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Q&A with Ty Dolla $ign, Charli XCX and Tinashe Music Video Director Shomi Patwary | Listen Up!

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Ty Dolla $ign with 1970 Buick Gran Sport

Images courtesy Shomi Patwary and Atlantic Records

Music video director Shomi Patwary has been on our radar since his video for A$AP Rocky’s “Multiply,” with its awesome dance cameo from Yung Gleesh. Now Patwary’s caught our attention again with Ty Dolla $ign’s “Drop That Kitty,” a crossover hip-hop/pop jam with rising stars Tinashe and Charli XCX.

We caught up with Patwary on the phone while he was in New York filming another A$AP video and planning a project with Diddy’s son Christian Combs. He told us about rolling with the punches on “Drop That Kitty” and casting a surprise guest star who reminded him of his dad.

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Charli XCX

Nordstrom blogs: We’re loving this video. How are you feeling about it?

Shomi Patwary: It’s cool. There’s a director’s version that was a little more edgy. When you have three artists on a major video, you have to get everyone’s approval, and that’s a little challenging. And then rain came in; there were some shots I couldn’t get. The concept changed while we were shooting it.

What changed?

The original idea was closer to early Snoop Dogg videos from the 1990s, like “Gin & Juice.” So that’s why we had the classic West Coast stuff, the lowrider bikes, the cars. But then that was too similar to another video Ty had done, “Stand For.” And this is a pop record, but there’s a lot of hip-hop in it–and we could have taken that a lot of different places. But maybe that’s not appropriate for everyone, you know?

Did Charli XCX or Tinashe say something like, That’s cool but it won’t work for my fan base?

It was actually Ty. Originally we had a bunch of women acting all crazy in the car. And Ty was like, I have a 10-year-old daughter and I want to be more responsible with the visuals I put out. It wasn’t Charli or Tinashe, like I would’ve thought. It was Ty’s decision.

Originally, I was also going to have more animated cartoons involved, but the logistics of animation are that it takes a long time and you’re at the mercy of a post-production house and it costs a lot of money. The second solution was a little easier, which was putting cat heads on people. A little kitschy, more joking around.

People are used to me doing darker stuff with A$AP Rocky and A$AP Ferg. My inspiration is Mark Romanek and people like that. But I’m happy with this, for sure. Major videos get shelved all the time. It’s a bummer. Ask directors, they all have stories. There’s so many opportunities for it to go wrong or not come to fruition. So I’m happy, and I feel like it’s a fun video.

Also it rained while we were shooting, so we had to work around that.

Is that why everyone is dancing under the overpass, to block the rain?

Yep, that’s exactly why. So many things happen, there are so many variables. You have to work with what you’re dealt.

What was the vibe like on set? Was everyone drinking Cristal and Ciroc?

No, everyone was super healthy. It was kind of like a throwback to how they used to do videos. Every artist had a trailer, security, stylists, choreographers, the whole nine yards.

Who did the styling?

Lisa Katnic. Charli’s creative director is Diane Martel–she’s directed a lot of legendary videos and is also Miley Cyrus’s creative director–and she suggested Lisa, who was the original person who styled Miley and Charli. She’s always ahead of the curve.

Where is the market we see in the beginning of the video?

That’s East Hollywood at the Tripti Market. We shot a lot inside there, but once the concept changed, we scrapped all that. It’s funny: I’m originally from Bangladesh, and the owner was Bengali. When I found that out it was much easier to talk to him. I convinced him to be in the video and toward the end, you’ll see him dancing with the girls. I was surprised he wanted to be in the video. I was like, This guy reminds me of my dad. That was a fun moment.

Where is Charli riding the tricycle?

That’s right by the Tripti Market. The funny thing was, though, I didn’t even think about it: Charli can’t ride a bike. So we happened to have a tricycle, and we got lucky. But she almost ran into a motorcycle. I thought everyone knows how to ride a bike. But I was wrong. On top of that, she had heels on. But she was a good sport and it turned out solid.

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Charli XCX and Shomi Patwary