Video Chats: Grant Singer on His Recent Collaborations with Sky Ferreira

Posted by Adam Alexander on January 30, 2014 in Interviews

Contributor Post

Grant Singer

To date, seven of 21 year old singer/fashion icon Sky Ferreira’s music videos have been directed by Grant Singer, whose dark stylistic visuals have served exceedingly well at capturing Sky’s essence and the spirit of her infectious tracks. The most recent collaborations for “You’re Not The One" and “Night Time, My Time” from her album of the same name, and her collaboration with Ariel Pink on her cover of his “My Molly”, are all unique, singular snapshots that capture another aspect of Sky through a variety of unique settings, unforgettable wardrobe changes, and dark narrative undertones. We talked to Grant about his history with Sky and set out to discover some of the inner workings of their creative partnership, obstacles, and what the future may have in store for the team.

Adam: When we last interviewed you, Sky Ferreira was deep in production with the preparation of Night Time, My Time. Since then, you’ve worked with Sky on three new music videos: "You’re Not The One," "Night Time, My Time," and "My Molly." Now that her LP has been released, has anything changed in your collaborative process with Sky in the conceptualization and execution of new projects, or have things remained as natural as they always have been?

Grant: When we first started making music videos together things were more impulsive, I think and less elaborate than they are now. It's still the same in terms of our collaborative process, however I'm always trying to make the next one better than the last. And she is too.

Adam: Sky appears to be a very unique artist with her own sense of style. What are some of Sky’s musical, stylistic, or personal qualities that you try to adapt to the screen when directing her music videos?

Grant: I try and convey more than one side to her, which to be honest is very easy to do. I think there are artists that have one or two memorable qualities to them, whereas Sky has many, and is super captivating on screen. With her it's not about pulling anything out of a performance, it's just about capturing it at the right moment.

Adam: The video for “You’re Not The One” is the most narrative video of the three most recent videos. It seems to set out to mislead the viewer by foreshadowing a much more devious conclusion that was is actually revealed at the end. What was the process like coming up with the video's plot? Were any alternative endings ever considered?

Grant: That video took about 9 months to make, from when I first wrote the treatment to the time it came out. The plot was always the same, however the ending sort of developed over time. We were initially supposed to shoot in Berlin and give it a more Christiane F vibe, with more Berlin-centric things happening throughout the video. The ending we used was suggested to me by Patrik Sandberg. We had to cut a lot of things before shooting due to logistical reasons and he suggested the ice pick being used as a narrative tool, rather than just a prop. I think it works, it's both sinister and pop.

Adam: There’s a shower sequence in “Night Time, My Time” that seems very similar in style and colour tones to the album cover Gaspar Noé designed for Night Time, My Time. Was this intentional?

Grant: No. That was the last setup of the video. I wanted to have her sitting on the shower floor looking up past the camera at someone, something. Throughout the video there's a presence of someone we're not seeing. The shower scene is just an extension of that. Gaspar's a friend and I love everything he does, but that in particular wasn't referencing his album cover.

Adam: Based on the surprise release and the general looseness of the “My Molly” video, one might assume the whole thing came together on a whim. In reality, how did the collaboration come about between you, Sky, and Ariel Pink?

Grant: You're right on. It did come together on a whim. Ariel had told me he and Sky were doing "My Molly" together. I didn't think anything of it. A few weeks later Sky had recorded with him and the next morning they asked if I'd be interested in making a video for it, specifically they wanted it to come out on Christmas Eve. They had asked me probably 5 days before Christmas. Anyway there was no budget or anything as they were making it outside their labels so I called in a few favors and shot on a soundstage where the DP Brook Linder had a connection. And that was it.

Adam: Would it be safe to assume that we can expect more collaborative projects between you and Sky in the future? Any hints?

Grant: Yeah, we're working on something right now. Definitely the most elaborate thing we've done together. And unexpected.

ariel pink, grant singer, my molly, my time, night time, sky ferreira, video chats, you're not the one

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