We all know the story of Adam and Eve right? Man is created; woman is created from his rib, they eat the forbidden fruit, la-di-da-di-da-heard-it-all-before? Well, you forgot about the part with the added dubstep!
Skream is back with a new album and a cracking video to go along with it. Directed by David Wilson who has worked with Little Boots, Moray McLaren and We Have Band, Listenin’ to the Records on my Wall documents the story of Adam and Eve’s first few moments and how the two got along when they first met. And they got on really well (he didn’t even have to try to get her knickers off!).
There were pretty cool techniques used in this video and we were lucky enough to pick the brain of one Mr David Wilson to find out what making such a beautifully delivered video was like.
Would you like to introduce yourself? Give us a little background to who you are and artists you’ve worked with in the past.
Hello, my name is David Wilson. I am a music video director and artist. I grew up in Somerset, studied in Brighton, and have been living in London for the past three years. I have worked with artists such as Little Boots, We Have Band, and Moray McLaren.
In previous work, you’ve created visual effects without using any CGI. Have you had any aid from computers this time round?
Every single component of this promo was shot for real, but we needed a little assistance from our post production guys to glue all these parts together.
Do you enjoy physically creating visual effects like you did with the Moray McLaren video? Would you encourage less use of CGI?
I wouldn’t want to impart my judgement on how anyone else makes their work, and what you can achieve in CGI is mind-bendingly realistic. However, I really enjoy the challenge of working physically. I love the aesthetic, but I also really enjoy the energy it creates on set.
To get all the crew involved in the process to create a near-end-product in camera. It gets everyone excited, and also generates a lot of ideas on set, and creates results that just wouldn’t have occurred if we were working with fictional CGI objects.
How long did it take to make the video? Were you drained at the end of it?
The development stage took a long time. I was working on an intensive commercial project at the time. So I was only able to work on this project during weekends.
However, four months later I’d created enough groundwork to start briefing the art department. A team of three art directors took four weeks to create our environment; we had one build day in the studio, three shoot days, and then a few extra days where I created some of the smaller animated shots in a small studio room in Soho.
I slept very well on the final night.
It looks like you had a big team working on the video. How many people were involved in the whole project? Was it easy working with that amount of people?
There were 25 people involved in our three main shoot days, and 14 people involved in post-production (including editors). So, it was a big team, and it needed to be.
I like to prepare a lot for my shoots. I write out written instructions, drawings, and computer generated animations of how I want every shot to look. Therefore giving people as much direction as I possibly can before the event. This makes shoot days on this scale a bit more manageable.
However, what really helped throughout this whole process was team work. We all had to have a huge amount of trust in each other to do what was best for the job. I would approve the set up for each shot before it began, but that didn’t necessarily mean I was in that particular stage whilst they shot. We had three stages shooting simultaneously, meaning that I could direct the live action elements at the same time as animated elements were being created in the room next door.
It was pretty intense.
Skream created the radio edit of the track to fit with the video which must have been a lot of help. Why did you choose his track? Or did he contact you about a video? What was it like working with him (if you did)?
His manager Sarah approached me with a demo version of the track back in November last year. It was the track that Skream was finishing his sets with at the time, and the crowd just went mental for it. We all knew it was a massive track. You don’t let these kind of opportunities slip through the net; as soon as
I heard it; I knew I had to make something happen with it.
Working with Oli (Skream) was an absolute pleasure, and I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to collaborate with him. He really liked the romantic aspect of the video, and actually worked up a vocal part for the track that works around the couple’s embrace, but we ended up loosing it after preferring rawer instrumental version.
Who, or what, would you say influences you in your line of work?
I’d say the experiences and environment around me influence my work more than anything else. I try my best to do as much reading as I can. I read the newspaper a lot, and search out little interesting life stories, but I also search a lot of blogs. I’m constantly updating folders on my computer with interesting little visual nick-nacks I find online and in magazines. I’m inspired just as much by design as I am by text and moving image work.
I’m also very open with my ideas and like to share from an early stage. When you work in something as team-orientated as a film crew it makes sense to put your idea out to other team members and create an open dialogue to achieve the best possible end result. I like to work very closely with the project’s director of photography – I think that’s a relationship that’s value should never be underestimated.
The use of strata cut looks amazing, do you hope this could set off a strata cut revival among fellow directors? What would you say is your favourite piece of work that uses strata cut?
That’s very kind of you to say, but seriously, what we achieved on Skream is nothing compared to the visionary genius of David Daniels who invented the technique back in the Eighties. I’d be very surprised if it sparks a revival. As beautiful as the end result may look, it took three people five weeks of solid work (day and night) to create and animate the 16 seconds worth of clay strata-cut we in the end result!
Having said that, the result is something that I’m extremely proud of.
Why did you choose the story of Adam and Eve for your narrative? Why not, let’s say, Moses parting the Red Sea? Or David vs. Goliath?
Unfortunately Goliath couldn’t fit in the studio.
Seeing as it is the story of Adam and Eve, will we be able to expect a NSFW version?
What can we expect from you in the near future?
Well, after a few months away from the pitching process, I’m back in the heart of the action. No music promos booked in yet, but hope it won’t remain that way for too long.
I’m also starting to make plans for a solo exhibition of my artwork. It’s some way off at the moment, but it’s an aim I’ve been having for quite some time, it’ll be a mixture of installations, projections, and printed work.
Hopefully that’ll be on its way in the not-too-distant future.