It’s like an incredible mashup of Blue Valentine and The O.C. but with something far more powerful and direct swathed in the ambiguity of romantic half-light and found-photo style imagery. Directed by Fernando Vallejo, School Of Seven Bells‘ new video for “Reappear” off their album Ghostory, is an intimate tryst with the dirty streets of L.A., the beautifully sun kissed suburban landscape and the listlessness and disorientation of breaking up. We talked to Fernando about the misdirection of explanation, our social media obsessed generation and the beautiful music of School Of Seven Bells.
Portable: What’s the story behind the narrative?
Fernando Vallejo: The narrative is about a young couple that experiences the pain of a recent breakup, for reasons that aren’t fully explained. I wanted to make a music video that felt like a short film, but without the exposition. You have to be very careful about explaining things, because you can veer into clunky territory, where there is no mystery. That gets boring. In essence, it’s about the fragility of love, and how tenuous and incontrollable it can be. And I don’t want to sound pretentious, but to me, it’s about the voluptuousness of life.
P: What are the biggest challenges of pairing visuals with music?
Fernando Vallejo: You always have to keep the music in mind. It’s the equivalent of your script. When you are dealing with a music video that is narrative-based, without performance, you always keep the song in the back of your head. The song is what determines the rhythm and pacing of the video. It’s what keeps it focused, and organic. The lyrics for “Reappear” are sparse. The challenge was blending time-lapse and sped-up shots alongside slow motion, and making it feel cohesive.
P: There are beautiful moments (for instance, the girl’s legs in the pool) that feel very much in the vein of found images Tumblrs and whatnot, but obviously you have created these images yourself. To what extent are you influenced by, and do you think art such as yours, influences the social media movement?
Fernando Vallejo: I feel anything you put out there nowadays influences the social media movement. It’s inescapable. Anything that is creative, and that caters toward young people, will be devoured by social media. To me, that’s a positive thing. There’s never been a bigger canvas with which to share your work. You get massive amounts of feedback, whether good or bad.
And with Tumblr, for example, you will always find images that stick with you, that make you feel an emotion.
P: The video is very cinematic. What influenced this, and what other directors do you admire?
Fernando Vallejo: The L.A. films of the 70′s such as Altman’s The Long Goodbye, Cassavettes’ The Killing Of A Chinese Bookie BOOKIE. Also David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive. These are films that show a much different side of Los Angeles; darker, grittier, dirtier. I deeply admire those filmmakers, alongside Paul Thomas Anderson, Terrence Malick, Wong Kar-Wai, The Dardenne Brothers, and David Fincher, just to name a few.
P: How do you work together with a band to ensure you’re encapsulating their spirit without overpowering the music? What was it like working with School Of Seven Bells specifically?
Fernando Vallejo: A band gives you creative control once they sign off on your approach, after reading a treatment. School of Seven Bells have given us a very beautiful, haunting, and powerful song, and I can’t thank them enough for that. They are fantastic.