This is Part 2 our three-part series on making our debut music video, ‘Love Sick’. Here we take a look at the pretension of being an artist and also some of the concepts behind the video – along with the sick and twisted things that love can sometimes be. Here’s the links to Part 1
and Part 3
of the series.
Content is king, so they say. And if that’s true then original content must be an overlord. With that in mind, we swiftly realised that in order to make a half-decent music video we needed to do some more filming. And have some creative ideas…
The vivid lyrics to Love Sick lent themselves well to the being transformed in to visual ideas for the video. Listening to the song, Lenny became inspired by Ash’s lyrics and began brainstorming ideas that would suit the nature, content and style of the song.
Music is a powerful tool. As an art-form one of music’s major tenets is the ability for it to convey emotion to the listener. The songwriter expresses his thoughts, emotions and feelings in both the writing of the lyrics and the creation of the music. The listener gets the feel of what the song writer has created and (if the song is any good) feels empowered such that the listener can personally relate to the music.
The ability of the listener to relate contributes to music’s emotive force. The listener can take a generic song, say a song about breaking-up a relationship, and apply those emotions contained within the song to his personal life, perhaps applying the emotions in the song to the listeners very own relationship melt down or some such. Consequently the song takes on meaning for the listener. The meaning that the listener derives need not be the same meaning as the songwriter intended. And that further lends great subjectivity to music.
The Dark Side
"All you need is love" sang the Beatles. Well, what if they were wrong? Perhaps this notion that love is the all singing, all dancing highway to heaven is a little wide of the mark. (To be fair to the Beatles, ‘all you need is… fresh air, some food & water and a place to do a dump’ doesn’t sound like a great lyric, does it?) Perhaps love is not always perfect. Maybe it’s sick!
Come to think of it, the whole flower power ‘one love’ movement of the late sixties and early seventies wilted and died fertilizing the capitalist coke fuelled 80’s. Most those loved up hippies metamorphosed to greedy yuppies. In doing so, their yoghurt-weaving philosophies moulded to dust. Of course it wasn’t all that bad back then and their ideas certainly produced a plethora of fantastic music that is still relevant today as it was then. But really, is love all you need?
Here’s a behind the scenes shot of Ash being attacked by The Clown. We want a slow motion shot of The Clown wielding scissors behind a solemn looking straight-jacketed Ash. It turned out better than expected and the shot was used in the final cut of the video
Love Sick is the dark side of love. The part of love that doesn’t make sense. The part of love that is not portrayed in the romance and bliss of ‘falling in love’, nor that side of love portrayed with positive bias in the ideology of the spiritual meaning of love.
All of these thought trains were chugging through Lenny’s warped mind as he listened over and over again to the song: The perverse idea that love is painful, debilitating and often nauseating. That love is disgusting in equal magnitude to it’s greatness.
We’ve all been there, fallen head over heels in love with someone and before long the love wears off and is corroded by mundane repetition. We find ourselves stuck with someone, putting up with their foibles and irritated by our compromises. We’re bored of boning the same old bones, we just stick around because its easier. We value the security of relationships more than the quality of love it offers. We don’t want love, we want financial security, a nice house, emotional security and to feel safe. We don’t want love; we’re just scared and sub-consciously panicking – doing what we can stop ourselves from becoming lonely old folk.
Watch the video for Love Sick and BUY the single… the proceeds are funding our debut album.
Gone has the romance of falling in love. You can look at various dating websites and apps such as Tinder and pick a partner from the shelf, based on aesthetics. Now we live in an age where online dating has grown to become a multimillion pound business. And love is little more than a product we can choose in various flavours. How many people spend their whole lives hoping to fall in love and meet the ‘one’? What a load of crap and what a waste of time.
What about the love a parent feels for their children. Surely such love is exempt from malign influences. Consider the dreadful scenario where a parent brings up their child lovingly to their best capabilities, but their child for some reason or another happens to be badly influenced and commits a serious crime in adulthood. The child commits murder. What then about the parents’ feelings for their murderous child. The love they feel for their children cannot be taken away, it can only be reduced and compartmentalised, but somewhere inside them, the parents still feel some love for their child. A murderer. How twisted?
How much of ‘love’ masquerades as the need to have sex? No doubt every long-term marriage or relationship only became long term after sex. The biological procreational attraction (or lust) may supersede love. Is love the philosophical gloss we apply to cover the guilty cracks in our base instinct of visceral procreation? Is love nothing more than pornography with added emotional security?
‘Love Sick’ was pounding in the background… spewing dark imaginings and twisted inspirations, ricocheting round Lenny’s head.
Get it in the can
"Only fools fall in love." So they say. Does that mean you’d have to be pretty stupid to fall in love? With that in mind, we remembered that Ash had a clown mask kicking around. There’s something sinister about clowns (think Pennywise the child killing clown from Stephen King’s ‘It’). Ash’s clown mask is most certainly sinister.
A character was born, and suited, and booted to become the symbol of the dark side of love. Born from the moth balls of the heart. The suited clown, like the typical businessman, immediately charms women in to thinking he’s the one that will give them their emotional (and often financial) security. Instead he’s just a suited and booted cheapskate, and more often than not he cheats on his wife and breaks her heart, when the pre-nuptial excludes her from the house and car. How many women ‘fall in love’ with such fools. But the clown could easily be the foolish alter ego of all of us love trippers.
Now we had a character for the video we needed a plot. First thing’s first we needed an intro. Often the opening shot is key to hooking an audience. The song comes in with loud drums and heavy distorted guitars so it was key to get a decent opening scene that created suspense to emphasise the song’s intro.
The subtle force of love gracefully touches all of us. Like Hell.
So Gaith, Lenny and ‘The Clown’ set off to a disused run-down church gardens in a quiet Hove suburb and decided to film some antics with a sledge hammer. A sinister clown walking through a conservative suburb is going to turn heads. A sinister clown walking through a conservative suburb carrying a sledge hammer made the old folk of Hove soil their Y-fronts .
The problem for the clown was the mask had limited visibility and that posed a risk when Gaith requested some serious sledgehammer dance moves. The idea was to get some scenes like those at the end of a Texas Chainsaw Massacre, where the chainsaw is swung around. One false move with a sledge hammer spinning around is going to cause a serious injury, such as a smashed tibia, or fractured knee cap.
Other scenes involved ‘The Clown’ making sexual gestures with a ‘naked’ toy Barbie doll. Thankfully no one was around to witness the acting. A Barbie Doll? Well what better to symbolise the fake plastic love that most men project on to women. Sexual objects are as lifeless as plastic dolls.
Within a couple of sweaty hours we got the shoot for the intro done as well as some out-take footage for splicing in the film later on.
A Chorus Of Madness
The structure for the video was forming. In a somewhat organic and spontaneous way. It was as if the creating of the video was self propagating ideas for its content. It was clear that the song ‘Love Sick’ portrays the insanity of love, so it seemed natural that we needed Ash to act insane. (which isn’t hard as he’s pretty insane at the best of times). To help illustrate the point we decided to get give him a straight jacket costume and after much persuasion decided to shave off his long greasy locks to portray the insanity.
To be fair there is nothing more insane than a man in a straight jacket having his hair shaved against his will. An archetypal image that conjures ideas of fruit-farms, loony-bins, prisons, and strangely, rebirth. The loss of hair symbolised the stripping of the ego personality – and in the case of prisons and nut-houses implies the surrender and subjugation to the institution of confinement. Love – an institution of confinement!
As usual, location was key. Fortunately Ash convinced his old friend Ambles to do the shoot round her flat. Her flat was decorated in a way that spoke of her love of Italian horror films and by the end of the shoot she probably thought she was an extra in such a film.
Warning: This is a disturbing video of Ash humping a manikin. Not suitable viewing for sensible people.
Ash, Lenny and ‘The Clown’ turned up. Drank a beer or two and set up the scene. The idea was to get some shots of ash becoming more insane, getting balder and despite the increased insanity actually freeing himself of the straight jacket. These were to appear in the choruses of the song.
We are all insanely addicted to love. Love: Heroin of the heart; coke for the cock, valium for the vagina. Like any addiction it leaves the rational mind fractured.
The fact that Ash didn’t tell Ambles that the shoot would involve hair shaving probably didn’t help. The clown went at Ash and began snipping his hair with a pair of 8 inch sewing scissors. Decades of greasy rocker hair was being shorn and with its loss a new anger arose in Ash. The clippers came out and ‘The clown’ began shaving, pulling, twisting and scratching Ash’s head. Ash was in pain.
The clippers were old and blunt. There were no cuts of hair. Chunks of hair were being pulled from Ash’s scalp. His faced winced in pain. Ash would lead you to think it was great acting on his part. But when you see him in the music video fighting with the clown, its fair to say the fight was real. The pain was real. Again the Clown couldn’t see very well through the mask and he was waving 8 inch material scissors around Ash’s head. A full on brawl broke out. The room was trashed. Shooting was over. We got what we could in the can. Ash, Gaith, Lenny and ‘The Clown’ apologised for the chaos and mess (particularly the greasy hair all glued to the carpet, stuck like shit to a blanket, with spilt make-up and beer) before leaving for swift drink down the nearest Brighton boozer. With his scraggly clumps of long hair and patches of bald, along with a face full of fake blood, ash looked like he really was a lunatic, and one that had just been the victim of a street brawl. At first we weren’t sure if they would serve us in the pub. Fortunately they did and we reflected on the shoot.
Sex sells, sex cells
Here’s Nou Ra, looking beautiful. Its a behind the scenes shot after shooting some of the ‘love’ scenes round her flat. Beautiful lighting and the upside down clock makes this pic extra special.
By now we had almost got everything we needed. Just one more thing. We need to film the clown having sex. Yep, sex sells. Sex and love seem to be entangled and twisted in more ways than one. Excusing celibate monks and nuns, one wonders how many long term relationships fundamentally started with a shag? Love or sex? And when sex enters the equation, it does so accompanied with a phantasmagoric suitcase full of perversions. Does the paedophile try and justify their crimes by appealing to the fact that they love the child that they are abusing? That’s sick!
The idea was to get some sex scenes, and also to try and portray domestic violence. How many times have women (and occasionally men) suffered domestic violence yet the victimised partner (often the women) refuses to leave because despite being beaten they ‘love’ their nefarious lover. They love him, despite the fact that he beats her up from time to time. How sad and how totally sick. That’s what ‘love’ can do. It can make you put up with an ass-hole of a partner.
Nou Ra, one time tour manager for The Roots and Cody Chesnutt, and old friend of the band was game for the filming. The juxtaposition of the sinister clown and an alluring female posing in sexual positions provided great eye candy and sat amazingly well in to the ethos of the song.
Poor Nou had to dance with and kiss ‘The Clown’. After an evenings filming she was left positively disturbed. The rubber lips of ‘The Clown’ left a sour taste. At least we managed to get some spontaneous shots where Nou managed to tie the clown down and spank his arse with a leather belt. What weird and perverse things people do in the name of love.
By now we had a couple of hours of footage all we needed to do was grab some extra shots to help in the editing process. You’d think a couple of hours of footage was more than adequate for a 4 minute video. Surprisingly we needed more.
Masturbation and religion hadn’t been touched upon. What about self love? Is that possible? How we are made to feel so guilty about pleasuring ourselves? We all grow in to adults blind and hairy palmed. Perhaps it’s this guilt that makes us sick lovers. And religion. My God, what crimes has every organised, institutional religion committed in the name of love? Ranging from the faithless love of the suffering messiahs and their devoted worshippers to child abusing priests and holy wars.
So we decided to grab a few cut-away takes of filming to capture how sick these things are. Finally we had managed to stock up on some decent footage and outline a basic plot.
So, the next job was editing the hours of footage…. but as you’ll find out in part 3 of this blog series, we ran in to a few copyright issues with major arseholes… erm, sorry, we mean… artists….
Watch The Video
Here’s the offical video for Love Sick. Watch it through to the end for best results. Share it and let us know what you think. We love to hear your feedback.