David Knight - 2nd Nov 2016

After recruiting his dad for the I'm Ready video, and then constructing a pin-hole camera device for their second collaboration for I Never Lock That Door, Simon Owens' latest video for Hot Chip frontman Alexis Taylor's solo project departs from the one-shot pattern of the previous pair, but retains the conceptual purity.

There's also a distinctly English eccentricity in the incongruous sight of Alexis, all in white, calmly pedalling a fixed exercise bike in a variety of unlikely locations on Tottenham, north east London.

SIMON OWENS:

"It started early on in the year with a call from Alexis. He was going to perform a stripped back live solo show, just him on piano in an old house in Hampstead, and would I be up for doing a performance video of him in this location. After a short amount of time I enquired about his dad, and then asked if his dad could play the piano and perform the song instead? Here we are six months and three videos later. 

"There’s not many artists who would be into the idea of their dad performing (instead of them) let alone when the idea is a briefly written email without much qualifying support to back it up. Looking back this moment of trust was the springboard to further collaboration. 

"The first two videos were essentially ‘one shot’ ideas. For ‘I never lock that door’ we custom built a 170 pinhole film camera rig, spent a crazy amount of time testing and building, and could only afford to do three shots. With So Much Further To Go, I asked Alexis to perform on an exercise bike on top of a pub, a busy roundabout, and in the middle of a pond… 

"It wasn’t the genesis of the idea but during the making both me and Alexis felt the video was some sort of budget Fitzcarraldo and/or modern Don Quixote. The idea was all about going somewhere and nowhere, and within that a meta physical struggle. 

"Dressed all in white the pedals and wheel turned as Alexis sang, each person present felt a sort of hypnotising magic, for every take. If other people/passersby were present it seemed as if they felt serenaded (9:30 at night and Alexis Taylor is singing outside your bedroom window). 

"As befitting the idea we started by doing a test on a permanent fixed exercise bike in Lordship Rec in Tottenham, in front of Broadwater Farm, and completed our last shot, of a two day shoot (weeks later), near enough in the same place but in the middle of Lordship Rec's pond.

"This time Alexis serenaded the local yewt who when not being mesmerised by Alexis singing on an exercise bike in the middle of a pond were googling "Alexis Taylor/Hot chip”. As i left Lordship rec four young black kids were crowded round one phone watching Alexis and my first video together I’m Ready.

**My girlfriend was suddenly rushed to hospital (all fine now) days before shooting this video. And i experienced during the production of this video, fantastic, unshakable support from all involved it reminded me of Grant Branton, who was like three essential members of your production rolled into one. With Grant working alongside, you felt such strength, tenacity, enthusiasm and love.

"I sadly missed Grant’s funeral (due to another music video) and didn’t get to pay my respects. I would like to dedicate this music video to Grant Branton — Hope you’re looking down with that glint in your eyes." 

Credits

DirectorSimon Owens
Director of PhotographyBen Magahy
Focus PullerJon Mitchell
EditorSimon Owens
ColouristJonny TV
Grading companyGlassworks
Other creditsShoot assistants: Akinola Davies, Blue Laybourne, Christos Pistolas Driver: Patrick Laing Pond shot art department: Patrick Laing Camera equipment and lenses: Pixipixel Big thanks: Toby Newman at Pixipixel for all the help and support Postwork: André Dias + Simon Owens Thanks: Jonny, Duncan, Jack and Victoria at Glassworks

David Knight - 2nd Nov 2016

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