The narrative is intriguing and I’m sure the viewer will have their own interpretation but it would be good to hear your version.
We don’t want to reveal too much about the narrative, it’s open to interpretation, we hope it’s a visceral experience. But we developed the idea after a series of conversations with Steve; he has very interesting ideas about his songs, and particularly with his lyrics.
Did the visual story evolve out of your response to the lyrics?
Steve explained that the song is based around the idea of the human race and how in some terms we haven’t fully evolved, haven’t realised our full potential. We have this amazing situation of consciousness and we waste it on staring at our mobile phones our whole lives. He wanted to capture the story of an outsider visiting our society and depicting how foreign it would appear to them, how it would completely perplex them. That developed into the notion of an outsider within society but somebody trying to block out the perceptual noise of everyday modern life.
What was behind your decision to shoot on 16mm film, was it aesthetics, and compared to digital were there extra challenges? Any problems in getting stock and having it processed?
The images we imagined to the song were always black and white. We love Robert Bresson and we started thinking of his films; how they explore a moral tale or story through a single character. There is a purity to black and white because it reduces details, it seemed to mirror the sentiment of the song.
We actually shot on colour 16mm and converted it, there is only one place in the whole of England that develops black and white 16mm, so colour give us more options. Adam (Farley Producer) did an amazing job at getting cheap stock and free cameras (it was very low budget video) and free lighting, he is a charming man…
Shooting on film is very real, organic it also creates a timeless feel; you can’t quite pinpoint the era, we liked that ambiguity.
Tell us about the shoot please.
It was shot in one day, David (Procter DoP) and his crew managed to capture many beautiful moments. We shot on the outskirts of London, the landscapes there have this lonely quality which fitted the atmosphere of the piece really well.
We didn’t know that the horse would be there, but when we saw him, we wrote him into a scene. He was a fine character but he kept on trying to bite David Procter, I thought it was affectionate though…
Jonny at the record label claimed we have a horse fetish because one also appears in our Wild Beasts video.
Curious about the casting…
We’ve know Barry Ward for a number of years, within the video it’s a hard role because he can’t emote because his face is covered the whole time. We’ve been developing a feature film with him recently and through that we’ve learned he is an amazing physical actor. So we knew he would create a presence that you could connect to.
We gave him a copy of Notes of the Underground, I don’t know if he had time to read it all, there were no written tests! But from that he understood the character and added his own elements, which we found really compelling and humorous. I think it’s our funniest video so far, in a strange way…
See Related Content for stills from the shoot