The Making of Gasoline (NEH Magazine)

The following was featured in the November “The Alternative Issue” of NEH Magazine.

Filmmaker Marco Tessiore, the man behind the Gasoline music video for Seoul Hip-Hop artist Dbstk Crzzy, hasn’t done much directing. However, after spending a small period of time on his set or discussing his vision over coffee, you will realize that his lack of directing experience is irrelevant.

Marco is Italian, has French heritage, has spent time living in Spain and has called Korea home for nearly 3 years. Dbstk comes to Korea via San Jose, California. Their backgrounds are worlds apart, but their chemistry on creative collaborations is that of old neighborhood friends.

Dbstk is a pro. He’s a perfectionist: going the extra mile to ensure the end result of his many music related endeavors is top notch. But it’s Marco behind the lens and in control, achieving optimal output from each artist, extra, set assistant, photographer and blogger working for him. He has the ability to get the most out of any circumstance, adapting to uncooperative weather, unrealistic time constraints, available personnel and suggestions from crew members, all while holding true to his vision.

Taking the advice of international film makers and confidants, Marco has spent endless hours working in every position on a variety of unique and different sets to gain experience. From high powered worldwide agencies, to theater, documentaries, TV and internet commercials, independent movies and music videos. As a result, he knows what each crew member is thinking, what is important to them, and how to speak their language to find a common ground on a hectic set. If nothing else, all of these things are pre-cursors for his directorial debut.

He has learned that sticking to a tight schedule and a rigid vision for a project is not how he prefers to operate. Considering new ideas and suggestions, especially from new comers to his circle who offer fresh insight and opinion, as well as being open to change, is more his style. By sharing in the moment, the mood, and adapting on the fly, everyone enjoys the experience more. Collaboration through a shared sense of ownership is his key to producing a finished product that all can feel proud of.

As an Italian in Korea, Marco thrives off the idea of being a creator out of place and derives joy out of being able to give a fresh point of view back to the locals through the eyes of a foreigner. An example is Spike Lee’s “Miracle on Santa Anna”: filmed in Italy, it’s the story of black American soldiers fighting in Italy during WWII, and has given a new perspective on history to many Italians. Similarly, Marco hopes in some small way that Koreans can gain perspective about their surroundings through his work in their country.

His past has taught him that movies can be powerful experiences, and the vision they provide you can become part of real life.

Moving to Korea was very much like being in a movie. Not because the awe inspiring majestic temples, or because locals practicing martial arts on the local baseball field at 7am seemed like foreign concepts. To the contrary, the surroundings and environment as a whole, looked familiar.

How is this possible? Through cinematic reference. Comfort in living in a far away place for him, comes from movies. Prior experiences in film have given birth to new realities.

Through film, fiction can embrace real life. He brings all of this experience, insight and wherewithal to present day Korea. It is this that has shaped his creativity toward the Gasoline music video.

What started as Dbstk sharing a vision for Gasoline with Marco, a piece of video from an artist back home in California, has morphed in to a unique, black and white, independent music video production in Seoul. Two of Seoul’s prominent hip hop vocalists, Dbstk Crzzy along with Bashwon, will be featured alongside many of their friends in this descriptive portrait of the personification of rage and power. You can expect menacing gas mask clad soldiers and a guerilla warrior female who ignites the fire. Cars, spinning b-boys and elegant girls will all have a place in Gasoline.

“This gasoline here is higher octane. This gasoline here is higher octane.”

It’s a phrase you will hear throughout the song. Marco and Dbstk want the audience to draw from their own life experiences to decipher its personal meaning. Each face in the video is a reflection of the concept of now, the challenges of now, the energy of now, representative of our current blip of time in Korea. And gasoline is the fuel that animates those faces, giving ignition to what they have to say.

The locations are meaningful, intentionally selected for their significance to the current artistic underground scene in Seoul. You may recognize them as Korean, you may not, and that’s the point. They utilize elements of the imagination that will offer different meaning to different people, but Korea is always present.

An underlying theme driving Marco during his time in this country is the self administered responsibility to ensure that Korea is present in everything he produces. If it’s made here, especially with the intention of being promoted abroad, Korean influence will be showcased prominently in the work.

In a similar concept, Marco deserves recognition for promoting collaboration between foreigners and Koreans, shaping and creating a new vision of Korea together. Stepping over the preconceived notions of what foreigners are and what they can contribute, with the goal of producing insightful pieces of art, suitable for both audiences.

Several prominent Korean entertainers are featured in the Gasoline video. Top of their trade B-Boy extraordinaires the Gorilla Crew make several appearances. You can find their unique brand of street dance theatrical performance on weekends at Kaya Art Theater. Gasoline however, has them spinning and flipping all over outdoor underground party spots, with DJ Zoo on the sideline dropping the beats. Accomplished Singer/Rapper Saphfire of House Rulez fame will both greet you and bid you farewell at the beginning and ending of the video by igniting and extinguishing the flames. Co-producer Iconz Media is well known for connecting foreigners in Korea with the environment around them: hosting language sharing gatherings, cultural outings and party promotion.

Dbstk Crzzy’s Gasoline music video will be released on his Youtube page,, in December.

Take a deep look and determine how the fiction of Gasoline can become, and enhance, your reality in Korea.


~ by ripcitytoseoul on December 1, 2010.

One Response to “The Making of Gasoline (NEH Magazine)”

  1. […] can find all of that here: The Making of Gasoline in NEH Magazine Photos, videos and words from the Kaya Art Theater shoot featuring Gorilla Crew Video from the […]

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