David Knight - 4th Nov 2013

They shoot ravers, don't they?

That was the line that Mark Waites pitched to make the video for Fatboy Slim's Eat Sleep Rave Repeat - and landed him the job, even though he's more usually occupied running the ad agency Mother. 

"Mark is a pure ideas person, and Norman [Cook aka Fatboy Slim] loves ideas," says John Hassay, in his guise as video commissioner for Fatboy Slim. And the idea was nailed-on to the message of the song: the updating of a very old phenomenon, the dance marathon.

They used to take place at the height of the Great Depression in the 1930s (and became the subject of the 60s movie They Shoot Horses, Don't They?). The original versions went on for weeks, this one was rather shorter - but it was done for real. The video is a record of what really happened at the day of the Endurance Dance Event, in East London, October 2013.   

The job became a co-production between Mother and Hassay's production company Good Egg, and he says it was a nail-biting experience setting up a real event at short order where a real contest could take place. But he managed to recruit another Fatboy Slim video veteran to the team - Vincent Landay, Spike Jonze's producer. They pulled it around, inviting young clubbers with the chance of winning a £500 prize if they could stay dancing the longest.

The first part of the video chronicles the dancers signing up, and talking bullishly about their intentions, followed by some early-stage high energy dancing by the crowd of competitors, moving to the sound of Brighton's Traction Sound. But then judges start calling dancers out, the casualties mount, the silver ponchos are dispensed... 

"There were no breaks - we didn't let people stop at all. It came down to attrition," says John Hassay, "But a lot of people who dropped out just wanted to stay to see what happened." He adds there was at least one serious medical case that came out of the event, caused by a probably combination of chemical intake and exhaustion. In fact, just to test out the fitter competitors, after about ten hours, a veteran gym instructor turned up to give them even more of a workout (hence the shots in the video of dancers doing press-ups).  

Interestingly, of the four remaining competitors, three were female. But after a jaw-dropping 18 hours, winning dancer was the last boy, presented with his prize by Norman himself. "Quite honestly I think he could've kept going for several more hours," says Hassay.

Punishing, brutal... and classic Fatboy Slim.

Credits

DirectorMark Waites
ProducerAdam Smith (Producer)
Executive ProducerVincent Landay
Director of PhotographyDaniel Landin
EditorDan Sherwen
Editing companyFinal Cut
ColouristRichard Fearon
Grading companyMPC
Production CompanyMother London
Production CompanyGood Egg

David Knight - 4th Nov 2013

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