The video is an unsettling watch from the beginning. What sparked the initial idea and how far were you given free rein by the band to develop the concept creatively?
My Executive Producer at Object & Animal, Dom Thomas, sent me the song and there was no brief whatsoever. We only had a couple of days to deliver a concept so I just started writing everything that came to mind. I initially had three different ideas that I presented to Scott Wright at XL recordings where we decided that this idea would fit the song the most. Usually I’ll just think of different scenes and scenarios that I find interesting and then try to build a story around that. With this one it started with the scene of the suits being dropped off by a truck in a business district and then I worked my way backwards from there.
The narrative feels very timely, given how the government and some businesses are effectively forcing employees back into the office after working from home and enjoying a slower pace of life/connection to nature during lockdown. It feels like we’re being dragged back into a corporate environment that we’re no longer equipped to deal with. What messages were you aimimg to convey in the video?
Haha I mean that’s a pretty good take. Personally I like to keep it as open as possible for the viewers to interpret for themselves. First of all I wrote it because I found the concept funny and visually compelling. I think that’s what the band liked about it as well. I like videos where the concept is easy to understand yet the meaning behind it is open for interpretation.
The moody colour palette and brooding aesthetic are quite David Fincher-esque, did you draw on any particular filmic influences?
It’s funny with inspiration. When you say David Fincher-esque I can clearly see the similarities, but I must honestly admit that I don’t really have any relationship to Fincher. My biggest source of inspiration aesthetically is (and has been for the last 15 years) Jonathan Glazer. So I guess this is me trying to put on my Glazer-pants.
The contrast between the verdant countryside and the cityscape is striking – where did you shoot? Tell us a bit about the production process and how the shoot came together. Were there any specific challenges?
We only had two shooting days. One in a farm an hour outside London and one in the business district in The City Of London. It was also shot during the summer break in the UK so finding cast and crew was quite challenging. Once we had everything sorted out the shoot went pretty smoothly.
Even though I only had the morning of the first shooting day to explain what we were doing to the actors, they all did an amazing job.
Actually I only really explained what we were doing to the farmers and one of the suits (the one with glasses) and as we filmed the first shot of him running away, all the actors were watching and sort of picked it up from there.
How far did this video push your film craft in a new or different direction?
It’s a tricky question as I don’t really reflect much on my craft as a filmmaker, but being surrounded by immensely talented and competent people I have come to realise that the best thing I can do is try to be an unfiltered version of myself. That being said, my Norwegian upbringing has given me very firm and polite boundaries to what I can ask of other people.
What’s your favourite part of the finished film?
I honestly think it’s just the fact that we managed to do it.
What are you working on at the moment?
Long story short: An ad here in Oslo.
Interview by Selena Schleh
Object & Animal website