It’s not often you get a music video crediting three different directors but judging by David Wilson, John Malcolm Moore and Keaton Henson’s latest work it might become a little more regular if the results are anything to go by. The video, Charon for Keaton’s latest release is out today and we caught up with the three of them to find out more…
Hello David, John and Keaton, the music video’s co-directed by all three of you. How did that come about?
Keaton Henson: Well, me and John have been working together on my music videos for a while now, and I’d always had this idea in the back of my mind. I introduced John to David while working on The Japanese Popstars “Let Go” music video and after a while thought I’d mention the project him.
David Wilson: Keaton had a very clear idea in his head of what he wanted to achieve, but he wasn’t quite sure how to achieve it. I initially met up with the both John and Keaton to just discuss the practicality of the project and see how I could help. Our creative input just spiralled that day into a project that completely consumed us all. We managed to create the animatic for the piece within an afternoon; it just seemed to flow out of us, and that’s when we decided we needed to make this piece as a three-person team.
John Malcom Moore: Me and Keaton initially talked to David just to ask for some advice about how to get the project up and running properly, so when he came back to us and wanted to be involved it was such a great moment and got us really excited for the project.
The star of the video (a puppet) is great! Where did you find him?
DW: The puppet was made by Jonny Sabbagh. I’ve known Jonny for ages via Blinkink, the production company I’m signed with. His work’s amazing. He’s spent the past decade churning out iconic puppets, from the Volvic Volcano, and Lily Allen’s little brother Alfie, to an army of Cadbury Chocolate Fingers. For me, there was no one else that could have done the Keaton puppet justice – it had to be him! Not only did he agree to it, he also managed to churn out our puppet in only two days! The complexity and detail of the puppet’s outstanding, from the tailor-made shirt, to the individually controllable eyebrows!
KH: It’s incredible and the key to the videos tone and quality. It was amazing how much we all began to treat him like another crew member, the second he came out of his bag on set he was immediately treated like the talent and fussed over.
What was the hardest part of production?
DW: This was my first project both producing and directing for a good few years, so, for me the sheer organisational aspect was pretty full on, especially for a two day shoot! I’d say the hardest part of the shoot was getting to the locations. Day 1 involved lugging equipment by hand into the middle of the woodland, with the temperature being approximately -1ºC, and then day 2 involved lugging the same equipment up 4 flights of stairs to the interior location! We definitely earned our bacon sarnies those days!
JMM: The two shoot days were definitely pretty full on. Doing all the puppeteering in that freezing weather whilst wearing a blue screen suit was pretty gruelling. But seeing the results we were getting was so worth it.
Keaton, you’re both a musician and an artist, how did your art affect this video?
KH: Its crazy, just watching the finished product we all agreed that even if subconsciously, the video looks and feels as if you’ve just stepped into one of my drawings, it shares a lot of the themes of my work (the forests, melancholy and death) as well as having the lead character rendered in my illustration style, but even just the muted colours and angles feel like one of my drawings. It felt like the next logical step from the drawn collaboration with David for the “Let Go” video, into blending our skills to a story in a 3D settings.
Also, was it hard working on the video as a co-director when you wrote the song?
KH: I think its important for me to have a say in most creative decisions regarding my music, the songs are so entirely personal that the idea of handing them over to someone else entirely would bother me. I think once we’d made the decision to make it and started work, I kind of had to separate myself and pretend it was someone else’s song, otherwise I would’ve turned into nightmare client and over analysed every decision.
How does the video relate to the song?
KH: Well the song is about two things, loneliness, and eventually, death, so we felt it was important to explore both narratives without making anything too self indulgent (hence replacing me with a somewhat cuddlier puppet version). There is a shot where the characters documents are all neatly laid out, and if you look closely there is a suicide note which essentially consists of the songs lyrics which is how I think of the song in the video really, its his parting words to the world, or perhaps the person who made him feel this way.