Directors Jordan and Jason take us on an adventure through the big city in the partly narrative, partly documentary video for Peaking Lights' "Dream Beat." Here we talk to them about the fun of filming in NYC and the story behind the vogue-inspired video.
Interview by Ally Mullen
Hey Jordan and Jason! Where are the two of you from and how did you meet?
Jordan: I met Jason on a video shoot in Daytona for Riff Raff and Kitty Pryde. I produce short form documentaries for Noisey (Vice's relatively new music site) and we ended up collaborating on the "Orion's Belt" video that Jason directed. We both share similar interests and views on music videos and documentaries so since then we've been trying to work on a bunch of stuff together. It's good since he is in L.A. and I am based in NYC, so between us we've got both coasts covered.
Jason: Yes, Daytona was trippy and we've had some even trippier times with Riff Raff since then. I am from Atlanta/Athens, GA, but I have been in L.A. the last few years in a neighborhood called Mount Washington. I've been directing music videos and short documentaries for the last six years. I have a small production company, Eikon Productions.
Can you tell us the storyline for the video you directed for the song "Dream Beat" by Peaking Lights?
Jason: It follows a girl on what we imagine to be a very ordinary day for her: from the ocean, through some odd parts of Brooklyn, to meet up with friends, and eventually to a vogue ballroom club in Manhattan.
Where did you come up with the idea for the video? What were you inspired by?
Jason: We were really into the idea of this hazy trip from the most un-NYC parts of Brooklyn. Obviously it was very loose; you can't plan things like the guy who was spraying cars with the fire hydrant or kids diving into baby pools. It was definitely equal parts narrative and documentary.
Jordan: The main inspiration came from the girl in the video, Jess. I saw her dancing at a club about six months ago and no one knew who she was. A few months later I jumped out of a cab and she was standing on the side of the street and I asked her if she would be open to performing in a video. Another source of inspiration was Paris Is Burning, which was a touchstone, and Tony Manero is one of the best characters NYC has ever produced, so he's in there in subtle ways.
How much influence and input did Aaron and Indra from Peaking Lights have on the video?
Jordan: Aaron and Indra have been good friends of mine for years and I've followed their music the whole time, so I feel like their overall influence permeates the idea and the video. It's more of a mutual understanding than direct influence or input. The song itself has a pretty amazing drum machine pattern and bass line that reminded me of a really stoned, lazy house tune, so that lent itself to the video featuring dancers from the vogue scene as well.
Why did you decide to film this video in NYC?
Jordan: Well, the vogue scene is strongest here and a lot of the influences that make up the video are NYC-centric so there was no reason to do it anywhere else.
Jason: I find NYC a much more challenging city for shooting low budget videos, but it's more than made up for by the endless amounts of interesting people, scenes, and locations.
Where was the club scene filmed?
Jason: I have no idea what the club was called, but it's some really gaudy place in Midtown where they host "Vogue Knights" on Tuesdays.
Jordan: Everyone there was really supportive and helpful which made the shoot that much easier.
People are everywhere in NYC, how do you get passers-by to not jump in the background or look into the camera?
Jason: They're free extras. If they looked into the camera we have one of our PAs tase them.
Jordan: A bunch of people looked at or into the camera in the video but it's not really a big deal. People look at you in real life so it's not that unusual and kind of appropriate considering the vérité nature of the shoot.
It seems like anything can happen in NYC. Did anything unexpected happen on set?
Jordan: The video was supposed to start at Fort Tilden, but after about three hours of shooting we were booted by the park rangers and police. Also, our PA, Gary, tried hitting on this girl at the beach who ended up being a 17-year-old dude.