Directors Geremy Jasper and Georgie Greville have just released their latest psychedelic escape from reality, the music video for Peaking Lights’ latest single Beautiful Son. Milk Made’s Kalvin Lazarte met up with Geremy to discuss the origins and meanings behind the videos dream like imagery.
MM: In the video, there are a lot of expansive settings like the desert, the sky, & outer space. Can you explain where this idea was born from and how it ties into the story of a young couple raising a child? Do these settings play back to the idea of the infinite loop that lives in the video?
GJ: Most of the imagery was inspired directly from listening to the song which describes young parenthood in a very hallucinatory, dreamlike way. The lyrics talk about “blueberry eyes”, “floating fish”, “space and time,” “stars, sky, sunshine”. Natural stuff that needed to float and fold into itself like a psychedelic family portrait..
I had wanted to make a video using a lot of these cosmic collage elements for a while now and when we met Aaron from the band the only thing he showed us was this amazing 70‘s album cover by Bohannon which fit exactly with what I was thinking. We just said YES! Seeing eye to eye.
MM: Missing eyes or floating eyes drift in and out of the scenes. Can you give us a little insight into the significance of the symbol?
GJ: Hmmmm. There’s a mystical quality to floating eyes linked to the occult, magic and they’re even our dollar bills. The song is so much about seeing and watching and we’re always looking for new ways to deconstruct the human face. They naturally just became a part of the world.
MM: Throughout many of Legs’ videos, images of greek statues, marble busts (Selena Gomez & the Scene, “Love You Like A Love Song”) and Roman Columns (Rye Rye, “Boom Boom”) reoccur. There are no coincidences, so where does the attachment to these marble works of art come from?
GJ: Statues make everything better. They add some class to any scene. Something about white marble bodies especially when they’re nude and armless, just strike a deep nerve….. There’s something so strange and classic about them. They’re littered in our favorite stuff too: Giorgio de Chirico, Clash of the Titans, Monty Python, Twin Peaks.
MM: When developing such a dreamy, hallucinatory concept such as this one, do you see a beginning, middle and end for the video as you begin to write your treatments, or does the video come together organically during the writing process? Does any new imagery get added after shooting has wrapped and you begin the editing process? (maybe I am asking for too much of your secret recipe).
GJ: This was the first video we’ve done that we didn’t write a treatment and there was absolutely no narrative structure when we went into it - which is very different from our usual approach. I just knew it was going to be a cosmic collage and I did some preliminary sketches and boards before we shot. I really wanted to get a breastfeeding performance but it never happened.
With these loose visual ideas we tried to get as much material as possible while shooting Indra, Aaron and Mikko on a very small and chaotic green screen. Naively we thought a 1 year old would be a piece of cake to shoot, sit calm and do what we asked but he went rogue on us and was crawling all over the place. That dictated the use of stills and gif like loops in the edit because we had such small clips of him. It actually worked out great.
The piece really came together after the shoot when I was able to start designing and experimenting with weird worlds and compositions. I have a collage art background so I was really in my element. Big shout out to our brilliant animator and collaborator Gustavo Torres who really brought so much to the video.
MM: Baby heads with wings? What!?
GJ: That was a little nod to early Christian art that depicted angels as just baby heads with wings. No bodies.
MM: Aaron and Indra (the members of Peaking Lights) are a creative married duo that build off each other by creating beautiful music. You and Georgie are a creative husband and wife team yourselves; how has your relationship helped to shape the more and more distinct look of your videos?’’
GJ: Good question. They say that every great creative partnership is like a marriage so we decided to do it for real. Making stuff together for almost 5 years now has created this psychological Siamese bond between Georgie and myself where our life, work, and nervous systems are mixed into one great walking organism. Would and could not do it with out her.
On this video I had Georgie’s support to just run with it and get as crazy as I could imagine….It’s always great to be side by side with someone who will throw a punch for you.
MM: What was it like to work with Aaron and Indra?
GJ: They’re really amazing people and were so cool and open about the whole experience. It was like working with good friends - a great 10 hour double date, chroma key picnic. And they’re son Mikko is a really special little human…. he’s going to be one cool kid.
It was so laid back and such a relief from some of the major label politics and bureaucracy that we’ve had to deal with in the past. They were open to any idea and just fun and trusting.
MM: You’ve worked with both puppets and CGI… which do you like better? Which do you like better when you are watching Star Wars?
They’ve both got their pros and cons and we’re always trying to find the right balance. In a perfect world I would have loved to have animated this video with paper cutouts but that takes a massive amount of time we didn’t have. The computer is such a great tool for experimentation but you’ve got to make sure the shit doesn’t look like Avatar or some slick junk when it comes out the other side. This video actually went through 3 weeks of trial and error until we got the visual vibe right.
As for Star Wars - puppets always win. CGI Jabba the Hut and Yoda break my heart.
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