Video Chats: Vance Joy on "Riptide" Directed by Dimitri Basil

Posted by Doug Klinger on September 10, 2014 in Interviews

Staff Post

Yesterday, singer/songwriter Vance Joy released his awesome debut studio LP Dream Your Life Away on Atlantic Records. While Vance is set to release his fourth single from the album later this month, the lead single, “Riptide,” continues to generate a buzz. The incredibly catchy song has a light hearted, quirky vibe to it, and back in April 2013, they released an equally as fun music video for it, directed by Dimitri Basil and co-directed by Laura Gorun. Centering around a series of visual - and literal - representations of the song lyrics, the video features the same kind of washed out style and carefully composed shots that Basil and Gorun have been perfecting over the past few years. We talked to Vance about the video, working with Demitri, and at what point they knew they had something special.

IMVDb: This video shows different clips that are literal interpretations of the song lyrics. Where did this concept come from?

Vance: It came from a guy called Dimitri Basil, he sent me an email. I got a bunch of different emails from people with ideas for a film clip. I didn't like any of them because they're all straight linear narratives, and I thought that the song itself was, you know a strange patched, kind of mishmash of stuff. I thought it deserved a film clip that was equally as quirky and as interesting and visually stimulating. So I got this email from Dimitri and it said, “I want to make a literal film clip.” The video has all these things like this cowboy's running from himself and all these things. And that's what he told me, he said, “you got a picture of a cowboy running from himself.” I really liked it because I thought about how good it was going to look with that kind of approach to the clip. That started triggering ideas in me. I didn't really have much input, he just went away for about three weeks and just came up with this beautiful clip.

IMVDb: In terms of the vibe and era that the video takes place in, was that all a surprise to you when you saw the final clip?

Vance: He sent me a few photos. I liked the lens he's using and that kind of Wes Andersonish way he sets up his shots very carefully and selects things very carefully. I was amazed by some of the objects he put in this clip, from the lollipop stick for “come unstuck,” to the picture of a Romanian passport and the Pan America flight ticket. I’m amazed by how he selects his props.

IMVDb: As a musician, how do you view music videos? Do you regard them highly and see them as a way to help spread your music out there and reach a broader audience?

Vance: Absolutely. Every time you listen to a melody it's going to trigger a story in your mind - it's a powerful thing about melody and music. There's going to be so many diverse ideas, everyone that listens to the song is going to have a different visual thing going on in their head. I like that you can add to the song and you can have another piece of artwork that is associated with it. It’s not going to please everyone, but for me, watching my song to these visuals is great experience, it's so rewarding. I get really inspired and even get emotional watching the final work, because you're there from the start to the finish and you see how much work everyone puts into it. You put so much passion into the song and they put an equal amount of passion into the directing of the film clip.

IMVDb: Did you have any notes for Dimitri after you first saw it?

Vance: Yeah, there were a few different versions. He'd say, “do I want to keep this, do I want to keep that?” I mentioned a few of the things that I loved to protect them from the chopping board. Besides that, I just said, “this is gorgeous.” It really hit me hard when I first saw it. That's a good sign.

IMVDb: In terms of like the popularity of the video, did you guys have goals in mind?

Vance: Yeah, I had modest expectations. He was making this film clip before I went to SXSW last year. The song hadn't really exploded or anything. But after SXSW it got on Hype Machine, and it was like number one on Hype Machine for a couple of days. At that point, it started to escalate and the film clip came out just after that. So then I thought, “you know, if it’s done really well this could be a special clip.” I had total faith in Dimitri and I think he expected it to be a special clip, too. And it’s such a catchy song that if there was ever going to be a clip that we made that was going to reach a broad audience, it was going to be with that.

IMVDb: Do you plan on working with Dimitri again?

Vance: I would love to work with him again. He's a real artist, I think that's so valuable because you want someone who's not compromising. I mean, there's deadlines and all that kind of thing, but you want someone who's like, “I love this. I want to do this the best I can and I don't want to compromise anything.”

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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