Behind The Video – Kele Okereke, Primary 1, UNKLE

A look at the making of some of the most stunning video promos on the net this week

Kele Okereke – ‘Tenderoni’

The video for Kele Okereke’s debut solo single (out June 14th) sees the Bloc Party frontman revealed as a ripped boxer limbering up in a neon warehouse alongside a handful of futuristic dancers. It was a concept devised by Kele himself, alongside DJ and stylist Nova Dando, and brought to life by new director Greko Sklavounos, a man more used to shooting stills for fashion houses with only one previous video under his belt. The video was shot in Los Angeles on a RED 4K camera with a Phantom HD used for the slow motion scenes. It cost £26,000 to make and was produced by Doomsday Entertainment.

Wildbirds & Peacedrums – ‘Retina’

On a somewhat slimmer budget, this new clip from Swedish duo Wildbirds & Peacedrums. Shot in Iceland and Sweden for free and edited for a couple of hundred pounds, the video makes the most of its location, transposing images of geysers, hot springs and the famous Gullfoss waterfall to hammer home the watery theme of W&P’s ‘Retina’ and ‘Iris’ EPs (which combine to make the album ‘Rivers’, out in August).

Director Patrik Instedt has worked with The Hives and Peter, Bjorn and John and told us much of the DVD was filmed through a rubber ball to get the underwater feeling without spending money.

UNKLE – ‘Follow Me Down’

In UNKLE’s new clip, an anonymous man rocks up to a deserted warehouse where two naked nymphs greet him and invite him into a room full of dry ice. Once inside, he witnesses supermodel Liberty Ross writhing around on the floor for a few minutes before disappearing in a puff of smoke.
Long term collaborators Warren Du Preez and Nick Thornton Jones directed the clip, Rachel Williams of Sleepy Sun is on vocal duties and designers Boudicca provided the body print and horned headpiece. Director of photography was Dan Landin, a man whose previous work includes Radiohead’s ‘No Surprises’ and Massive Attack’s ‘Teardrop’.
Follow Me Down is out on June 7th.

Primary 1 – ‘Princess’

Enlisting the likes of Radical Friend (a.k.a. Kirby McClure and Julia Grigorian) to make your new video is invariably going to yield bizarre results – the team produced both of Yeasayer’s most recent visual oddities (‘Ambling Alp’ and ‘O.N.E.’). However, this could be their strangest yet. Originally sketched as showing 12 suited men biking through the desert on an extended tandem bicycle, the concept morphed to take in headless suits of varying hues following Primary 1 (aka Joe Flory) to some kind of pagan drum circle in a scrap yard in the desert.

“We had just been thinking about the crossroads of where 1920’s surrealists like Magritte and Dali met the psychedelic worldliness of the 80’s (i.e. Keith Haring, Talking Heads)” they explained. “When ‘Princess’ came to us we felt like it was summoning these spirits and we decided to create a epic psychedelic desert opera that feels like a concoction of these movements. We are also really inspired by the film ‘Walkabout’ by Nicholas Roeg, which is kind of the ultimate desert film.”

Shot in and around Death Valley and with the help of 11 extras in custom tailored and dyed suits (whose faces have been digitally removed) it depicts Joe wandering lonely roads and hallucinating, his visions “punctuated with this epic solar eclipse that is a metaphor for the apocalyptic sun princess he imagines.”

Here We Go Magic – ‘Collector’

Another sublime clip shot lo-fi and low budget, this was made on a JVC VHS-C camera (the first ever consumer video camera) with an allowance of less than $3,000. Shot in and around Austin, Texas, (on a prairie, in a state park and an antique museum), the video sees the band dressed in clothes they picked up from an old man selling tat by the highway and sporting vanity mirrors that reflect the set’s lights.

New York-based director Nat Livingston Johnson is an award-winning artist and co-founder of the directing duo Peking. He said of the clip: “Even though ‘Pigeons’ is a much bigger sounding album than their previous one, to me it still maintains a real tactile, analog quality. It still feels handmade. Old video can feel sensuous in this way too. Using a camera like this is really fun; the more you overwhelm it with light and information the less it knows how to sort it all out, and that often yields unpredictably beautiful results. We wanted it to feel like you found an old tape crammed in the corner of your attic that the former tenants left behind, and you found a means to play it.”

What’s the best promo video you’ve seen this week?