Dawittgold is co-founder and visual curator of the street-auto culture adjacent fashion brand Peaches. As a deft director with a strong comprehension of aesthetics, he posses the ability to highlight a vehicles charm alongside being competent enough to unearth the hidden facets of any talent involved.
Sure enough, Dawittgold, who says “[he] was born to create the best car videos on earth,” validated his confidence in his artistic direction of Kia’s latest campaign. His creative mindset bore fruit — in the same fashion as his previous collabs with Nike and Dior — through the inclusion of K-Pop star Hyolyn and a partnership with the Korean-born, 8-bit animator Jaebeom Joo who took the new Soul out of the real world and into the realm of pixels.
Not only a tenaciously thorough director who pours his entire soul into his work, Dawittgold is also a true car buff who was able to showcase the Soul from a connoisseur’s perspective. In the same breath, that keen and tasteful eye was able to capture a vision of Hyolyn that was far removed the one-dimensionality that her time in the public eye has placed on her.
You’re a video director, co-founder of Peaches and an auto buff. With so many interests, do you have a favorite?
Director. It’s like being a conductor on set. It’s my favorite.
You posted on your social media that you were “born to shoot the coolest cars.” When did you start filming them?
It has been about two and a half years — not very long. I have always liked cars, and I really started shooting a lot of cars once I started Peaches. At first, I shot a lot of fine profile footage. Now, I have been labeled a director with a forte in automobiles, but my automobile projects are naturally good because I like cars. I am actually hoping to tell more about people. I like cars, and I will keep doing what I am doing, but I don’t want to be tied to a single category.
“I do not consider cars industrially produced subjects; I see them as living things.”
Despite the short history, your automobile projects, including the Peaches clips, have been receiving amazing feedback. Some comments note that you “point out everything auto buffs go wild for.”
I do not consider cars as industrially produced subjects: I see them as living things. I am able to make more attractive scenes because I direct with such a mindset.
“The Soul isn’t a compact car, but it has a ‘small, cute’ kind of image. I wanted to express a kind of sharpness, regardless of that image.”
How did you envision Soulful Vibes Only when you were offered the opportunity?
My initial thought was to make it stylish. The Soul isn’t a compact car, but it has a “small, cute” kind of image. I wanted to express a sharpness, regardless of that image. There’s a general tendency to shoot cars like Soul in a lively and cheerful light, but that’s not my style.
Soulful Vibes Only is a clip of Hyolyn’s day with her Soul. Why did you choose this story?
Ultimately, everyone lives a day. I just interpreted this in my own way by focusing on the especially attractive parts of Soul. I also wanted to show how this car can pull off an entirely unconventional look.
You had a chance to drive the third generation Soul yourself. What’s your impression?
I think it’s a good choice for young people. I believe one of the main reasons Soul is so popular in the States is its usefulness. It’s not a big car, but it holds a lot. Most importantly, the design’s great.
“Soul has many features that suit young people’s tastes, like indoor mood lighting, Harman Kardon’s ambient sound system and appearance-wise, the headlights.”
What lifestyle parts of Soul did you choose to highlight in Soulful Vibes Only?
Soul has many features that suit young people’s tastes, like indoor mood lighting, Harman Kardon’s ambient sound system and appearance-wise, the headlights. The headlights are the most notable advancement, and I think they are very fresh.
Hyolyn is most often pictured as a performance artist, but you presented her in a more charismatic light. Why did you choose this direction?
Because people will expect Hyolyn to perform when they hear that she’s in an automobile production, and I don’t agree with this, because I don’t find stereotyping the model necessary. Hyolyn is a model who doesn’t need movement to embody style, because she already lets off that aura.
The 8-bit animation seems to be a central element in Soulful Vibes Only.
Yes, I tried to express LA vibes, since it suits HYPEBEAST, and LA is a keyword brought forth by Soul. Jaebum Joo has worked with many big brands like Dior and Nike, and communicating with him was a breeze. He materialized exactly what I hoped to express. He’s a great artist.
“It is illogical for a person who doesn’t like cars or doesn’t have experience driving fast cars to shoot quality driving material.”
Some characteristics in Soulful Vibes Only can also be found in your other works, like smooth camerawork and dynamic driving scenes. Would it be correct to call these quintessential Dawittgold elements?
Yes, I like those details. Especially the driving scene. When I go on group drives, I can see how the car ahead should run in order to look aesthetically pleasing. I enjoy driving, and I apply the moments and courses that I witness to the angles that I film in. Those shots can’t be captured by someone who hasn’t driven in high speed. It is illogical for a person who doesn’t like cars or doesn’t have experience driving fast cars to shoot quality driving material.
You’re known for directing cutting-edge pieces. Are you planning any new projects?
I think it’ll be cool to make a contemporary interpretation of the film Akira. I like Akira because of Kaneda’s motorcycle. It is plastered with stickers of everything Kaneda likes. I can relate to it in terms of how I treasure my own car. Long ago, people rode horses. Now, we ride cars and motorcycles. We call our cars “aema” (Korean lingo meaning “favorite horse”) because we love our cars so much.
How do you express your affection for cars in your productions?
When directing, I want to show the most attractive aspects of the subject, whether it be car or human. Take, for example, Loopy and Nafla’s “Rough World” music video. A lot of awesome cars appear in the video, but they’re not the main players. The cars just make the production richer, and the music video is actually about the people in it.
Do you prioritize visuals over the story?
Yes. I consider the visual within a scene to be very important. Today’s video production trend involves a lot of fancy effects and scene cuts. I don’t like this style much. I prefer clean manifestation of the exact scene in my mind within the angle. I believe a well-shot scene should exhibit a certain mood with a fixed camera and no camera movements.
Can you give an example?
The scene in Chungking Express where Leung Chiu Wai goes to buy a sandwich. The shot was taken at a slight slant, with the actor at the register, under fluorescent lights. The tiles in the store are dyed with the lighting. This single scene explicates the entire movie. Leung Chiu Wai is outside the register, and Wong Faye is on the other side, making it look as if the two are of different worlds. But ultimately, they’re in the same space. I think this is flawless. It’s so much better than saturated, overly-embellished shots in hopes to score one good scene.
“I must admit that The Fast and The Furious film changed my life.”
There are resemblances between Wong Karwai’s color utilization, artistry and Dawittgold’s productions.
My favorite directors are Wong Karwai and Christopher Nolan. My works may seem alike to Wong Karwai’s movies, in terms of colors and lighting. I also like Christopher Nolan’s visual heaviness. If you watch the movies Inception or The Dark Knight, there are no light shots. Every scene is immensely weighed down, and I must admit that The Fast and The Furious film changed my life.
Of all the feedback you have received so far, what feedback is most memorable?
“This is so aesthetic.” There was no additional explication. I really value the aesthetic of my works. The density between the scenes that I pour my soul into, and those that I don’t, are very different so that the viewer can differentiate between the two. There’s also a big difference between productions shot with initiative and enthusiasm and those shot for income. Therefore, I usually commit to my all productions with the belief that they are all my own productions.
“The success of Peaches is not due to good luck at all; it was deliberately planned and executed so that we are where we are today.”
Peaches started with the assertion that it will become “a brand supporting the auto culture,” and two years later today, it represents the street auto culture. Did you see this coming?
Yes. I predicted it when I started the brand. I delved into it. The timing was perfect too since it was when YouTube was being flushed with youngsters. There were many car-related channels popping up in the States although none in Korea. The success of Peaches is not due to good luck at all; it was deliberately planned and executed so that we are where we are today.
There was a comment on one of your Peaches content pieces that read “Car Porn.” What does this mean?
It literally means car pornography – not in a sexy sense, though. Everyone has a unique taste in automobiles, and it means that the content satisfied the viewer’s taste. It also means that the viewer liked the work so much that they wanted the car in the clip. When someone’s unable to purchase the car that they want, they opt to get miniatures or watch videos instead. So to watch one’s favorite car beautifully portrayed is definitely something to go wild for.
I heard that the Peaches HQ recently moved to LA. Will this fuel the brand’s upcoming activities?
We thought that we would be able to more aggressively manifest our ideas if we work based in LA. Most of our fans and buyers happen to be in the States, as well, so we recently purchased a Lamborghini Huracan for marketing purposes. We will make deliveries in this vehicle to buyers near our office. The most frequent complaints within the American service industry is that the deliveries are slow, so we are solving that by making our deliveries with the fastest car. Oh, and we are opening a Peaches store in Fairfax, near the Supreme store.
“First, I want to become the king of automobile content.”
What type of contents will Dawittgold show in the future?
First, I want to become the king of automobile content. I will make never-seen-before kind of productions. There are a lot of patterns in direction among all automobile-related movies, commercials and such. My works will exceed all standards.
It sounds like your destination is in sight, at the least.
I tend to be straightforward, so here it is: “Kill them all.” I mean, with my skills of course. After all, this industry also has winners and losers, determined based on one’s skills. You’ll see who finishes with the trophy in hand.