Ian Perlman to make a music video for Beach Fossils' "Adversity." On the day shooting wrapped up, we chatted with Ian and the band's lead singer Dustin, who filled us in on life on set, getting naked and why breaking mirrors might just be bad luck after all.
How are you guys?
Ian: Good, in the nude.
Dustin: Yes! It helps us get to the essence of our own being.
Glad this is a phone interview then. So, have you guys ever worked together before this video?
Ian: No we actually haven't. We met on my 21st birthday and just became friends and started working together. I did some live videos for them, but we've never done any other big scale projects like this.
What stage is the video in as we speak?
Ian: We actually finished shooting today, high five, oh yeah! It was a month of my life devoted to this project and it's so exciting to finally be done, and now to cram the little bit of school I have left in.
So will you be celebrating tonight?
Ian: Hope so! Dustin: I'm supposed to be on tour... I'll try to celebrate.
What can you tell us about the video and how did you come up with the concept?
Dustin: Mainly the inspiration was poetry and life in general.
Ian: More of surrealism and dreamlike imagery in a beautiful sense rather than a horrific sense.
Dustin: I love the movie Holy Mountain by Jodorowsky - weird beautiful imagery is our main point. A good amount of nudity, lots of nudeness. That's why we're naked right now, we're just staying naked.
Dustin, when you were working on the song, is this the type of imagery you were envisioning?
Dustin: Absolutely. In a lot of ways art and music are too separated, and they should be closer. It's the same way I write my music - I try not to think about it too hard and let it come to me. This video was us trying not to polish it up too much, trying to come up with things that were straight from our minds, totally uncensored.
Ian: We tried to make it as timeless as possible. Some recurring images of fruit and women painted white are there just to get it as classic as possible. It'd be great if someone watches this 15 years down the line and they have no clue when it was made.
Where did you film?
Ian: That's kinda why it took a month of my life. We hit so many different places - the studio at my school, a swamp at my friend's place in New Jersey. I grew up in Long Island, so we shot back at this place I call "The Dunes," which is where we'd hang out for the majority of my life there. It was nice to visit all these spots that mean a lot to me and the crew, who I call my family.
Did you run into any challenges filming?
Dustin: Coming up with ideas that wouldn't come off as cheesy. There's a thin line when you're trying to do something in the vein of surrealism - it can come off really pretentions or corny. We were fighting really hard to make sure this wasn't that you'd look at a few years later and it'd be a fad.
Ian: Shooting a video is always a struggle... we'd have these amazing scenes and we'd get there and be like, "There are infinite possibilities, what do we actually do?" Mostly, I try to block out the bad parts!
So what's life like on set?
Dustin: Lost of nudity plus lots of hard work. A lot of people volunteering their time. It's really nice from the band's point of view - when we did the shots when we were performing, we could see all the people around us working so hard and it felt really great.
Ian: There's a lot of me talking to Dustin about shots, being really collaborative. He has strong ideas so we'd always be in contact, sending screen shots, finding what we needed.
Dustin: I was probably hard to work with.
Ian: Very picky!
Dustin: I just wanted something we could all be proud of.
Ian: I treated my crew very nicely, thanks to Urban. We would eat and drink and be merry a lot of the times. Morale was very high on this!
Dustin, when we talked to Beach Fossils in Austin you guys told us you get in fights sometimes. Any punches thrown on set?
Dustin: On this set, it was kind of ok. We mostly got along, except sometimes between shots the band would all walk away and start drinking beer and have nothing to do with it.
Ian: I saw them as animals, so I wrangled them, like a zookeeper. Mr. Director is what they call me. Oh! Can I say this?
Dustin: Go for it.
Ian: My car is cursed. During the course of this video my car has been parking ticketed, towed and then recently broken into - my GPS was stolen. I credit that to breaking mirrors and walking under ladders. We got ran into by the cops shooting at night at a swamp. The officer couldn't find anything wrong with what we were doing - it was hysterical watching him trying to find something wrong, then having to be like, "Well, ok, I guess you can go." He was really looking through the car, and we go into the woods to get our stuff and come out with a fog machine and a bunch of tripods and he's like, "What the heck are you guys shooting?" I only tell you this because we're deep into this interview and you're now one of us.
Honored! So how do you guys think people will react to your video?
Dustin: I haven't thought about it. It's most important to just be completely in love with your project. If everyone feels good about it, you know it's a success.
Ian: My view is that you have to put in "x" amount of love to get even half of that back. We put in so much love and hard work, and no one can love it more than us.This project is my baby, it consumed me for a month and I'm completely confident people will respond well just because of the work we put into it.