French directing duo Fleur & Manu’s music video 'No Brain' for Étienne de Crécy recently kicked off the influential Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors’ Showcase in Cannes. Their hypnotic video goes into a pixelated Tetris wormhole, abruptly finishing with a blurred-out anti-hero doing an off-kilter dance in what looks like a lunch room. The award-winning Paris-based couple have made music videos for everyone from the likes of raunchy French demi-god Sébastien Tellier, to hyped new Australian psych-house duo Canyons. Here Fleur & Manu tell Dazed about what goes into making a great music video.
Dazed Digital: What was the idea behind the “No Brain” music video?
Fleur & Manu: We listened to "No Brain" many times, and after maybe 100 times, this organic, straight feeling emerged. We decided to connect the cube (the AD of Étienne) with something self-evolving, like a growing creature. We wanted something weird, straight and psychedelic like visual LSD. References were iconic op art artists like Bridget Riley, Vasarely, Felice Varini, Escher and scientific art.
DD: What’s happening in the scene at the end?
Fleur & Manu: That video was on YouTube… it had like 12 views in 5 years - huh?! It's all about music & dancing, nothing too serious, and this is part of the reason we made this video.
DD: How did you feel seeing “No Brain” selected for the New Directors’ Showcase?
Fleur & Manu: Saatchi & Saatchi and Cannes Lions are temples of creativity! It's interesting to take part in this adventure and try to open people’s minds.
DD: How you started working together?
Fleur & Manu: We met in summer, in a small town close to the French ocean called Biarritz. We hung out together, we slept together and after we decide to work together…
We both went to art school and studied graphic design. We started working 3 years ago, first with Sébastien Tellier. In our working relationship, usually it's like a tennis game - Manu is John McEnroe, Fleur is Roger Federer.
DD: What are some of your influences?
Fleur & Manu: We grew with MTV - the real one, the cool one! The 90's one! Wu-Tang, Aphex Twin, Gondry, etc. We take influences from everywhere, it's a little bit like a facebook wall when we search. In terms of directors, there are so many awesome ones, and so many good films - Kubrick, Blier, P.T.Anderson, Oury, Allen, Pollack, Kazan – it’s impossible to sum it up!
DD: What’s essential to a good music video?
Fleur & Manu: Being connected with the music. It's sounds stupid, but it's as simple as that. Music and video are a couple walking like one person! Like Sailor and Lula in Wild at Heart, or Joe Hisaishi’s film Dolls.
DD: What are you working on these days?
Fleur & Manu: A video for Connan Mockasin and we're currently working on our first script, based on the M83 music video trilogy. It's a mix of religion, kids having kinetic power, cybernetics and New Order… exciting, no?!?
DD: Ideally what would you like to be doing 10 years from now?
Fleur & Manu: Making feature films, opening a restaurant, living close to the ocean, having kids and seeing the world changing in a good way…
DD: What motivates you both to keep creating amazing work?
Fleur & Manu: Dreaming and getting high!
Follow Karen Orton on Twitter here @AaronKorton