• UO Music Video Series: Tanlines

    Ever wonder what your life would be like if you made different key decisions?

    That’s exactly what the new music video from Tanlines—co-produced by Urban Outfitters as the 22nd installment of our UO Music Video Series—plays out. Set to “Palace,” off of the band’s sophomore album Highlights, the music video follows singer/guitarist Eric Emm and his doppelgänger (played by Alex Karpovsky, of HBO’s Girls, who co-directed the music video with Teddy Blanks) as they react differently to a break-up.

    Think of it as the band version of Sliding Doors, with a similarly impressive lineup of actors; in addition to Alex, the music video also stars Natasha Lyonne (aka Nicky Nichols on Orange is the New Black) and features appearances by Leo Fitzpatrick and Ben Sinclair.

    Watch the music video below—and then keep reading to learn about the making of the video from co-directors Alex Karpovsky and Teddy Blanks and check out behind-the-scenes photos. (Want to learn even more about the video? Watch our Periscope Q&A with Tanlines and Alex.)

    How did the music video come about?

    Teddy Blanks: I did the score for Tiny Furniture and I met Alex then, and then years later he asked for me to do titles for Red Flag, a movie he did. We became really good friends on that. And then I’m involved with Tanlines because I did the album cover packaging [through the design studio I co-founded, Chips], their Netflix-inspired website, and a couple billboards—one in LA, one in NY—that are parodies of movie posters. Then the band approached me because they knew that I was friends with Alex, and Eric was always getting confused with Alex. So I brokered a meeting and we all had dinner one night, and then Alex and I just started writing [the music video script].

    Alex, do you see the resemblance between yourself and Eric?
    Alex Karpovsky: [Laughs] Well, I'm one of those people who never really sees the resemblance. Everyone's like, "Oh, you look like this guy or that guy," and I just don't see it. I don't know how Eric feels about it; I've never asked him. A few weeks ago someone sent me a link to this Portuguese cooking show, hosted by a guy who actually does look like me a lot. It was the only time when I did the whoa thing and freaked out a little bit.

    Considering it was the first time either of you did a music video, the talent involved is pretty impressive.
    : It felt more like we were shooting a short film than shooting a music video—many of the women in the sex montage, only onscreen for a few seconds, are accomplished actors. Everyone [agreed to do the video] because when Alex or I reach out to them, they were fans of the band and excited about the song. And Natasha was amazing—she was just on.

    Teddy, this was your first time directing, period. How was it?
    TB: I was learning everything on the fly. Alex has directed five features, and he’s very experienced, and being on-set of a show like Girls he knew the process intimately. I knew what I wanted visually and what I wanted from the actors, but in terms of calling, “Action!” I was learning from Alex. But by day two I had enough to go on and could figure out the process myself.

    The video seems very Brooklyn-centric.

    TB: Everything was shot in Williamsburg or Greenpoint [in Brooklyn].
    AK: We shot one full day at Baby’s [All Right], which was great because we were able to get a whole lot of different locations really in one place. Then we shot at my apartment in Williamsburg, as well as another apartment nearby. The locations worked out really well.

    So…any repeat performances from either of you?
    TB: I think Alex and I are going to try to do some more music videos very soon, we worked very well together. The entire thing was just a blast—it was more fun than I’ve ever had.

    Read more from Alex Karpovsky here

    Photos by Nina Westervelt