It’s a sunny Wednesday afternoon as I write this and, as usual, I’m on a train. However the world racing past the window feels slightly further away than usual because yesterday we clocked up a twenty-hour day shooting a video for a brilliant Irish band called The Immediate.
Preparation for Hallo Panda has been arduous and so it was a joy to get back to working on the smaller scale that Chris and I are used to. Chris planned the video in broad strokes but by the time we were on set nothing much was locked down. With a small and flexible crew and a band who were brilliantly trusting and willing to go the extra mile for us, we just sort of plugged in and pushed off.
Of course it helped that this is one of Chris’ gems. One of his moments when the idea that the music puts in his head so perfectly captures what the band were thinking that even watching the stuff on the monitor you find a broad grin spreading across your face. Also we’ve been getting a load of grief recently from promo labels who say our work is too narrative and so this was a definite chance to cut loose and just make pretty – a much needed creative playtime before the harder graft of the Panda kicks in.
Not that a twenty hour session which ended with pretty much everyone and everything covered in black emulsion wasn’t hard graft but it was nice to be free to just make it up as we went along. For me it’s also nice to watch Chris on form. After they’ve asked if we’re really brothers the next question people always pull out is “so who does what then?”, to which we always reply with the truth, we both do everything. This is true but if we didn’t both have strengths there’d be no reason to work together and there is a visual freedom and manic intensity to a music video that really show Chris off at his best.
By the end of the night we’d built a huge bed out of staging and some sheets that Chris had sewn together the night before and he was roaming between the sheets like a rogue elephant menacing the band with a bagged up varicam whilst Zee and me hurled paint at him. Comic but, with the music and the billowing bed sheets glowing under the lamps, also both deranged and moving. I kept catching eyes with Zee or Alex or one of the band who were yet to endure elephant attack and we couldn’t help but burst out laughing.
Afterwards, after we’d washed the band and packed up all the staging, and also rescued one of our dodgems from storage, Alex said “It’s funny, Chris never really sees quite how bizarre it all it is.” This is probably true but only because he’s the one in the middle of it, for him it’s not bizarre – that’s what’s in his head.