Monday, 2 January 2012

We gave an interview for this months issue of AU Magazine about the making of "Shells of Silver" video for The Japanese Popstars. The full interview is below..

AU magazine: What brief were you given to begin with?

It was really open. There wasn’t anything prescriptive; it was along the lines of “we want a cool video.” It’s a mixed blessing because you think great we can do what we like, but also you have no clue if your idea will strike a chord with the band and the label. Luckily in this case it did.

AU magazine:. How did you decide on the final treatment?

We listened to the track a lot and just tuned into the feelings it creates, It’s quite solemn in a lot of ways. We liked the idea of a city scenes with not a soul in them and an eery, early morning vide when seagulls rule the streets. There are a few themes and images that have come through in other pieces of work that we wanted to bring to this project, like the shots of tower blocks. We wrote in the choreographed scenes to play to our strengths (Abby being a choreographer and director), we thought it was a good way of bringing in dance without it being overtly “dancey,” We wanted the movement to be quite subtle, well placed and counterpoint the harshness of the cityscapes.

AU magazine:. Was it inspired by any other pieces of film?

No we didn’t really have any movies in mind as reference. Of course there are always influences that maybe subconscious. Some people have said it reminds them of this and that but for us it was more a reaction to the music. We had gathered a lot of photography of tower blocks over the years and Lewis played with them in cgi, this technique found its way into the video, a technique that so far no one has picked out as being cgi (which was always the intension)

AU magazine: Where was the video filmed? Why did you choose that location?

We were keen for it not to be recognisable as any particular city. We wanted an Eastern European feel and were interested in socialist housing blocks. We filmed for 3 days in Krakow to gather imagery of those sorts of buildings and urban landscapes. We filmed the dance scenarios in our hometown of Edinburgh, which although is a beautiful city in the centre, has its fair share of grim housing estates. A lot of people have recognised Poland, nobody has yet pointed out Edinburgh.

AU magazine: There's a very bleak feel to the visuals. Why did you decide on that?

Actually we weren’t setting out to make a bleak film, we wanted to find subtle beauty and movement in the photography, so although the subject matter is bleak, such as burnt out buildings, we were thinking “wow look at the texture and patterns on the wall”, or “look how is the light bouncing off that surface”. We had two DOPs working on the photography, part of which was self-motivated, where we gave them a brief and let them go off and find their shots. We shot a lot ourselves as shooting directors, this went on for 7 days, making a really challenging edit.

AU magazine: Can you explain what happens to all the people in the video?

It’s open to interpretation, if you’re looking for a narrative in there you won’t find one or if you do then tell us what you think. Abby’s choreography was carefully planned gestures of movement, like the girl at the bus stop, which might not be seen as dance. Other scenes abby directed the dancers movement on the spot, giving us lots of options in the edit. We then chose sequences that fitted with the overall feeling of the piece.

Lewis & Abby AKA Cagoule

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