When Daylight Curfew approached me to helm a music video for Cassettes Won’t Listen, I was immediately enticed by the idea of working with an up-and-coming musician on a promising new collective. Once I was granted full creative control with freedom to explore whatever ideas I desired, it became a no-brainer.
The challenge quickly became trying to pull off one of my lofty ideas within a very limited budget. The buzzing synth inspired the idea of using inexpensive bug zappers, which served double-duty as both the perfect aesthetic theme and an ideal solution to the financial constraints.
ROLE: Writer / Director / Set Designer / Editor
The soft opening of the track begins as we watch a common housefly twitching and writhing on its’ back clinging to the final moments of life. Shot through a macro lens at 12 frames per second, the microscopic details and sped up frame-rate visually emulate the haunting sound. The fuzzy synth kicks in and we pull out to an indefinable black space in which CWL performs. Hanging from the ceiling in an organic, abstract manner is a sea of bug zappers which turn on and off, flickering perfectly in sync with the beat (see reference images; page 2). A flurry of sparks ignited by the demise of what must be hundreds of insects surrounds each light. The neon blue/ green glow from the bug zappers eerily illuminate CWL as he moves throughout the space playing a synthesizer, drum machine, and all other instruments heard on the track (TBD). He walks between the bug zappers as if maneuvering his way through a bizarre obstacle course of hanging lanterns. The video for Runtime will use these bug zappers as a jumping off point for the overall aesthetic theme of the video. Everything will have a blue/green glow to it as we blur the line between a deranged science lab and neon dance club from the mid 80’s. Wearing a simple black suit, white shirt with black tie, and a pair of glasses, CWL will drive the idea home by looking as much mad scientist as new-wave synth prodigy. Think ‘Mr. Wizard meets Gary Numan’. Chopped, glitchy edits cut back and forth between the performance space, close-ups of instruments, burning insects, blinking LED’s on the synths and electric equipment and macro shots of various bugs create a frenzied onslaught of digital hysteria.
Sixteen seconds in, the drums drop and we are fully engulfed by the beat. For the first time we see glimpses of CWL’s forgone love interest. These beautifully composed shots will feel like animated still frames taken from a moody, high-fashion photoshoot. She contorts and wriggles about in seductive, yet calculated, movements with her long hair and flowing dress blowing softly behind her. The elegance of these shots is turned on its side by a fluorescent tube lamp which constantly masks here eyes (see reference images). The audience is enticed by her presence and beauty but jarred by the ever-present beam of light she hides behind. On several occasions it will feel as though we are just about to finally see her eyes before an abrupt cut ends all hope. All clips of our girl will flicker in and out like a dying light bulb or VHS tape with years of degradation. The entire video will be ‘purposely imperfect’ with visible lines of resolution, jumpy images, pixilation, and flickering lights.
We continue this barrage on the senses for the duration of the verses/chorus leading right up to the breakdown. At which point the drums cease and the bug zappers fade out. After a few moments of total darkness, one of the bug zappers flicker back on. CWL walks through the vast black space holding the bug zapper out in front of him like a camping lantern. He turns in all directions searching hopelessly for something, anything. Several fireflies hover slowly within the space, appearing suspended within the pulsating beat. Suddenly a fluorescent tube flickers on in front of the girl’s eyes again. She reaches out, wraps her hand around the bulb and pulls it down finally revealing her eyes. She stares directly into the camera donning a pair of white mesh contact lenses (see reference images). Her bug-like eyes are surrounded by long, lush eyelashes which flutter with the beat. CWL slowly approaches her. Inching closer and closer he reaches out to touch her. Just as he is about to make contact she explodes into an enormous swarm of insects.
The beat kicks back in and all the bug zappers iluminate at the same time, glowing to maximum capacity. Sparks combust at an alarming rate upon the swarm reaching the zappers. The track plays out to a culmination of all pre-established imagery, sans the girl. The swarm of insects has all but disappeared as the alarm-like beeping fades the track out. One by one the bug zappers flicker off. CWL looks at each as they fade to black, before finally flickering away himself.
All is dark.
Jason Drake ⇒ Owner, Daylight Curfew
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Silky Black Gold