What was behind the band, Leisure, and your decision to combine two tracks into one mega music video?
The concept for the video was inspired and drawn from an experience the band told me about at the inception of the song. Leisure were playing a gig on an island, and after the show they decided to have a writing session at the house until the early hours of the morning. As the sun rose that morning, the epic landscape around them was revealed as they wrote the track ‘Take You Higher’. That scenery had a huge impact on them at that moment in time and the song felt intrinsically connected to that experience. I interpreted the lyrics on a spectrum; getting higher could be a substance high, an experience high, a high you can feel emotionally. I explored this idea by transporting our protagonist through different landscapes; elevating his current state.
‘Mesmerised’ was all about the feeling the track gave me when I listened to it. The song makes your mind drift away from reality. I felt like the video needed to visually recreate the feeling the music had, so I designed long simple shots that slowly revealed the world; exposing subtle details of the landscape and small mannerisms in the protagonist’s performance. Because the shots are so long and simple you start to focus on small details, you absorb the surroundings, listen to subtle sounds and drift away. I always felt like the two songs were connected so merging them together to create a single film was instinctual for me.
Was it a joint effort with Leisure to write the narrative? Please tell us about the creative process.
I have worked with Leisure in the past, so we have a bond and trust between us. I feel like their creative process with making videos is very similar to their music; It’s super simple and minimalistic. The videos I have made them so far may sometimes seem complex but conceptually they are very simple. The band tend to be ambiguous with their briefs to me; not revealing too much information (I think to avoid influencing me conceptually). They give me something super simple, either an idea, emotion or mood and I use that starting point to inspire my ideas. The concept of this film was my brainchild but it stemmed originally from the band. In the writing phase of these tracks, the music was created in areas connected to natural landscapes. Aesthetically I wanted to base the visuals on nature and explore how a person could metaphysically transport themselves.
Stunning New Zealand landscapes – the NZ Tourism Board must be delighted but was it a production nightmare getting that footage?
There was a huge amount of planning leading up to the shoot because of the sheer volume of locations. We spent a week scouting all the locations before the shoot then creating a mood-board from the scout imagery to see how all these locations would connect to each other in a story. The next step was to breakdown those locations into a realistic shooting schedule and orient our action around the path of the sun. It was actually a perfect time to film this video because New Zealand has closed boarders to foreigners, so locations that usually are full of tourists were empty for us to play.
Our biggest battle was time; every day we would be running to locations getting in the last shots before the sun disappeared behind the mountains. Some locations were a five hour travel time, basically taking up an entire day for a single scene, but in the end it was worth it for those special landscapes.
Jason Bock website
• NZ @flyingfishfilms
• UK @prettybirdpic
• France @henry.tv
• AUS @division.global
Director: Jason Bock
Producer: Blaine Stevenson
DOP: Ziga Zupancic
Executive Producer: James Moore
Actor: Dahnu Graham
1st AC: Kirsten Green & Raj Patel
Drone: Simon Murtagh
Runner: Sasha McEwen
Location Scout: Daz Caulton
Sun seeker: Jenna Smith
Sound: Brendon Morrow
Post Production: Mandy VFX
Colour: Ferg Rotherham
Flame Artist: Anita Ward
Flame Assistant: Louie Ward
Production Company: Fish&Clips
Manager: Amy Goldsmith
Special thanks: Panavision, Department of Conservation, Heli Glenorchy, Queenstown Camera, Liquid Studios.