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Mumford & Sons 'Blind Leading The Blind' by Nicolas Jack Davies

Rob Ulitski - 10th Dec 2019

Marcus Mumford delivers the emotion at the heart of his band's new track Blind Leading The Blind through a cathartic performance on the drums, in this intense yet reflective video directed by Nicolas Jack Davies.

Shot whilst the group were on tour in Bangkok, the industrial laundry setting works perfectly, ensuring Mumford's performance is the sole focus for the duration of the video. Edgar Dubrovskiy's use of super-slow motion creates snapshots of the action - shot on a Phantom 6K - allows the viewer to ponder these heightened emotional moments and the setting. And the further use of strobe lights creates a frenetic and exaggerated energy which Marcus Mumford thrives in. And ultimately this is all about Mumford's powerfully physical yet emotional performance.

The video is the result of a renewed collaboration between Mumford & Sons and Davies - formerly of directing duo Fred & Nick, who directed much of the band's visual output for their first two albums. Having shot the band performing the track at ACL in October, Davies has now directed a strongly cinematic accompaniment to this powerful track - pure in its concept, and executed very well indeed.

NICK DAVIES:

I knew that behind the drums is where Marcus would be ultimately at his most comfortable to let go - which he did in a big way. I love his performance.

"Working with Mumford & Sons was such a massive part of my working life when I started out doing videos, music docs and filming live shows. We worked with them for years from when they started (playing in front of 40 people in Cambridge) to the top of their game (winnings Grammy and playing mega gigs) and they gave us loads of opportunities to make loads of different things creatively. Some worked and some didn’t!

"Anyway - it’s been a while (2013 since I last worked with them, I think) and loads of things came together for us to work again. It started at Austin City Limits this year when they asked me to film a live video of this song because they couldn't decide on a direction for an official video. Then I got the opportunity to pitch an idea for it - and although it was massively off brief, everyone seemed to like it.

"The only stipulation was I had to shoot it in Bangkok on a certain date in November because of their touring schedule. Which was a blessing and a curse! Sweetshop were amazing in sorting it all out. We eventually found an old abandoned laundry that had the right kind of space to shoot it in. The only big issue was finding the right drum kit - which we did at the eleventh hour.

"I just wanted a simple, pure set up and knowing how good a drummer Marcus is, wanted to get that on camera so he embodies the song, the band and the emotion in his performance. As a drummer at heart, I knew that behind the drums is also somewhere Marcus would be ultimately at his most comfortable to let go - which he did in a big way. I love his performance. It’s so real and honest to me and I think a true document of him as an artist. 

"I wanted the video to be beautiful, emotive and intimate at the same time as being brutal, fast and heavy. Which to me - after watching Mumford play live probably 200 times or more - I feel is how they are at their best. Coupled with the quiet/loud, quick/slow structure of the song it sent me on a path of playing with the frame rate. So the original idea was to shoot the non-singing sections at 25 FPS and then the singing sections at 2000 FPS. And the for the last choruses we would let Marcus loose and sing in full vision until the end.

"Edgar Dubrovskiy my awesome DP then suggested strobing as an additional layer and I fell in love with the idea of having a film that cut between 2000 FPS and single frame flashes. It was extreme, which I what I wanted.

"But then we had to put it all together when we got back to London. And all this couldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for Liam Bachler. What a wicked editor he is." 

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Rob Ulitski - 10th Dec 2019

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  • Director's notes
  • Pick of the Day
  • Performance
  • Alt Rock
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Credits

Production/Creative

Director
Nicolas Jack Davies
Producer
Anson Gil Mercado
Production Company
Executive Producer
Laura Geagea
Production Manager
Thanadet Pradit

Camera

Director of Photography
Edgar Dubrovskiy

Editorial

Editor
Liam Bachler
Editing company
Tenthree Editing

Grading

Colourist
Vic Parker
Colour grade company
Raised By Wolves

Commission

Commissioner
Label
Island Records

Other credits

Line Producer

Panisa Anudit

Production Assistant

Roxanne Halley

Rob Ulitski - 10th Dec 2019

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