What was behind your decision to create a two-track music video cum short film – did the lyrics lend itself to a longer format?
It all started in Ferran Palau’s concert, one of the most special concerts I have ever seen, very emotional. After that concert I really wanted to do something with him. Paradoxically Ferran found me after the concert and told me “Let’s do something together”. It was a match.
The very first time I talked with Ferran about the video, in his house, we decided to be free on the format, it didn’t have to be a music video, it could be whatever we wanted, and he gave me all the songs from his new album in order to choose the one or ones I liked most. This was a great starting point for a project! Total freedom.
When I started to listen to the album, I had several songs that I liked, I couldn’t decide, and I had so many ideas on the table for the script that I thought: why not take two songs and compose a global idea for both? After all, this was and is a special project.
Why did you shoot north of beyond in Sweden and what were the challenges of shooting in the freezing conditions?
I really wanted to contextualize the video in the end of the world, and I have very good friends in Stockholm, Bungard Film, so I asked them if they were up to working on it and they said YES! So we started to plan the shooting in Stockholm. The problem is that this winter has been one of the warmest winters in Sweden, and Stockholm was too warm to get snow. At this point, we started to delay the shooting dates waiting for the snow, but at some point we accepted the fact that it was not going to snow in Stockholm this year. Global warming is an evidence and we had a moment of crisis, until we decided to go in search of the snow up north. We decided to go to Luleå and Kalix with a small team, where the sea is frozen and there is guaranteed snow.
It was very challenging, as we reached -15ºC while we were shooting on the street. Some of the gear we had was not suitable for such low temperatures, so they didn’t work during the shoot. It was also very hard for the talent. The dancer, Anton Borgström, had to dance for many hours under these extreme conditions. It was very harsh but we kept strong and all we have now are great memories of the shoot.
Was the production affected by the lockdown?
No and yes. We weren’t aware that the lockdown would reach us when we went up north. The lockdown in Spain started in the middle of the shoot days, but the pandemic still wasn’t affecting the area where we were so we were luckily far from the covid reality while other countries were starting to suffer. The problem came after the shoot, when flights to get back home (Barcelona) began to get cancelled. I was lucky as I managed to get the last flight back home before all flights were completely cancelled.
The editing with Georg Bungard and the post production process with Eighty4 were done during the lockdown. It was not as easy as I thought at first. For me, and I believe for all directors, it is essential to be in the studio in person, to see the screen and be able to talk and try things. The internet connection didn’t help much so everything was a little clumsy, but we managed!
You’ve headed in a different tack to your usual mathematically worked out choreographed pieces, in this, er, more straightforward narrative. Is this because it’s a personal project and you’re exploring other styles?
Definitely. I don’t like to work around the same type of videos all the time, it is important to evolve. At this stage the stories that come to my head are changing to another type of narrative and I test myself. This video was the perfect project to explore a new story and style because no one was behind me or my decisions. That allowed me to open up my mind more and try new things.
The narrative is intriguing – how did it come about and please do tell us about the symbolism of the burning bird.
The idea of the burning bird comes from the myth of the Phoenix:
When the bird realizes it’s getting old, it builds itself a nest, catches fire from the sun’s rays, and burns to ashes. From the ashes, a new, young bird rises. In this way, the phoenix is reborn over and over throughout eternity. “In the same way, you, O man, with your old clothes and dim eyes, should seek the spiritual spring of the Lord.” Royal Bestiary, 12th Century
This story was very inspiring. I had the idea of the burning bird and the concept of going to the end of the world to be reborn. I started to imagine and think about how this place representing the end of the world would be like and who would be in this place. That’s why I did these three analogies of the Phoenix (through the characters) that show us the contradiction between ice and fire, beginning and end, light and darkness.
Did you have a clear idea of what you wanted to achieve before you began the shoot or did it evolve considerably as you went along?
Actually I had the full idea before we began to shoot, I’m very methodical and I need to know that everything makes sense in my head before starting the project. Obviously when you start the process or even when you are shooting, as you become more involved in the narrative, you find new elements that nurture the story.
What are you up to now?
Right now I have some new projects on the table, but nothing I can advance at this moment.
Director: Pablo Maestres
Produced by: Bungard Film, Primo & Eighty4
Record label: Hidden Track Records in collaboration with Primavera Labels
DOP: Marc Miró AD: Mia P. Salazar
Producer Bungard Film: Georg Bungard Producer Ejecutiva: Inés Segura Producer Primo: Inés Massa
Production Director: Julia Estruga
Focus Puller: Laura Fernández
Casting: Anton Borgström, Tove Näsström, Ferran Palau
Director of Production Service: Bo Johan Sörensen
Location Manager and Production Service in Sweden: Ingrid Fridesjö, Maya Umar, Blamorama Productions
Drone: Oscar Byström
Coreography: Guille Vidal-Ribas
Colour: Marc Morató (Metropolitana)
Stylism: Rocio Garrido Rus, Beatrice Trodden Music Editor: Jordi Matas
Sound Design: Ana López