Bedroom – such a good name – is there any special relevance to who you are? Bedroom HQ perhaps?
The name bedroom came from the simple idea that everything we have made so far in our lives was created within the walls of our bedrooms. Amir and I (Soren) spend long days working on the desk in my bedroom, surrounded by unhealthy amounts of movie posters. We wanted to keep the essence of that alive with all things we make, hence crediting all our work as ‘A bedroom PROJECT’.
In fact, who are you??! How did you hook up and start making films together?
Bedroom is made up of Soren Harrison and Amir Hossain, we met in a secondary school in West London and within weeks were making short films together. Every weekend we would make a film, whether it was a zombie movie or a skateboarding montage, or a combination of the two – and enter them into competitions. Since then we have worked on a series of projects, including illustration, moving image and photography.
Please tell us about your collaboration with Beabadoobee and how the creative process works between you?
Bea and Soren have been a couple for over three years, and we were making stuff for her before anything got serious. Her first video, Susie May, was just a fun Super 8 experiment with our friends and months later, when she had signed to Dirty Hit, it felt natural for us to make the next video with her.
The ideas are extremely collaborative, brainstormed in a bedroom and somehow we are given enough trust and support to bring them to reality. Each video has been very personal to us, we’ve seen the songs grow from first drafts on Bea’s guitar to fully formed pieces – and the visuals just emerge from whatever style Bea is going for next.
How do the creative dynamics work between you two? Are you both usually in synch with each other’s ideas or do you have different skill sets?
With our moving image projects, the process has been the same since we were 13 years old, relying on a ridiculous level of pre-production detail. Once we have a rough idea, which usually blossoms from long discussions at the back of a Costa cafe, we break it down into our shot list and storyboard every frame.
These storyboards are then photographed and edited in time with the song, bringing the video to life before it’s begun shooting. Our biggest fear is going into a shoot blind, so everything is meticulously planned between us. Our different skill sets lend a hand in each stage of production, with Amir’s love of photography shining through in his focus on the camera, while I (Soren) make sure whoever’s on camera is all good.
What were the most challenging aspects of the production – assuming the three videos were shot together?
We are lucky enough to work alongside a team of professional and experienced people who know exactly what they are doing, in an industry that could not be more daunting. Only recently have we been able to put aside our jobs as freelance dishwashers slash unpaid runners and are still getting used to not saying ‘thank you’ to our crew every second on set.
Our main challenges, of which are countless, are all part of the learning experience we have faced since things picked up. Our recent trilogy of Beabadoobee videos has taught us more than any film course could, and the more things we make, the closer we are to telling our parents that this ‘gap year’ has no foreseeable end date.
Apart from directing do either of you get involved in the technical side, such as editing or building sets…?
Every part of the project is something we like to be heavily involved in, always maintaining the DIY approach that we have grown up with. We edit everything ourselves, working off a large table tennis table in Soren’s room, on which we also do all our animation work – something that we are still learning about with every new video.
Inspiration is particularly important to us, especially during the late nights editing, and for the recent videos, we’ve had everyone from Kubrick to a bloodstained Robert De Niro looking down at us from the printed photos blue-tacked above our computer. They keep us going.
Do either of you appear in the three videos for Beabadoobee?
Being so close to Bea and the world she has built through her art, we are often closely attached through the videos we collaborate on. In Dance With Me, the music video documents the process of how she made the song, starting with her scribbling lyrics in her room, then recording them in the studio, and finally capturing the behind the scenes of the song becoming its own music video – including us appearing behind the camera directing her.
Amongst her fans, we are recognized as the people that make her visuals, so it again just felt natural to capture that as a nod to the people who have followed her journey from an early stage.
In the next video, If You Want To, Soren’s grandfather – a big fan of Bea – played the sinister doctor, and his dad and brother made up the sound department. The core of family and friends involved in our projects keeps everything very intimate and personal, and we are privileged to work alongside our fantastic producer Joseph on each project.
Now that you’re working with COMPULSORY will you be focusing on music videos or are you hoping to shoot other genres too?
The reason we got into this was to one day make a feature film, to write a ‘real’ script and turn it into a ‘real’ film like our idols. We like to think of these music videos as practise, and we can’t avoid throwing in our love for cinema – pushing narrative ideas as opposed to performances. COMPULSORY gave us a chance when we had nothing to show and they have genuinely given us a sense of hope and inspiration that you can actually make the things you always dreamt of if you stay true to yourself and keep on trying.
Beabadoobee, If You Want To
|Producer: Joseph J Goldman|
|Production company: COMPULSORY|
|Executive producer: Kiran Mandia|
|Director of photography: Pieter Synman|
|Focus puller: Kit Sullivan|
|2nd AC: Connor Hall|
|Gaffer: James Duffy|
|Art director: Charlotte Buchan|
|Colourist: Megan Lee|
|Grading company: The Mill|
|Commissioner: Jon Moore
Production Assistant: Ellis Fox
Art Dept Assistants: Penelope, Katja Eastwood, Matt, Jesse Crankson