A few weeks ago we went behind the scenes of Ariel Pink’s latest video for “Dayzed Inn Daydreams,” a track off his recently released double album, Pom Pom. Filming took place outside of Los Angeles in Bakersfield, CA, and the video was directed by Grant Singer, a frequent collaborator with both Ariel Pink and Sky Ferreira. Singer brought his incredibly creative eye to two other videos for songs from Pom Pom, “Put Your Number In My Phone,” and “Picture Me Gone,” which are now joined by this video for a trio of videos that are thematically linked together. Read on for more about the video and a chat we had with the video's director, Grant Singer.
Singer chose a run down grocery store in Bakersfield to shoot the video for “Dayzed Inn Daydreams,” which fit the storyline of the video perfectly due to its drowned out colors and fluorescent lighting. We spent a few hours on set with the crew at the grocery store, arriving just in time to see Ariel Pink make his first cameo in the video. Ariel played a famous musician visiting a quiet, dismal town, having just played there the night before. Joining Ariel in the video was Rick Wilder, a legendary punk rocker from The Mau Mau’s and the Berlin Brats.
Wilder plays a washed-up rock star who finds himself working in a supermarket. His character meets Ariel Pink while on a break at work, and during other scenes in the video. The clothes Ariel Pink was wearing in the video were signature to his personal style. Both androgynous and tight-fitting, Ariel sported an all-white denim look with spiked purple platforms. Wilder brought out his best sparkly two piece for several scenes shot at the market, something he totally would’ve worn when performing back in his day. Unlike most music videos, Grant Singer brought his different vision to the shoot for “Dayzed Inn Daydreams,” mixing acted out scenes with regular musical scenes.
We were able to chat with the director of the video, Grant Singer, to find out how he got into directing music videos, what projects he is working on, and what his favorite music videos of all time are.
Could you give us a brief background on yourself?
I’m from Los Angeles—where I currently live. I have a music background. I wanted to score films prior to getting into directing.
How'd you get into directing music videos?
I was very good friends with Starred and began making visuals for their music. A few months later Cole asked me to do the first DIIV video and the rest is history.
What is the process like of planning a music video prior to actually shooting?
Well, shooting is the fun part. The planning takes a lot of time and preparation so everything goes smoothly. It begins with casting, location scouting, and then into discussions with the DP about lighting and what lenses we’ll use, the manner in which we’ll shoot the scene, and so forth.
Do you have any frequent creative collaborators?
For the past year I've been working with the same crew: Frank Mobilio as the DP; Brook Linder and I edit together; Carlos Laszlo for production design; and my colorist Bryan Smaller.
You created a short film called "IRL". Do you have plans to shoot a feature? Can you tell us about it?
Yes. It’s about a disappearance.
What are the big differences between creating a visual story for a song vs. a normal film?
I think there’s more freedom in a music video in that you can do very bold visual things that may look cool in a video, yet in a film might take the viewer out of the moment.
Favorite music video of all time?
It’s a 3-way tie: Aphex Twin "Windowlicker", Nine Inch Nails "Closer", and Marilyn Manson "The Dope Show."
Favorite film and director?
The Shining. Stanley Kubrick.
What film should win at the Oscars this year?
I’m not sure if it’s nominated, but Gone Girl if it is.
Do you have any advice for aspiring filmmakers just starting out?
Be great. It’s not good enough to just be good, you have to be great.