Video Chats: Ben Fee on 'Steam Dream' by Andy Clockwise
Posted by Doug Klinger on November 16, 2012 in Interviews
Most roommates share the couch and common space with each other, and thats about it. But it doesnt have to be that way. A roommate relationship can result in a lot more than arguments over who forgot to take the trash out. Sometimes, and especially in the case of musician Andy Clockwise and director Ben Fee, a roommate relationship can result in a music video. We talked to Ben about directing Andys latest video Steam Dream, and how their roommate relationship allowed everything run smoothly and with a lot more hugs.
Doug: Correct me if I'm wrong, but you used to live with Andy, right?
Ben: I did! He was a room and a mate of mine, a roommate and a mate.
Doug: Did your involvement in the project come through that relationship?
Ben: Totally. We were sharing our new work with one another and I really loved what I heard. I said, "Hey, this is what I do, and I like what you do" and then we just hugged and out came the video.
Doug: That easy. Do you think the roommate relationship the two of you had was able to contribute to the video at all?
Ben I think when you live with someone you see their capability as a human. Andy is one of the most charismatic, jovial, and fun-loving people I've ever met. He's incessantly like Jack Black from School of Rock. Such a good hearted, entertaining person and I wanted to convey that to humans who haven't met him yet.
Doug: Youre credited as writing and conceptualizing the video, was the idea basically built around Andy and the song?
Ben: Yeah, totally. I saw Andy perform a lot of the songs from his upcoming record and he had an arrangement of girls dressed similarly to the arrangement I had in the video. It played so well, he interacted with them so well and had this really great rapport with the women. I felt like that would be really cool and dynamic to see some interactions with some female friends of his while they're draining the life out of him. I thought it would be a fun way to personify someone gaining momentum, and then getting beat down by something great that they're perusing. Not to say that he's perusing women, but they personify his pursuits in the video. I thought it would be fun to watch them actually act out the idea of draining his energy by beating him up.
Doug: Are the ladies you used in the video the same ones her performed with?
Ben: A good chunk of them were, yeah.
Doug: What was the size of the production, were there more actors than there were crew members?
Ben: Absolutely. It might have been 1-to-1. It was a real happy set behind the camera because usually it's just tons of dudes walking around, not too many girls. But for this one, it was 1-to-1, if not 1.5-to-1 girls to guys, which was really nice. It was fun to have girls keeping guys' spirits high.
Doug: You have a few people credited for wardrobe concept and head of wardrobe. Was their role mainly in costuming the girls in the video? Andys suit is kind of a trademark thing for him, right?
Ben: Yeah, when you see Andy live he's dressed up in this suit. He's elegant, and then he's sweaty and all elegance is lost. But yeah, Andy is great and the suits are his thing. The wardrobe girls were fantastic, they are who designed the wardrobe for the live show. We just talked about how to tweak that for the video to give it a new breath of fresh air while maintaining that semi-legionnaire, babe legionnaire look.
Doug: You both directed and shot this video, how do you balance those two roles. Are you giving stage direction to the performers wile giving camera direction to the steadicam op?
Ben: I had the steadicam op to my side, and I was whispering into his ear, and I was yelling at Andy and the girls. It was totally a shift in tone. I think the car scene, the last scene in the video, was the most fun to shoot. When all the girls stormed the car and dragged him out. The first few takes the girls were laughing and going lightly, and Andy was like, "No! Let me have it!" So, it was more pulling the ferocity and furiousness out of the girls, which was fun. Yelling at them to yell at Andy, and then Andy yelling back. Them just frothing and punching. Andy walked away with some scratches on his face, which turned out to be a little troublesome because that was the first scene we shot. So we had to patch-up Andy's face with makeup afterwards. He has some burses and scratches from the encounters with the babes.
Doug: Well, at least you finally got them going for real.
Ben: Yeah, we wanted them to, Andy and I both. Andy was fine with it and I wanted an authentic beating.
andy clockwise, ben fee, steam dream, video chats
Doug Klinger is the co-founder/content director of IMVDb and watches more music videos than anyone on earth. You can find him on twitter at @doug_klinger.
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