“I feel like an explorer who discovers continents in his unconscious mind.” Petite Meller takes us on a trip behind the scenes of her new video for “Baby, Love”.
What does ‘Baby Love’ mean?
It’s actually Baby (coma,) Love, as in “Listen Baby, you don’t know what Love means.” “Disappearing while you’re here”. It’s about a broken heart and a hysterical woman dancing her pain away.
So why did you choose to shoot the video in Africa?
I wrote “Baby, Love” with Swedish producer Jocke Åhlund, we were in his studio in Stockholm and I asked him If I could beatbox with my mouth since I don’t like the programmed drums. He opened a mic and an African rhythm came out of me, then we added bongos and congos and immediately knew where this video should be shot. I felt really connected to the story of the school girls in Nigeria who where kidnapped. Thinking about those girls, how they used to have normal life with dreams, style and broken hearts too. I couldn’t forget them even when I read I was searching for a fashionable African films but found only traditional ones. I wanted to show a realer reality and when I got to Nairobi, I found exactly what I was looking for. Hadija who sat on the porch in a slum crossroad was a beauty with a dream to be an actress. She had the perfect strong ambitious character. It’s her who I follow in the video in the desert. She uplifted me from my sorrows directing me to her school girl possy, who with their joyful beat and rhythm exemplify the essence of life and what live means.
What is your personal relationship with Africa?
As a child I was always listening to records of Fela Kuti, LadySmith, Black Mombazo and The Graceland Album by Paul Simon. It was my first time to Africa, I took 12 shots but didn’t really need any. I landed in heaven.
What else inspired the video?
We paid homage to a scene from Roger Vadim’s And God Created Woman (1956) which represents a hysterical woman passional dancing her pain away.
What were the most memorable moments when filming?
For the kiss scene it took hours to convince a female giraffe to kiss me. Then we switched to a male giraffe, he had the longest tongue and in a minute he licked the hell out of me.
How did you come to work with Asaf and Napoleon?
It’s funny, they were both fans I’ve met online – one a photographer and one an architect script writer. I’ve asked them to shoot my first video in New York, they both share an aesthetic which translate my whole into the most specific reality.
Did it all go to plan?
It amazed me when we first had to choose the best dancers from Wayowayo dance company. I couldn’t do it I just said I want them all with me. I landed at my editors house with my suitcase, four days later “Baby, Love” was ready.
What is it that draws you to traditional African tracks?
I actually love their modern music which plays on the radio and I love their fast beats. It basically all started from a piece of wood which was axed from a tree and designed carefully to be a drum.
Why is it important to you that your videos take us on a fantasy journey?
I aspire to bring the unconscious libidinal dream into reality. In order to fit to society we tend to repress material which for me is much more interesting. I feel like an explorer who discovers continents in his unconscious mind.
What can we expect from you next?
More adventures videos are up to come, and no doubt my debut album.