Listening to Modeselektor and Thom Yorke‘s collaboration “This,” the lyrics are as ambiguous as the title. We don’t know exactly what “This” is, but the mood of the melody and the haltingly hectic pace of the drumbeat certainly invoke of gloom that is hard to miss. It was this strain of darkness that FutureDeluxe latched onto when creating the video for “This.” Turning the song into a soundtrack for a brief abstract narrative, FutureDeluxe utilized the eeriness of marionettes, placing a lonely central character in the midst of toys and dolls that would actually seem like fun under a more flattering light. But no, this is spooky. And then suddenly the psychedelics kick in.
We caught up with Andrew Jones of FutureDeluxe to discuss the conception and making of the “This” video.
The Creators Project: There seems to be an abstract narrative at work in the video. What exactly is the story of the video? How does it relate to the song by Modeselektor and Thom Yorke?
Andrew Jones: Absolutely. The whole nature of the track is pretty abstract, and fairly dark and twisted so thats where the initial vibe of the video came from. We had this fascination at the time with street entertainers, and in particular puppeteers. The story stemmed from this. It’s about a troubled girl “marionettist” who communicates and plays out her life and dreams through her marionette. The question is, who’s controlling who?
In what ways does the video channel or relate to the song?
Again the whole dark and jerky feel of the track felt so right when we started toying with the idea of using marionettes, the way the track seems to be pulled back and fourth and the overall chopped up style of Thom Yorke’s vocals.
Is all the puppetry in the video analog, or is there some CG element to the puppets?
We’ll leave that one up to you to decide!
The video has a dark and gloomy aesthetic that reminds me of Tool and The Brothers Quay. Are there any particular influences that inspired this video?
Thats a really good reference but not one which we used originally. We loved that street puppet scene from Being John Malkovich. There is something so endearing but slightly creepy about hand carved wooden marionettes. So, we went on a mission to find someone who could create that style of marionette that we wanted. We found a very talented marionettist in Hackney, London who hand carves these beautiful traditional puppets. As soon as we saw this marionette come to life it all started to fall into place.
The 3D animated portion of the video appears as though it could stand alone. Which component came first, the animation or the live action?
Ha yeah! We made a decision early on to make it change style halfway through the promo. We always had this idea about the girl breaking out of her troubled life, like an abstract dream scene where she escapes to her younger happier childhood. I was keen to have more than one visual style included in the promo.
The raining hair clumps at the end raised a few questions for us. What happened? How did our puppeteer protagonist meet this end?
The raining clumps of hair has raised a few questions for us too… They are feathers! Stuffing from her toys.