best of all, dope bars. The 5-song EP features his single Girlfriend, which was turned into a super awesome and creative music video, with homages to 2000s American cultural icons like American Idol and Outkast. One thing about MIZAIAH; he’s gonna have a fire video. That amazing standard is exactly what I wanted to chat about in today’s piece.

In December, he invited me to be a part of the video shoot for The Basement, the opening track on Phases. I had liked the song on first listen, but my favorite track was actually the last one, I Wish I Could. I mention this to say, after the video recording, that had very much changed.

BTS photos provided by Sae Vista (@3DSae)

The energy and vibe that just creating the video brought was really fun and hardcore. Myself and the others that were in the vid will tell you how many breaks we needed to take in between multiple takes of moshing and jumping around. It’s always fun and interesting to be a part of an artist’s creative process, especially when it comes to visuals for a song. What makes them want to portray a sonic medium, a certain kind of way to the eye? I asked MIZAIAH a few questions about that:

BTS photos provided by Sae Vista (@3DSae)

20XX: Who came up with the creative/artistic direction for The Basement? How did you handle the casting for the video, as well as the wardrobe choice?

MIZAIAH: I come up with all of my video concepts! I presented my ideas to Sae Vista (@3DSae) and we were able to solidify my ideas by collaborating, going over logistics, and being creative. We went over all the shots and planned everything down to the second, all beforehand, so it could be as seamless as possible on shoot day. In terms of casting, I knew I wanted to try to get people who I felt could emote, as well as physically exhibit the energy of the song. It was a lot of yelling and moshing so I tried my best to get people that could accomplish that. 

20XX: When making a video for a song, what’s the first thing you think about or conceptualize that helps inform how that piece is going to look?

MIZAIAH: I have this thing where I think of the music videos while I’m making the song usually, which could be a blessing and a curse. For example with The Basement, the production is very eccentric but from a lyrical standpoint, I’m straight up talking about my life. So thinking about the video, I kind of wanted the set and colors to be as simple as could be, but eccentric in terms of visual effects and my performance. 

20XX: Why the decision to have all the music videos in one video as opposed to 3 separate pieces?

MIZAIAH: I felt like it was a good way to have it be somewhere people came back to and see the range, if they haven’t already.

Often the untrained eye will overlook the credits, and miss out on the incredible people behind such a great piece of work (looking at you, people who walk out of Marvel movies when the credits roll, seriously, wtf???). Part of what makes a piece of video media great is the way it’s made, not just who or what is in it. The Basement’s music video has a lot of really sick edits and scenes, interesting moments that pull it together to inform a visual connection to the song. It’s sporadic, in your face, edgy, and even takes your attention all over the place through creative splicing of scenes and subjects.

BTS photos provided by Sae Vista (@3DSae)

To get a good idea of what the process and intention was behind the camera work and editing of the video, I spoke with Sae to get an idea of what it’s like to put together a hit video, from pre to post.

20XX: What’s your favorite scene in the video?? Which scene did you have the most fun filming?

Sae: My favorite scene and probably most fun to film & edit, is actually the 3 MIZAIAH’s in one, it was just cool cause we thought of the idea and it came out PERFECTLY how I envisioned it.

BTS Photos provided by Sae Vista (@3DSae)

20XX: How much of the editing process did you have creative liberty in?

Sae: I had creative liberty in everything it feels, but I also just wanted to make sure that the video is satisfactory for the artist and his vision!

20XX: From a videographer’s perspective, what do you think about the medium of the “music video” in today’s world and how it’s applied to entertainment? How did that influence your putting together of the video for The Basement?

Sae: The medium of the “music video” is always evolving, especially with our short-form content nowadays. But I like music videos that are visually appealing to the eye more than a story, I just feel that makes me like an artist more. So with that in mind that’s how I wanted to treat this entire video! The story is already in the lyrics, let's just illustrate the aura and vibe of the song. 

Definitely take a look at the video for The Basement, ASAP. It’s really cool and visually very interesting. Again, I was glad to be a part of the video and the shoot, and contribute to the vision that MIZAIAH and Sae brought to life. The video comes as the first of 3 in a collection of music videos for The Basement, I Wish I could, and How Do I Say This Nicely, all of which have amazing, really creative and really interesting videos. After these I can see that MIZAIAH is definitely someone you can count on to have interesting and great videos, and that is a testament to his love and attention for his craft.

BTS photos provided by Sae Vista (@3DSae)