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Bedroom on Lava La Rue's Vest & Boxers: "We wanted to create something menacing and mysterious - with a mind of its own."

Bedroom on Lava La Rue's Vest & Boxers: "We wanted to create something menacing and mysterious - with a mind of its own."

Promonews - 1st Mar 2022

Directing duo Bedroom - that's Soren Harrison and Amir Hossain (aka 'Blackksocks') - recently directed their first video for Lava La Rue, West London-based alt-pop artist, visual artist and founder member of the NiNE8 collective: the brilliantly colourful, cartoonish and subversive video for Vest & Boxers. 

The video comes over like an amped-up British kids comic, with Lava La Rue (real name Aiwa Laurel D-G, better known as Ava Laurel) as the irrepressibly cheeky star in a more grown-up story than you find in The Beano, involving the older teenage pursuit of finding love and sex, through an acid-twisted spell of speed-dating. 

The terrific visual virtuosity on display and their revelation of Lava La Rue as an exciting new artist, is another notable moment in the remarkable progress of Hossein and Harrison. They have been shooting films together since their early teens themselves, and still in their early twenties, have already directed more than 20 official music videos - including many for Beabadoobee - as well as shooting album covers and numerous other projects.

As ever, the video was produced through COMPULSORY with Kiran Mandla executive producing, Henry Cisterna producing, with the video shot by DoP Billy Kendall and art directed by Rose Moya. We got in touch with Bedroom, to ask them about how this one happened.

We decided to go all the way with influences across Italian Gialo Cinema, Nobuhiko Obayashi, OG Scooby Doo and Metropolis....

How did the project start? Did you know anything about Lava La Rue before you heard Vest & Boxers?

We were introduced to Ava growing up in West London, and interviewed her for our first book when we were 16. It wasn't until years later that we finally reconnected to create something together.

What input did you get from the artist on the idea – either from the brief or in conversations with her? 

Ava had a full-blown vision behind Vest & Boxers when she came to us with the project, full of sexy speed-dating mania, alter-egos and hints towards a menacing plot twist.

The track instantly spurred visions of the spooky, exploitative B-movie cues that we had always wanted to push, and our privilege of full creative control led us right down the rabbit hole.

Ava had a full-blown vision behind Vest & Boxers when she came to us.

What came first – the narrative of Ava’s flashback to her weird date, or just the whole disorientating and cartoonish visual approach?

The conception of the music video's style came at a time when the days were at their shortest and it got dark so early. We wanted to create something menacing and mysterious, yet with a mind of its own, and we couldn't predict where it would settle.

Our short attention spans combined with our love of classic comic, cartoon exuberance, created the kind of childlike chaos we tried to adopt across the whole piece.

There are so many great visual ideas here - including some ‘blink and you miss it’ moments. Was this a typical Bedroom video in the way you came up with elements and graphics around the story (eg the ‘W’ with eyes, the Trellick tower shot, the face in the table, misted-up camera, etc.)?

The post-process was where the video found its true potential, having over two months to experiment with after Soren decided during the shoot that he was going to edit it himself.

We realized quickly that we could push the style to somewhere we haven't totally gone in our work before, and decided to go all the way with influences across Italian Gialo Cinema, Nobuhiko Obayashi, OG Scooby Doo and the innovation behind Metropolis (1927). Thanks to Wil Salcedo, who produced the incredible stop-motion, mixed-media animations and titles, we could put our own twist on the brief.

The team behind this video are incredible. An all young crew, excited to create within an extremely collaborative, DIY environment. Billy, the cinematographer, is an old friend from making films together back in the day, and shooting our local landscape in a way that we hadn't see before was very satisfying.

We decided to take a step back from our typical neurotic approach.

What techniques did you employ for the transitions, to make Lava’s world more fuzzy and surreal? Do you get to ‘pre-viz’ how these are going to work in the finished video?

We knew that this was the type of film that would shrink under the pressure of a fine toothcomb, that it's spirit would be suppressed with a magnifying glass held up to every part of the process. So we decided not to storyboard too finely, or create timecode animatics, taking a step back from our typical neurotic approach to let our shoot breath a little.

Each person behind the curtain of this film left their imprint on it, from Rose [Moya]'s uncompromised detail across the production design, to Henry [Cisterna]'s endless calmness in the most dire of moments.

What were the biggest challenges you faced on the shoot day? 

The only challenge we remember was the silent suffering we all experienced whilst being stuck in a confined location with raw fish. We can still smell it, sizzling under those lights.

Has this video allowed you to show a different aspect of what Bedroom is about, and what you can do?

Vest & Boxers pushes the visual signatures and frenzied fun that we have fallen in love with since we were little, experimenting with concepts that aren't frightened to be themselves - much like the characters and performances within these worlds.

• Bedroom are represented by COMPULSORY for music videos and commercials. See more work here.

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