Multi-talented filmmaker, visionary, singer and songwriter, Gino McKoy, has a knack for seeing beauty on the screen, including off screen. With this inherent talent McKoy has had several achievements, including his original composition getting played at the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Additionally, his company, Goldove, has held a wealth of music, film and fashion opportunities and successes.
Most recently, his upcoming independent sci-fi horror film, Lumina, will be released nationwide to 2,500+ screens in North America, and is being distributed in the US by Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures/Freestyle Releasing, and will be available for streaming and on-demand.
The latest video for McKoy, “Sensy Girl,” is one of three original tracks featured on the Lumina soundtrack, and was produced by the renowned music producer, David Kershenbaum and McKoy, with mixing by the legendary, Mick Guzauski, who’s a 15-time Grammy Award winner, and has mixed over 25 Billboard number one hits in his career. We had a nice conversation with Gino about his many creative sides, his recent release of “Sensy Girl,” and his upcoming film “Lumina,” collaborating with Kershenbaum and Mick Guzausk, women and the essence of weed, and much, much more.
You are an amalgam of many entities. How do all of these shape your influences in your work?
Thank you… great question, I always draw on my creative side by pulling ideas, from one field to the next. So if I write a song, I would then think what would be the best way to approach the music video cinematically… what could I do differently, what has never been done before and the most unique approach, cinematically speaking. Who should I cast, should I act in the video.. I think of Ridley Scott and how he played music while shooting Blade Runner, so the cast heard it while filming, how would it affect their performance, then apply that to what I’m trying to achieve. So there’s always a million things influencing me or my work..
Your recent release of “Sensy Girl,” is one of three tracks for your upcoming independent sci-fi film, “Lumina,” soundtrack. What was it like writing and recording music for this film, while simultaneously making the film?
It’s a lot of strategizing and a lot of moving parts. You’re constantly thinking, “will this music score work in this scene,” “will this shot list work with this particular track,” “how long should the title track or score play and what part of the song for instance would be the most impactful.” Emotionally, what works for this scene and the music that will be the most effective, is to pull on those heart strings.
When I write scripts, I’m always attaching music to those dramatic or action beats in my head. Which is satisfying to me, because it’s challenging but I love that challenge, as I always think out of the box. Plus, it’s great to lose sleep or wake up in the middle of the night because you just came up with a brilliant idea… but it always pays off. (smiles)
Love that you worked with hugely talented David Kershenbaum and Mick Guzauski. How did those collaborations initially come about?
Long story short, I crashed a red carpet event when I first moved to la, met a girl who worked in radio, she liked what she heard, passed it along to one of the top radio guys in the US, he referred me to David. David saw my talent and potential and we got close over the last 7 years plus… we decided to record the 3 debut tracks at East West in LA.
We were contemplating Mixing engineers for “Sensy” [Girl] and everything to me because “Runaway” was mixed by Bob Clearmountain, aka. Bob God, as they like to say in the industry. Stent, Ed Sheerans mixer works out of East West, our engineers referred him, he heard the tracks and said he wanted to mix them, however we was mixing an artist named Paul McCartney and his new music, you’ve probably heard of him, so his time-frame didn’t fit with when we wanted to do it.
David thought Mick was still in New York because that would have been one of our first choices, but it turned out he moved to Los Angeles two years ago and we found that out through some industry contacts. We met Mick and he loved the songs and as you can tell, he did an amazing job. He’s also very excited for the debut album.
Hope that was short…
“Sensy Girl” is essentially about women and the essence of weed; can you explain that in more detail to our readers and listeners, and what you hope they get out of the song, and ultimately, the film also?
Definitely has that 420 focus but also vaping as well which many do without the 420; hopefully enjoyment and freedom, freedom of expression, without the thought of criminalization when they listen. Without judgement, and that women can also express themselves without any stigmas and they are also an integral part of the movement. I also hope everyone gets the melodies and the fact that it’s superior quality in both the music and mixing, message etc we went really organic with it and didn’t compress the hell out of it, unlike other pop tracks currently on radio.
Well, one of the leads has a love affair with 420, so we see that play out in the film but the other tracks are equally as important and powerful, so we’re hoping the impact is big when people hear it in and out of the film.
20% of all merchandising revenue for “Sensy Girl” will be donated to your women and children’s charity, Kinder Krisis. What led you to develop this and why?
We wanna help kids in crisis and women in crisis… we got tired of seeing charities say money is going here and there, we just don’t trust most of them. I want and I also want others to see where the money is going to help women and kids, and to see it in action.
God put us here, to not only to help yourself, but to help others. We’re not seeking glory from it; it makes us happy to see others happy and thriving
Although you wrote and directed the treatment for the music video, you enlisted Chris Jensen (known for his superb work in Aladdin, Glass, Bridge of Spies and Ready Player One). What was that experience and vision like?
It was a journey, retro, vintage meets modern chic, with an industrial backdrop, but the beauty of the women softens that, as well as captivating the viewers with the visual effects and vaping/smoking was all practical, by the way.
Working with Chris was a great experience, he doesn’t bulls***, which I like. He saw the video through Laura a friend and exec at Technicolor, and he wanted to work on it. I was happy when he said to me that it was well shot, kudos to my talented DP Keenan Lynch, who I leaned on to execute my shot list and vision.
When Chris and I worked on it, we wanted to make sure there was smooth transitions and consistency with hues, saturation, etc. Our discussion many times was centered around high contrast to sin city stylized looks, scopes and more scopes. The vision really was to create a stunning and unique video that would stand out and not fit in.
What was your first concert you went to, and what was the first film you recall seeing? Which one(s) have been your favorite thus far?
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
My parents couldn’t find a babysitter that night, when they arrived they had to convince the staff to let me in and told them about not finding a babysitter
We ended up in the front row by the stage, all I saw was the tall stage and memories of Tina Turners legs that went on for days. I was the only child there and I was three and half years old …. mom said Tina looked down at me and smiled a number of times, I remember my ears were buzzing after that, I have an excellent memory when it comes to childhood memories, to be honest, to this day I still listen to Tina, the queen of rock.
When I told David Kershenbaum the story, he told me the story of when he wanted to sign Tina, he said label execs pushed back at that time and didn’t want to gamble on an older black woman. Well, I’m happy one of the labels did take that gamble, talent is talent and her music and her artistry and talent is beyond great. If I ever meet Tina, I would love to ask her if she remembers me (laughs); Maybe she will read this one day.
What was your first movie on VHS and/or DVD/BluRay, along with your first album on cassette, CD and/or vinyl?
Wow, does Sesame Street count? Star Wars followed by Voltron, I love anime. The first cassette I bought didn’t happen until later, Bad by Michael Jackson.
I listened to my mom and dads collection before I turned 7.
Which five films and which five artists or albums would you not want to live without?
Tough one to answer:
“Star Wars” – all films
“The Ten Commandments”
In my lifetime volume 1
Madonnas greatest hits
Bob Marley greatest hits
Who or what has been the most influential driving force behind all that you do?
God and my parents, they both have been there from the beginning, before anyone else believed in me. They haven’t given up, and have been on this crazy journey with me from the beginning. Most parents wouldn’t do what they did and God has shown us miracles.