The latest music video for My Best Fiend, Cracking Eggs, brilliantly choreographs curious mini-performances with everyday materials in a totally non-cringe and experimental way. Behind the curiousness is one of our favourite photographers, Jeremy Liebman, who has more than an eye for the immediate and so it’s always interesting to see him working with such premeditated aesthetics. And he has been working closely with French creative duo JSBJ, Aurelien Arbet and Jeremie Egry, to realise this strange and super engaging few minutes in which actual smoke and mirrors are used to excellent effect. We caught up with Jeremy to hear a little more about play and fruitful collaboration.
Hi Jeremy, how did the collaboration with the JSJB guys come about and what was the concept behind this music video?
Aurelien and I have worked together (along with Jeremie Egry, who also worked on the art direction for the video from Paris) on lookbooks and videos for Hixsept for about three years. I’ve always enjoyed collaborating with him, so asked him to work on the project with me.
The concept grew from an initial conversation I had with the band where I pitched a completely abstract video – essentially, coloured light on a set. The band wanted a person to be involved, but they didn’t want to be in the video themselves. They liked the Probleme & Crepuscule video that I had done for Hixsept, so I started playing around with the idea of a figure in this non-specific dream-like space, which led me to a flat theatrical/silent film treatment which informed both the production design and the movements of the character, played by Cody Chandler.
I wanted a silent, pantomime style that would add to the artifice of the whole production, so I asked Cody to watch Kenneth Anger’s Rabbit’s Moon and Oskar Schlemmer’s Triadic Ballet. I have an old book of Japanese stage and TV set design from the 1970’s that we looked at a lot to design the set, which Ian Savage of WARS built on a shoestring budget.
What can you tell us about the experimentation process with visual effects that you must’ve gone through?
I had to edit pretty quickly, so I didn’t experiment all that much. Aurelien and Jeremie created the borders that are used throughout, and the rest just sort of came about through trial and error. I didn’t want a story to come into play at any point, so I thought it was important to break up that impulse to make narrative sense of what’s happening on screen by short-circuiting the video with graphics.
How does the staging of a music video compare to the happenstance element that we’re familiar with in your photography work?
We had to do a lot of careful planning in advance, but once we got on set it was very loose and I encouraged Cody to improvise a lot. It was definitely more controlled than most of my personal photography, but there was still a big element of chance and I think it ties in to some of my more recent work with its awareness of the mechanics of sight & vision rather than captured moments or happenstance.