About a week ago, Boys Noize dropped the new video for “ICH R U,” in which we found ourselves immersed in a world in which computer keyboard keys adorn every physical object, including the protagonist who has been affectionately dubbed “Keyboy” by the video’s creators Patrick Jean and Sebastien Loghman. The world that Keyboy occupies appears to be an ever-existant parallel dimension until he breaks through to the real world and finds himself in the woods, surrounded by organic material that contrasts with his own form. That poignant shift flashes by in an instant, taking effect on the viewer immediately, but the preparation of that world was a painstaking process that took hours of labor, some inventive shooting, and the innocent lives of more than 200 computer keyboards.
What we have here is a behind-the-scenes look of how this video came to life, how Keyboy came to earth, and how to gather a bulk of discarded computer parts on short notice. We spoke with Jean and Loghman about the video’s creation, and flipped through their countless photos of the process.
Odd and creative gentlemen that they are, they responded both as individuals, and as a group.
The Creators Project: How many keyboards did you have to dismantle for this video?
Jean and Loghman: We used more than 200 recycled keyboards. Most of them were found by Brice, our amazing prop designer. He called every garbage dump around Paris to collect them!
How much of the video is stop motion and how much is live action? Any CG?
Jean: The only CG part is the middle sequence, as the Keygirl appears inside the screen and talks to Keyboy, and also the very short Pac-Man scene in the beginning. The letters are made in CG, but the computer has been built for real.
Who was the lucky guy who got to wear the keyboard suit, and did he give you any feedback on what it was like in there?
Jean and Loghman: Actor Gildas Loupiac was the lucky guy inside the costume in 100°F (38°C) heat under the summer sun in the forest. We had to remove the helmet every five minutes, otherwise the chances were high we’d have to look for another actor. Seriously, Gildas was great, extremely friendly and patient, as he even helped build the costume and cut/paste keys for more than a month.
Did someone in fashion advise you on the style and construction of the suit?
Jean and Loghman: No, we used the good old DIY method.
Jean: I found the helmet on eBay for $30, and also contributed the gloves, a pair of Converse shoes for the first version, and the pants.
Loghman: I contributed the costume, the shirt, and the final Converse shoes you see in the video.
How long did it take to make it?
Jean and Loghman: It took a month to complete the props and sets, three days shooting with Keyboy, and one entire day just for the stop-motion shot of the big rock getting covered with computer keys. Then we had one week of post.
Were you constantly losing keys off the suit throughout the shoot?
Jean and Loghman: No, thanks to prop designer Brice, that wasn’t a major issue. Of course, we did some corrections while shooting, but that was never too problematic.
What is the command that turns everything colors in the middle of the video?
Loghman: It’s a secret code embedded in every keyboard since the existence of keyboards.
Jean: I cannot reveal it now, because I would have to type it on my keyboard, and everything would turn dark and disco in my house. Plus, it’s irreversible, and I don’t like disco that much.
At the end we get a glimpse of a mountain of discarded computer parts. Clearly not enough people recycle them as you guys do. Is there a larger message you’d like to communicate with this imagery?
Jean and Loghman: We don’t like to tell the viewer what he should think. But, OK, here is an interpretation we like:
Keyboy is enclosed in his so-called virtual world and doesn’t realize everything he does in there, the fun he has playing with his toys, musical instruments and the rest, it has consequences in the outside world, i.e. nature. A mysterious female human figure appears in the monitor and reminds him that “ICH R U,” which means “I am you.” It opens a gate. Later, Keyboy realizes there’s something else other than his cocoon and that he can affect an outside world he didn’t even know about before. Moreover, the skull is not only an allusion to Boys Noize symbol but also to vanity. And now, time to watch the video again and give your own interpretation!
Feel free to drop your own interpretation in the comments section, and below check out our original profile on Boys Noize!