David Knight - 9th Dec 2008

Tommy Sparks and Max Vitali are both new names in these parts, but you'll be hearing more from them.

Tommy is a dance-pop god-in-the-making; Max is HSI London's new Swedish signing - he's done commercials, but his only previous video was for Robyn's Be Mine - who had the rum idea of having a group of people hypnotized (by a clever chap called David Knight) and instructed to go wild when Tommy starts performing future smash I'm A Rope.

The result is morally ambiguous, possibly voyeuristic - and properly exciting. There's nothing quite like a crowd losing themselves in the music (hypnotised or not), and this is ramped up further by Nick Allix's splendid edit.


Max Vitali on making his video for Tommy Sparks' I'm A Rope

"The set-up was simple: we wanted to hypnotise people and create situations through mind control. Although we wanted to keep it a positive experience for everyone involved, we also wanted to go towards a slightly freakier and darker aspect of hypnosis than the 'make out with a floormop' kind of stuff you see in shows.

"It was a one day punk shoot, just keeping the energy high, doing things and trying to get it on camera as it happened. We used two cameras, video, so we could capture as much as possible not knowing if things could be repeated or how long they would stay in trance.

"The first thing we tried is exactly what the video shows: we told them that when Tommy Sparks appeared on stage they would go absolutely wild, it would be the most amazing performance they had ever seen and they would love Tommy like no other artist.

"I, and probably others, where a bit nervous before the first take, not knowing how it would play out once we where rolling. We'd done casting sessions to find people who where good, but still. But as soon as the track was pumping and Tommy was performing, they went absolutely bananas, grabbing him, ripping his shirt, whispering messages of love to him... It was brilliant, and after that we just tried to keep it up for as long as we could, going through the ideas we had planned.

"David Knight, the hypnotist, was amazing. Extremely professional, helpful and a big part in getting a good vibe on the day. It was exhausting but fun, and pretty amazing to see the hypnosis work, having lots of people in trance around you acting like waves or gorillas or crazy fans."


Production CompanyHSI London
DirectorMax Vitali
ProducerLucy Booth
Director of PhotographySteve Annis
StylistHannah Glossop
EditorNick Allix
CommissionerCarmen Montanez

David Knight - 9th Dec 2008

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