“The brief was to get a look together that would be vibrant and interesting enough to still look good after being distressed, dirtied, faded and covered in grime and dust – an amusing process at my studio involving all manner of saws, sandpaper, talcum powder, spray paints and even colouring crayons!” says stylist Joseph Crone about creating a stylised, but post apocalyptic wardrobe for John Grant’s new music video.
John Grant is one of the most formidable and sassy performers in music today. The creatives involved in his new video Global Warming have more than stepped up to the plate to reflect this. This team included directorial duo Casey and Ewan, stylist Joseph Crone, and set designers Seeber & Lloyd.
The first step for directors Casey & Ewan was to sit with John and properly discuss concepts, “We hung about a bit talking about nothing in particular. I think there’s a lot of crossover in our tastes. John has things he’d like to see, but in general he’s happy to hand over the conceptual reigns. He also has quite a substantial and well organised Pinterest account, so this was good to dip into on occasion” says Casey Raymond.
Once general ideas were discussed, the directors investigated John’s lyrics to find inspiration for the project. Casey explained that: “Thematically it’s quite literal, an end of the world scenario, with John as the last man on Earth, just pottering about with not much to do, still trying to keep himself well groomed, making tea from the sweat collected in his socks…”. The song itself also discusses self obsessed attributes, a key influence for John’s character within the video, “a bit like the last hipster on earth, trimming his beard, collecting cactuses and portable DVD players.”
These characteristics gave stylist Joseph Crone a lot of material to work with. A key point was that John felt comfortable and looked like his natural self. However, in addition to this Joseph had to build the illusion that this was the character’s last day on earth with complete free reign to get his hands on whatever he wanted. John and Joseph came to the decision together, Joseph explaining, “there is rarely any pussyfooting around with John Grant, he speaks his mind and we move fast, focussing on what really works in terms of garments, styles or fits, and getting looks together that express his character and attitude.”
The haunting set was built by Seeber & Lloyd, briefed “to set John in an apocalyptic landscape, with trash piles and surreal bric-a-brac of his treasured last possessions.” The mass of clutter featured in the video was sourced from a range of locations, the pair putting no limits on what they wanted and where they could find it. To achieve the level of authenticity shown, artistic director Eleri Lloyd explained that they “hunted through charity shops, recycle centres and took a few trips out to the skip. There was a tractor tire we found in a rugby field near our workshop, some local kids had pushed it there. The giant dice and merry-go-round horse were borrowed from the Welsh National Opera store. We had lots of surreal fruit china teapots and retro household items, even a shopping trolley from the recycle centre!”
Post shoot, the results were passed back to Casey & Ewan who had the great task of creating a world that crumbles around John. It’s fair to say they fully achieved their aim, which was to reach the “aesthetic level of reality, non-reality and hyper-reality you get on airbrushed 70s artwork and painted backdrops used in pre-cgi films”.
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