The director Greg Barth is known for his live action videos full of animated colours and crisp visual content. From adverts for MailChimp about a black hole, to surreal self-initiated films, Greg’s director’s vision is candidly punchy and rich with expressive narratives. His latest endeavour releases today and involves the music video for the up-and-coming band Easy Life. The track, titled Nightmares, debuted on Jools Holland last month and shortly after, Greg agreed to direct the music video in his personal aesthetic approach.
Speaking to It’s Nice That about the nightmarish track, Greg discusses the themes of death in the video. “I used to have dreams about being dead… actually I was still alive, but everyone around me saw me as gone”, says the director. The video reflects Greg’s dreams through the repetitive scenes featuring the zombie-like lead singer Murray, being wheeled through the halls of a hospital with a pole sticking out the top of his head.
Undeterred by the morbid themes, the video focuses on the fact that the people close to Murray actually “care less than he thought they would” while reality progressively warps to become stranger and stranger. The video’s oeuvre appropriately mirrors the lighthearted melody of Nightmares, while hints of black comedy seep through the video, which reflect the song’s sinister undertones.
Essentially, the video follows Greg’s fun vision of the protagonist Murray as a dead man in a wheelchair moving forwards endlessly down the hospital corridor. The director adds: “I liked the fact that this continuous motion makes it harder for people to genuinely interact with him or bereave properly. Also, the idea that the motion is accidentally enhancing the chaos around him is a really fun idea.”
Greg’s use of looping sequences plays into “a sort of Groundhog Day that keeps getting weirder” like an occurring nightmare further intensified by the glitchy animations from the talented James Papper. The character development of each cast member is well thought out and each personality adds to the already plentiful narrative of Nightmares. For instance, the mother’s comedic role sees her over-dramatically weeping by her nonchalant son’s side, which adds to the surreal nature of the video.
“I usually pre-plan a lot (a bit too much)”, says Greg. “I work with precise animatics so we are sure to get everything on the shoot day.” This film however, had the most intense timeframe Greg has ever worked on, forcing him to “keep things relatively simple” as shooting took place ten days after Greg was given the go-ahead to direct the video. “There was no choreography, no time for rehearsals, this was a very risky one-day shoot. But ultimately, the spontaneity of it made it feel very rewarding”, expresses Greg who finally adds that “it was an absolute thrill to see true improvisational work [come to life.]"
About the Author
Jyni joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in August 2018 after graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design degree. In March 2019 she became a staff writer and in June 2021, she was made associate editor.