While it may be brave to cover a music video like this, which features not just full-frontal nudity, but the less-acceptable binary of full-frontal male nudity, it is even braver to shoot a music video like this. Featuring Shaun Ross, who is known for being the first African-American albino model, “Dust” is confident and alluring in its simplicity, as it unfolds in a one-shot over the course of a mere 33 seconds. The music video format necessarily constrains track’s discourse on infinite time and infinite love, but the richness of the feeling and power of the symbolism remains.
Can you tell me a bit about how the pair of you came to work together on this project? What was your prior understanding of one another’s work, and what attracts you to it?
The idea came to me on a hike. Shaun Ross, ocean, black and white, reverse, naked, etc. A friend of mine had a friend of his’ number and he connected us. I emailed Shaun the song, then we spoke on the phone and I explained the video concept to him. He stopped me mid-paragraph with, “Wait, I have to show my cock?! I’m in.” We met, went over some details and shot it a month later.
I was pretty familiar with Shaun’s previous work. In particular his role in Lana Del Rey’s “Alt-Garden of Eden” video. His appearance is unique, and the gigs he takes are interesting. Those are attractive qualities.
“Dust” speaks of a infinite duration of time; is this why you settled on the imagery of an ocean? Were there other concepts you were considering?
Every element of the video has a purpose and a reason (Some of which will only be revealed if we film the prequels we have written). The ocean is powerful and endless, just like the love we wrote about.
This was the only concept we considered for this video. We have a few more exciting ideas for videos this year.
How long did the video take to shoot? How much time was spent in post-production?
The video took a total of 33 seconds to shoot. But there was a month of preparation. Post production was about a week. We had to reverse the footage and make the chop edits at the beginning and then color it. Pretty simple. The beauty of a one-shot.
The video obviously has a NSFW label, but that is not revealed until towards the end. What does nudity adds to the overall message you’re trying to convey?
There are a number of reasons and messages in the nudity. Mostly gender inequality in the media and body dysmorphia and the transition our society is making from [the shift from] patriarchal to matriarchal. It’s very inspiring.
Again, given the fact that a music video like this needs to have a label like NSFW, what is your general opinion on the use of nudity in visual art, and how that might affect culture-at-large?
The human body is a beautiful thing and it should be commonplace. We all have one. They all look simultaneously similar and different. There should be no shame around it.
What are your plans for your upcoming commercial with Hallenstein Brothers? How does this tie into your album release, more generally?
Hallenstein Brothers shot an epic TV Commercial starring Shaun Ross and our song “Big Fish” is featured in it. It will start airing soon. We are going to release a five song EP in New Zealand along with it. We’re pretty excited about that.
What difference, if any, will you take in your approach between doing the music video for yourself and working with a third party like Hallenstein Brothers?
Hallenstein is their own brand, so we will leave their branding up to them. We are just happy to be a part of it. They’re old friends and a great company with cool fashion.
Can you also tell us about your plans for the .GIF videos that will be released next year? Will they have a similar aesthetic to this music video, or are you going to be exploring other styles?
We’re releasing a GIF Video every two weeks for the forseeable future. They aren’t anything like the video for Dust. They are more like looping art. Something to watch while you listen. A hypnotizing effect.
But we will be releasing more videos this year. Sooner than later.