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Capital Cities 'Vowels' by Remy Cayuela

Luke Bather - 23rd Nov 2016

Capital Cities and Remy Cayuela disrupt the streets of LA with the language of dance.

Beginning, as so many stories do, in an underwhelming party, it quickly breaks out into something much more fantastic. Following a girl who dances her way through the streets of LA, the fantastic choreography is based on the lyrics seen visually using American Sign Language, making this an incredibly clever lyric video, in a way.

Having to plan meticulously every shot, combined with a downtown LA shoot on the weekend of Halloween is an impressive undertaking that Remy appears to have taken in his stride, making a cinematic, multi-layered dance film.


"With this video I wanted to explore a slightly different territory and I came up very naturally with a dance-related concept which was directly connected to the lyrics and the way I perceived the track. My idea was to follow a girl lip-synching to the track in sign language and to turn the sign language into a real dance choreography blurring the lines between sign language and actual body language. I liked the simplicity of the concept highlighting the energy of the track, and taking the viewer with the flow. The final result seems fluid and quite simple but it was kind of the opposite to create and execute.

"Besides the actual choreography which is the key element of the video, everything else had to be choreographed and timed very precisely. The challenge particularly lay in matching the camera moves, the choreography, and the lyrics while evolving in a quite unpredictable urban landscape. 

"I rehearsed the video three nights in the row prior to the shoot."

"In fact, we chose to shoot in downtown LA to create a very cinematic background landscape and play with many neon’s lights this location offers. But it happened during Halloween weekend, which was quite crazy as you can imagine (we saw some interesting costumes and had to deal with the crowd flow). The budget allowed us to only ITC the streets which added another challenge to the choreography as we always had approximatively two minutes before releasing pedestrians and traffic each time we needed to rehearse or to shoot a take.

"We worked closely with my longtime collaborator and DOP Jeff Bierman to lock every location and rehearse the entire video three nights in the row prior to the shoot. I shot the entire camera moves of the video on my iPhone so we could identify what was working and what could be enhanced.

"Hopefully, the main element in the video: the dancers and the choreography were pretty spot on. I had the chance to work with choreographer Denna Thomsen, longtime assistant and collaborator with Ryan Heffington, who worked and danced on many successful videos and commercials (Sia, Sigur Ros with Shia Laboeuf, Kenzo commercial, etc…).

"She’s an amazing artist and after having discussed the character, the dance moves I wanted for each section, the emotions, the lyrics, she came up with a great choreography. We based her entire work on an American Sign Language translation of the entire lyrics and she used that as a base for her work."

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Luke Bather - 23rd Nov 2016


  • Choreography
  • Director's notes
  • Indie pop

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Rémy Cayuela
Brooke McDaniel
Production Company
Executive Producer
Danielle Hinde
Executive Producer
Jason Cole
Production Manager
Daniel Kent


Director of Photography
Jeff Bierman


Jordy Scheinberg


Denna Thomsen


Michael Beaudry


Ernie Gilbert


Director's Rep (UK)
Director's Rep (UK)


Colin Wyatt
Danny Lockwood


Asst stylist
Tess O'Melia

Luke Bather - 23rd Nov 2016

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