From his very first 12" to this year's stunning Asa Breed LP, Matthew Dear has been switching the masses on to his unique blend of minimal techno and electronic pop. For the video to "Don and Sherri", a haunted stand-out track from the album, production company Plus et Plus decided to rig up a five-camera system and film Matthew singing on the back of a truck while they drove round New York.
PLUS ET PLUS, NY
Dazed Digital: So, who are you and what have you worked on previously?
Judy Wellfare: Jeremy Hollister and I founded Plus et Plus, a creative design and production company, in 2002. We have done videos for Japanese band Love Psychedelico, Pop, and the Coldcut remix of Steve Reich. Besides that, our commercial clients include Nike, Sony-Ericsson, and Nissan, and we keep ourselves busy doing experimental films and projects, such as travelling art exhibition A Nice Set.
DD: What's this rig, and what were the challenges you faced with it?
JW: We love shooting with multiple cameras, and we wanted to experiment with some interesting in-camera effects, so we developed the idea for the "Five Camera Rig" as a cool way to create organic layering of the same image. When we heard Matthew's song, it seemed the perfect fit. The rig itself is quite big, and so one of the biggest challenges was driving it around crowded New York city streets, especially Times Square on the back of a trailer. Plus, the post-production of layering these elements up was a pretty complicated process.
DD: Why New York at night?
JW: The song has a dark tonal quality. Using the rig in NYC at night made this video. We love the mysterious quality of the song, and thought the techniques we worked with were an interesting way to introduce Matthew in an abstract, but not gratuitously abstract, way.
Dazed Digital: So, Matthew, how did it feel to be a proper singing frontman in a video? With a mic stand, and your hair blowing and everything? Did you have a stylist?
Matthew Dear: Well, it was quite the experience! I had heard all about the concept of the shoot, but when I saw the camera-truck rig for the first time, and realised that it was a go, a few nerves kicked in. I had had a haircut recently, so there wasn't really too much to blow around that night. And no, I didn't have a stylist, but I have heard that the clothes are much cheaper – if not free – if you have one. That might be the next step for me.
DD: How self-conscious did you feel hanging off the back of a truck while singing?
MD: We drove through Times Square with me totally exposed. In fact, I was heckled so much that it was almost easier to displace myself from the whole experience, sort of go out-of-body - just me and the song in my head.
DD: What were they shouting at you? Were you traumatised?
MD: Mostly tourists, and bums, and the strange New York types that hang out in Times Square for some reason. I had an in earpiece for the playback, and I wasn't really singing out loud - there was no reason to. I remember someone yelling at me to sing out loud! But that only would have garnered more unwanted attention. There was a bum that tried to take a ride with us, and we cut off some arrogant girls in a white limo - most likely a rental. They started riding us pretty hard, glaring, and then zipped around to cut us off. So, our police escort gave them a verbal lashing and made them leave. Don't rent a car and cruise up and down Times Square.
DD: We won't. So, what are your thoughts on your song being used on the Hummer ad?
MD: Well, I'm sitting in my recently-upgraded studio...
"Don and Sherri" is out now on Ghostly International.
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