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"The band approached me about doing an absurd TV trial" - Aidan Zamiri on making Jockstrap's Greatest Hits video

"The band approached me about doing an absurd TV trial" - Aidan Zamiri on making Jockstrap's Greatest Hits video

Promonews - 21st Mar 2023

A legal drama involving feuding rock legends? We all want to watch that. Well, Aidan Zamiri got in there first, before the streaming giants or anyone else. We asked him how he did it.

It's one of the most interesting, enjoyably witty and cameo-filled music videos of the year so far, for one of the finest British alt-rock bands right now. Aidan Zamiri's video for English duo Jockstrap's Greatest Hits is a super-hip satire about a 'trial of the century' featuring the legal wrangles of two ageing rock stars, with a gallery of fascinating characters captured in the glare of wall-to-wall TV coverage.   

We recently talked to Aidan about the video, and discovered the project emerged from the mind of bandmember Georgia Ellery, and found its way to the screen courtesy of proper legal advice - and a willing cast of dozens, including a few of the band's and Aidan's friends...

It’s loosely based on an imagined future where Georgia and Taylor become nightmarish rock legends.

How did the project start? Were you familiar with Jockstrap before hearing Greatest Hits? How much was this a collaboration with the band?

I’ve been a massive fan of the band for a while - their music feels so refreshing. We’d met briefly in the past and Georgia had also worn a couple outfits made by my girlfriend Paolina Russo for her stage costumes. When they reached out, I was really excited to work on this with them.

The project was really collaborative from the jump - the band approached me with the idea of doing an absurd TV trial. Together we developed it and had massive help from Jean Lee who plays the judge in the video. She’s a real life barrister and helped us make sure that everything we were doing was (loosely) accurate in a real-world court setting.

Tell us more about the band's original idea of the TV trial...

Georgia had written an amazing storyline for the video which laid out a lot of the plan ahead of time. It’s loosely based on an imagined future where Georgia and Taylor from the band become nightmarish rock legends.

The thing that felt really interesting about the setting of a court trial is the idea of spectacle. From the high-profile legal battles that we’ve seen in media, these cases are less about the truth and justice and more about PR and popularity. For us, that became a really interesting idea to play on. 

Everything we were doing was largely accurate in a real-world court setting.

And when did you come up with the terrific method to tell the story? Did that come with the High Court battle idea, or later (or before)? What were your main references?

We were aiming for absurd characters within a realistic setting. There’s a lot of reference to Court TV and legal YouTube channels and paparazzi videos. This sense of ‘reality’ helped give a lot of context to what we were doing without us having to explain too much.

Also, as we’re used to seeing imagery like this in real life, it meant that we could push the edit quite far and make it feel pretty stylistic as the video progresses. 

Talking of characters, how did you cast your main protagonists, Princess Julia and Joe Foley?

Funnily enough I’ve known princess julia since I was around 19 or 20, but this was the first thing we’d ever filmed together.

A lot of the casting came from friends and fans of the band. Julia and John were pretty much confirmed when Georgia wrote the initial storyline - it was always gonna be them. We’ve also got a lot of fun cameos throughout the video giving witness testimonies or legal advice.

High-profile legal battles we’ve seen in the media are [often] less about truth and justice and more about PR and popularity.

As I mentioned, Jean the judge is a real barrister - and so was Nick who played Julia’s barrister. There’s a fair few music industry legends that some people might spot. These characters really added to the ‘reality’ of it all. 

When and where did you shoot the video?

We shot the video in Bethnal Green Town Hall - an old town hall that’s been turned into a hotel, but they’ve kept a lot for he original fixtures and rooms from the before it was renovated.

We shot the video around mid-October 2022 and thankfully we managed to squeeze in some extra shooting time with John and Julia in order to film their nefarious 'evidence' which was to be used against them in court.

Did this feel like a departure from things you’ve done before? Or a natural step on from being ultra-resourceful with your series of videos for Fka Twigs' Caprisongs, etc.?

This felt somewhat new as it was a lot more narrative-driven than some of the more performance-based videos I’ve done in the past.

That being said, we’ve got a team that I’ve had the pleasure of working with a lot over the past year or so. We’re all really on the same page so it was pretty streamlined despite having to pull out all the stops on our resourcefulness. 

• Aidan Zamiri is a director and photographer represented by Object & Animal

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Promonews - 21st Mar 2023


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