Crack Stevens, aka Akinola Davies, has directed the video for London duo Franc Moody’s new single Super Star Struck, animated by Mason London. Representing a new discipline for the director as he experiments with animation for the first time, the video follows an angelic super hero protagonist, “a working black mother, performing socialist miracles for the people of London while carrying her child on her back!” explains Akinola. “To be honest the whole idea came from how I see my sister with my nephew, she and my mum are my biggest heroes.”
The video follows its star, draped in white and gold, flying over the city as the scenery – cafes, tower blocks, cars, and Battersea Power Station included – pulsate to the beat of the song. Meanwhile a group of awestruck fans pop up in the background, mouths agape. “I love when music videos sync really tightly with the music behind them,” says Mason London, real name Joe Prytherch. “I wanted to try and make every movement in the video move in time to the song. I was inspired by those old Looney Tune and Disney cartoons where inanimate objects move and dance. It feels like everything in the scene is infected with the music.”
Existing on a parallel tangent to his fashion film work for the likes of Kenzo, the animation is something Akinola always wanted to explore. “I’m obsessed with all areas of moving image. Left to me, I’d come up with cartoon ideas all day, or work for Pixar or something. The song is optimistic sounding and bold, and I wanted to work with Joe as soon as I saw his work, so the timing was perfect. I hollered at him on Instagram, told him I had a batshit crazy idea and luckily he was into it.”
Joe drew stills in Illustrator before animating in Adobe Animate and After Effects. “It’s more cartoony than illustrations I normally do,” he says, “but I really felt that suited the playful chugging rhythm of the song. My favourite bits were the closely synced details, like the feet walking and the factory spitting out smoke in time to that great repeating guitar riff. It just feels like something clicks during those bits. Overall, it’s like a love child of some classic scripture, a super hero comic and very rough around the edges Cartoon Network.”
The band says they wanted the video to “elicit emotion and inspire thought in viewers rather than just a run-of-the-mill vehicle for a tune – and [Akinola and Joe] have visually and thematically added so many layers to it”.