How did the video with the French-Cuban twin sisters Naomi and Lisa-Kainde Díaz, known as Ibeyi, come about?
Richard sent me a text one evening saying come down the studio. I went and met the girls and we all chatted and listened to the music. I was really impressed, and inspired of course.
I was worried about the girls being able to handle it so they came to my house and we did a test in the bath and they were amazing. So confident. I was still worried but the girls said that they wanted to do it.
Simple, stunning, and completely resonant with the lyrics of River. What was the process of getting to the point when you knew filming the duo singing semi-submerged was the right solution? What were the other ideas you shelved?
It was the first idea I had. I listened to the music and visualised it. It worked so well with the alternating and shared singing parts. I went back to them without a treatment or anything and just explained it. They got it instantly and loved it. I did share another idea but they loved the challenge of this.
Did you experiment extensively before deciding on filming them overhead like this?
No like I say, a quick test in the bath. I knew I had to have my shit together on the day though. You can’t expect to get more than a few takes out of anyone doing that.
Is it really one-shot? No no, it couldn’t be. Is there clever editing involved and how did you shoot it so seamlessly?
It’s one shot, but there are lots of clever bits done to cover up a few bits here and there by the very clever editor Max at stitch. And then a guy called Ludo helped magic it all to perfection.
What were the major challenges of the production?
The major challenge was and always is the writing. I wanted something visually simple but as compelling as it could possibly be. So many promos you get to about 1.40 and just switch off, they’re like screen savers. I didn’t want to overshadow the girls either or the music but I wanted something strong and iconic, something that wouldn’t get in the way of them and wouldn’t date. So many promos just use the technical trick of the month, or the latest look. Six months down the line it’s a ball and chain.