Alexander Sakutu – aka Dir. Lx – has become one of the most prolific directors working in music videos in the past couple of years.
Hailing from North London, he studied Media and Communication at Birmingham City University. It took a while for him to break into filmmaking after he graduated, but things changed when he started working for Jamal Edwards’s SB.TV, which introduced him to a new generation of urban artists.
Since 2017, he has directed well over 20 official videos, for the likes of Dave, Kojo Funds, Smokepurpp, Tiana Major and EarthGang, Ebenezer and Odunsi. With a very busy 2020 beckoning, Dir. Lx found a moment to tell us about his worklife – and what he does on his time off.
How long have you held your current position? What were you doing before this?
I’ve been directing music promos professionally for two years now. To get to this point has been a real grind, but the journey has been insightful to say the least.
Before that I was a self-shooter making music videos for friends and a lot of artists on the come-up. The likes of Knucks, Ojerime and Dave – whom I connected with through Jamal Edwards – were all artists I worked with early on.
Prior to that I was working at a call centre, which sucked the life out of me! It paid well but I was very unhappy.
Knucks, Ojerime and Dave were all artists I worked with early on.
What was your first job, or first significant break in the industry?
I wouldn’t say I’ve had a significant break in the industry yet. But the first video that may have got some industry attention was Dave, 100ms.
From then on I met with Simon Oxley at Greatcoat Films who’s had a lot of faith in me and helped to push me in the right direction. The industry hasn’t always seemed very genuine, but he’s always had my back.
My first professional promo with Greatcoat was a video for Django Django called Surface to Air (ft. Self Esteem). We went to Spain to film that promo. It was a life-changing experience.
Name one music video that inspired you that get involved in making music videos?
The Notorious B.I.G feat Puff Daddy & Ma$e – Mo Money Mo Problems. I just loved the gloss and production value of the video. They were styled different, having fun, and it’s full of feel good vibes that compliment the track.
Name one project you’ve done that was significant as a learning experience – and why?
Kojo Funds ft WizKid – I Like. I did almost five treatments for that track, if I remember correctly. Some were too ambitious or over-budget but I kept at it, I was passionate about the song. Before landing on the final idea, we went back and forth on a different, seemingly bigger idea in terms of set design/production, that cost a bit more and had a sponsor involved so we were a bit more ambitious. Then when the sponsor pulled out we changed the creative.
We had three reshoots – and the video came out very well. That taught me to never give up and stay positive. I’m a firm believer in teamwork, and Nicola Sheppard is a fantastic commissioner. She managed to keep things together when it could have easily all fallen apart.