As Brasstronaut drop their latest video, we talk to its director, Clemens Purner.
Hailing from British Columbia, Vancouver, Brasstronaut began life as the fusion project of Edo Van Breeman and Bryan Davies. Soon, the two-piece had evolved into a six-piece and with their debut album, Mt. Chimaera, under their belts, Brasstronaut hit the road. That was back in 2007 and, since then, there’s been another LP by way of 2012’s Mean Sun, not to mention countless tours and plenty of individual solo projects from the band’s members – each of whom boasts their own diverse styles and esoteric musical interests. Indeed, it’s that range of perspectives that’s got us so excited about Brasstronaut’s self-titled third album, which is due to be released later this year.
Mixing from an eclectic palate of pop, rock, electronic and jazz (with a daub of Afrobeat thrown in for good measure), the band have brought together their individual musical compositions to create a hybrid whole that feels both coherent and expansive. The first taster of what we can expect from the record comes by way of “Raveshadow”, an intriguing track that’s been given the premium video (premiering for the first time here) treatment by director Clemens Purner. Following the turbulent journey of two male friends, the short plays with our expectations to great effect, asking questions about our assumptions of men and women thanks to its gender-flipping. We sat down with the video’s director, Clemens Purner, to find out a little more about the track’s narrative and achieving the film’s distinctive, raw dynamism.
How did you come to work with Brasstronaut?
The first time I met Edo Van Breemen and the band was during Iceland Airwaves festival back in 2009, when we happened to stay in the same house. I was visiting my dear friend Lucas back then, who was studying in Reykjavik, who of course also lived in that house, and who happens to be Brasstronaut’s manager in Europe now.
Later on, Edo and Brasstronaut were working on scores of two of my short films, and we made several music videos together. There is a mutual understanding of each other’s work I would say and the the question of “how” was never really raised. And most of all Edo Van Breemen is a very dear friend.
The video idea is based on a true story of 2 male friends in their 20s – what was the story and what elements of it did you bring into the video?
The true story is about two friends and the strong dynamics of their friendship when it comes to them socialising and partying together. One of them kept always pushing for more, longer nights, more intense parties with everything that comes with it. And the other one always wanting to say no and go home early, but always failing to actually do so. Our film is somewhat a metaphor of these dynamics. And it illustrates in a very playful way how beautiful and tempting, yet inevitably exhausting the life of constant excitement and movement is.
Your aesthetic is very strong in the video – was there a certain look/feel you wanted the visuals to have that you had in mind before you started filming? Who worked on the styling?
The idea before shooting was to generate very raw and realistic hand held visuals, very close to the protagonists. It is also shot on digital 16mm, which gives the film a certain melancholic touch, referencing home videos of the 80s and 90s.
The styling was done by Helga Ruthner in Vienna, whose designs added an amazing layer of extravaganza to the project.
The video features two strong female characters – do you think it’s important to subvert expectation of gender roles – in both video and music?
I certainly do! The original story’s characters were two boys, but it was quickly clear that we want to switch roles for our video. It is an interesting challenge for us all to see and realise that we still do somehow react surprised if we see a woman driving a rally car, or that we still associate women working on cars in a garage with pin-up clichés.