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Interview by Ally Mullen
Watch the UO Exclusive video for Charli XCX’s "Take My Hand," directed by Ryan Andrews.

Hi Charli and Ryan! Introduce yourselves.

Charli XCX: Hi, I’m Charli XCX, I’m a pop singer and songwriter and I’m based in London at the moment but I’m on tour so I don’t really have a home sometimes. My home is my van or a hotel room, which is nice... kind of. Music is my passion and I released my record True Romance and I’m on the road promoting at the moment.
Ryan Andrews: I’m Ryan Andrews and I’m a film and music video director and I’m from London as well. What I’m into? I collect toys and comics.
Charli: It’s probably being a nerd (laughs).

Did the two of you know each other before making this video?

Charli: We actually met in a club. I was playing at a club night a couple years ago and Ryan had just finished shooting his first feature film called Elfie Hopkins and the Gammons. He came into a club that I was performing at and watched me play and then afterwards asked me if I wanted to be part of the soundtrack for the movie. So that’s how we met, by working on that film. It went really well and after meeting Ryan, I’ve only ever worked with one other person – like, once only – on a music video. All my other videos have been with Ryan. We have a great connection.

Ryan, could you describe the concept behind the video for “Take My Hand”?

Ryan: The concept behind the video was to put Charli inside a club situation and then watch her react to the other guests of the club. Kind of like if you were watching the film Kids, or a movie like that, and taking a section out of that movie and making it a reality.

What else inspired the video?

Charli: I’m like a YouTube freak and so is Ryan, and he’s a movie freak as well, and we’ve been watching a lot of music videos by The Prodigy. And kind of also reflecting as where I started as an artist, which was coming up from London when I was fourteen and playing these third wave of club kids kind of parties, that were heavily influenced by Party Monster and the Michael Alig club kids era.

Is intended to be a sexy club video at all?

Charli: No! It’s not a sexy club video. That was definitely not our intention when filming the video. Actually, to be honest, there’s nothing more I hate than videos where they’re like, “I’m in a club! I’m with girls!”
Ryan: It is really stripped back, and quite real as if you were in a normal dirty club with your friends.
Charli: It’s not very glam; I’m not a very glam person. And the song is about kind of like, going crazy at a party and having a night where you’re losing your mind and losing yourself. That’s where we were at for the video.

What was the vibe on set? Did it feel like you were at a club or was it a lot of stop-and-go type of filming?

Ryan:Well actually what we did, we used our friends and set them in different places in the club and let them do whatever they wanted and had Charli react to them. We shot it in one long sequence. Every time she’d walk into a different room, it would be something different that she wasn’t ready for, so that she got more of that realistic club experience.

And where was it shot at?

Ryan: Corsica Studios at Elephant and Castle in London.
Charli: Which is a club. They play hip-hop and really crazy techno. It’s quite a famous club in London.
Ryan: It’s a really dirty club.

Have you ever gone there outside of making this video?

Ryan: It was the first gig Charli ever took me to watch her!
Charli: And it was empty! It was just like Ryan and 10 other people there. It was funny.
Ryan: Charli was dancing on her own.

Well, you’re a great dancer, it’s great to watch you perform.

Charli: REALLY? REALLY? You think I’m a good dancer?

Yes! What’s your favorite go-to dance move at the moment?

Charli: I’m really into the hair-flip at the moment; I’m doing that quite a lot. But I would never really call myself good dancer; I just throw my body around and see what happens.

In the song you say not to go to sleep. What gets you excited enough to stay up all night?

Charli: I think that if you’re at a party and there’s good music playing then that keeps you up. The party always dies when the random friend comes and puts on a techno album no one knows of and each song is 20 minutes long. When there’s a good DJ, that’s when everybody stays awake.

Yeah, quite a few parties have died from Justin Bieber songs.

Charli: WHAT! No, are you kidding?

The guys aren’t into it.

Charli: At my dream party, I’d play a Bieber track the fifth song in. I’d drop Bieber.
Ryan: I’m not a huge Bieber fan. I think that lads can’t really dance to a 17-year-old boy. A bit weird, eh? Him, singing about his girlfriend.

Well what track would throw on?

Charli: Yeah, what would be your opening track?
Ryan: “Sympathy for the Devil” by the Rolling Stones. That’s kind of the soundtrack to my life. If I could hear a song every time I walked into a place, that’d be it.

Are you going to catch The Rolling Stones on tour?

Ryan: I’d love to see them but I’ll be traveling. My Nan went to watch them in New York and said it was pretty fucking cool. My Nan’s pretty hardcore.