We like to distract ourselves. We are good at it. Often looking away from the things right in front of us in order to just…
Of course we love to produce and create. Anything to remind us that we are good at what we do – or that we have something to say – perhaps just a brief detour from reality.
One of my very close friends Johannes Greve Muskat was an up-and-coming director going into 2019. He and I had spent a lot of time speaking about the projects we wanted to create – what inspired us – searching for something, even just slightly, different. This piece included.
Bendik Baksaas, the composer behind the album, and I had conversations dating back to 2013 about the idea of collaboration. But it wasn’t until I heard the first excerpts from the album Til alt Ute that I called Johannes and said we had to come up with something for it. It’s an album narrated through the spoken word poetry of Fredrik Høyer, talking about the younger generations view on the future; about apathy, eco-sorrow, about hope and the lack of hope, about being an individual in a large and shifting society. Perhaps most importantly free speech and the importance of expressing yourself. Talking about what is most difficult to talk about.
Johannes and I deeply connected with the album, yet found the Tortusa Remix of Elegi over Avicii to have something special. Not only conveying something thematically so poignant and important, but also containing this empty feeling of being stuck in a void of the past. Fredrik had expressed that the track was an attempt at describing a sort of zeitgeist in the time following Avicii’s suicide in 2017. The Swedish electronica artist was an extremely popular figure, yet one who clearly struggled with depression and loneliness. The lyrics, as Fredrik describes it, depict the vacuum that is left after an incident like this, a sort of grief most don’t talk about before life just continues. Becoming an image of a generation experiencing a collective loss and sorrow connected to a world of immense challenges and lost opportunities.
More importantly, after multiple conversations we discovered that the lyrics were also written for a specific stretch of road between Skjærhalden and Fredrikstad, just outside of Oslo, Norway. A road Fredrik travelled multiple times when he was dealing with the passing of one of his own closest friends. Conceptually the idea of time and what affects and shapes us as we move along this path was very interesting to us. Change usually occurs quite slowly, and over longer periods of time, which makes it tricky to even notice. A significant marker is usually needed to even form a dent. And from personal experience, having witnessed close friends and friends of friends pass in untimely and unfortunate ways makes you think, reassess – and one usually ends up with emotional weight that is often difficult to express.
Johannes passed away in May of 2019, just a year past 27, two weeks before the tiny grant we had applied for to create this video was awarded to us. As if the lyrics didn’t already bear an emotional weight – they now also became a sort of hyper reality. Being aware of the fact that communication can be something of a lost art at times, appropriating these feelings or emotions into a piece like this can be a cathartic process. At least it was for me. A way to process, or perhaps just a momentary distraction…
View more work from Benjamin Loeb here
Elegi over Avicii
Directed by Benjamin Loeb
Produced by Magnus Castracane and Martin Myhre
Written by Fredrik Høyer
Photography by Håvard Byrkjeland
1st AC / Grip by Thomas Bjørnstad
Precision driving by Matijas Loeb
Edited by Benjamin Loeb
Music composed by Bendik Baksaas
Remix by Tortusa
Additional sound design by Vidar Grande
Color Grading by Sabina Tornberg
Kine Sofie Berntsen
Sarah Francesca Brænne