Tell us how the project came about – are you mates with the band, Klangstof? Was this their first promo?
Spotting new bands and musicians in The Netherlands is a thing I like to do. For the thrill of discovering new music but also for opportunities to create videos. Klangstof is a project started by Koen Van Der Wardt, the bass player of a bigger Dutch indie band called Moss. I already kept an eye on them. Once I heard he started a new initiative that’s more experimental, sounding a bit like Radiohead I checked it out. I went to their third concert ever, sent him a message on FB and a few days later I was writing a treatment for their first music video.
Your work balances a unique mix of ritualistic or surreal scenarios alongside iconic character compositions – what was the concept behind this promo?
Nowadays people seem to go further in showcasing themselves on so many platforms like the internet and reality series on the television. The freedom of online anonymity and the digital companionship inviting people to go beyond their own boundaries. It became a playing-field of doing weird things, a derailed society in which moral standards are becoming blurry and being pushed.
This was the main thought from where I started and which I exaggerated. I wanted to show a group of mentally disoriented characters, victims of personal obsessions trapped in their own reality. The little boy, playing an old man, imagines his wife is still there, the shaman believes he has connections from higher sources and searches for meaning, the food eating girl is in a television show thinking that this is the key to become famous. All of the characters participate in an online entertainment experience that’s serving the mass with their peculiar stories.
Tell us a little bit about the production – do you have a regular team you collaborate with for creative elements like set design / casting / styling?
Actually no, the project started with a very limited budget so I had to work hard to make people enthusiastic to join in. Luckily the team that I ended up with believed the concept and found it great to work on. Together with Mr.Frank, the production company, we divided production tasks. They took care of the casting, schedule, gear and gave great support with fine-tuning the script. I arranged an art director, stylist and dop, which were all new people I collaborated with! It was just an amazing gift that everything fell in place during the shoot right on time.
You also do a lot of the online / CGI / VFX work yourself right? What is it about that holistic approach to crafting your films that appeals to you? How integral is it to executing your creative vision on projects?
My background lays in vfx and motion design so I’m quite used to execute productions myself. Currently it’s not a must to do the hardcore CGI anymore because I found a way to communicate with post production parties by creating animatics (rough timing previews), style frames etc. Still a lot of the time it comes in handy to do some tests before shooting. Then it’s easy if I can record something around my studio and see if I can make it work in the computer. But with this low budget video it was the only option to realise it, investing my own hours being a slave of my ambitious plans! I had support from Dutch posthouse The Outpost though on the shots in ‘The White Room’.
Where do you get your creative inspiration from? Film? Music? Art?
For this video in particular it comes from our internet culture and the entertainment industry. The big brother concepts and crazy Japanese television shows. Have you seen the latest viral where two people are blowing a cockroach through a pipe? The one that blows the hardest wins, the other swallows the bug. There’s so much insane stuff going on!
Jonathan Glazer’s music videos and films are an ongoing inspiration, have to confess that his work for Massive Attack was a true firestarter.
Besides I like the books from neurologist Oliver Sacks where he describes his patients suffering weird brain diseases. For example a man that doesn’t remember faces and pretends he knows you to hide this shortcoming. That area where our brain lacks and people start to experience ‘reality’ different I find very interesting.
Director: Menno Fokma
Dop: Justin Bodenkamp
Art Direction: Klaas Wijnberg
Set Dresser: Vivianne De Graaf
Set Builder: Kjell Van Norel
Styling: Inge De Lange
Make-Up Artist: Alina Stefan
Gaffer: Glenn Bruijntjes
Electrician: Sam Vis
Set Photography: Petra Katanic
Catering: Ellen Evers & M.R.
Vfx: ‘White Room’ The Outpost ( Olivier Ballast / Rick Franssen / Koen De Mol )
Grading: Qianwei Tong (Captcha)
Edit & Post: Menno Fokma Studio