Promonews - 17th Nov 2021

Directing duo Meeks + Frost bring together an all-star line-up of talent in this special celebration of UK producer Swindle's latest album The New World - including the performance of six tracks from the album - filmed at the lavish Christ Church Hall in Spitalfields, East London.

Featuring Poppy Ajhuda, Kojey Radical, Joel Culpepper, Jnr Williams, Maverick Sabre, Akala, Knucks, Rider Shafique and Ghetts - and of course Swindle himself - Meeks + Frost have created a marvellous 20 minute film where the music of the album, and the personality and chemistry of the individuals involved, comes brilliantly and stylishly to life.

The album, Swindle's first release since 2019, was written in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, and the project brings together a community of artists who found the most simplistic emotion of joy together in collaboration. They explore themes such as love, grief, fatherhood, life, race in Britain, aspirations for their future selves and other personified rumination experienced during the first lockdown in early 2020.

The film is packed with songs from the album from start to finish, beginning with the arrival of several of the artists, dressed to the nines in suits and eveningwear that echoes the 1920s Jazz Age, to the strains of What's More. Then on the next song Sunday Best, featuring Kojey Radical, Culpepper and Knucks, the on-screen performances start, and we see the artists' back at the tailors' being fitted for their suits.

To How I've Been, the artists greet each other at the Church - a reunion of friends at a special gathering, and that mood carries through the course of several superb performances that follow.

On Blow Ya Trumpet, a quartet of formidable rappers - Knucks, Ghetts, Akala, Kojey - pass the baton around the table as they drink and play dominos. Then the soul and jazz mood takes over, and backup musicians join the cast, as Poppy Ajhuda performs Darkest Hour with Swindle. 

For No Black, No Irish, the jazz mood is emphasised further by a transition to monochrome for Culpepper and Maverick Sabre's affecting performance of No Blacks, No Irish, with accompanying musicians.

And it is in these performance sequences that Meeks + Frost really excel, with a perfect arrangement of the photography, captures the quality of the performance with great style but also without drawing attention to itself. That is really fine live performance direction.

The performance element finishes on Lost, which brings us squarely back to the theme of change that is central to Swindle's The New World. And overall, this does something that is rare for a music film of this length - it demands your attention throughout, and leaves the viewer with a sense they have witnessed something very special. And a need to listen to the album again. Massive kudos to everyone who worked on this film - behind the camera and in front of it.  

MEEKS + FROST:

From the [start] of this project, we’ve had so many ideas and have grown from the experience.

“It is a dream of ours to be able to collaborate with such talented individuals on amazing work that is both gratifying, and memorable.

"We were lucky enough to have a sensational album from Swindle, and can’t thank him enough for the opportunity to touch art of this calibre. It really brought the best out of us knowing the impact a visual piece can have on the music. From the beginning to the end of this project, we’ve had so many ideas and have grown from the experience with a great crew behind us.

"Passion and drive is what creates greatness, and rings true not only for us creating this film, but for Swindle taking the dive and creating a truly great album. When you put them together there’s no stopping it, or us.“

SWINDLE:

Meeks + Frost understood the vision.

“This film, like my album, has been a labour of love. When talking about music videos I wanted to do something out of the norm, ambitious and special, but more than anything I present the music in a way I believe it deserves.

"Meeks + Frost understood the vision. We sat down and hatched a plan, and to see that now realised is a dream come true. We have captured the essence of the relationships between the artists, the intent of the record and presented it with sophistication.

"I want to thank Untold Studios and [BMG commissioner] Faye Purcell for helping us to execute this. You really went above and beyond to make this special. Welcome to THE NEW WORLD.”

PRO Credits

Credits

DirectorMeeks & Frost
ProducerTheo Hue Williams
Production CompanyUntold Studios
Executive ProducerMike Heath
Head of Music VideoAnnie Ayres
Production ManagerCheyenne Enninful
ProductionTia Varnnard
ProductionXiao Xuan Xu
1st ADJack Green
Director of PhotographyThomas Hole
SteadicamTommy McMahon
GafferJohnjoe Besagni
Art DirectorJoe Munro
StylistTom Raban
EditorMarta Strauss
ColouristMyles Bevan
Grading companyTime Based Arts
CommissionerFaye Purcell
LabelBMG
Other creditsSparks: Ross Brown, Joe Kennedy

Promonews - 17th Nov 2021

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