David Knight - 12th Nov 2014

At the UK Music Video Awards on Monday (November 10th) Emily Kai Bock collected the MVA for Best Alternative Video - International for her Arcade Fire video for After Life, and then gave a passionate acceptance speech, boldly arguing the superiority of music videos over feature films as big screen entertainment.

And there's no doubt her latest music video, for Lorde's Yellow Flicker Beat - a song on the soundtrack of the latest from the latest Hunger Games movie - would be a feast on a big screen. In a series of beautifully-crafted scenes, she has brought the big, widescreen stylised elements evident in her Arcade Fire and Magical Cloudz promos into the realm of the proper pop video.

From the pompadoured Lorde bathed in the cherry hues of a neon motel sign to the dark party scene, Emily has created a series of arresting vignettes that make a serious statement about the precociously-talented New Zealander (this video's release was timed to coincide with her 18th birthday last week) as an independently-minded pop star. And together, the pair have created a video that is a real reflection of Lorde's artistic ambitions. 

“Ella [Lorde] emailed me during the summer while she was on tour with Magical Cloudz, who I made a video for a couple years ago," says Emily. I was amazed that she would reach out to me directly. Usually with such a big-name artist, there is a team of people you have to go through, but she kept a close connection to me from start to finish - from feedback on the treatment to editing notes, we were in constant touch.

As for the inspiration behind the video, Emily explains, “Ella is a true collaborator. She had sent me a reference video of Mae West being interviewed by Dick Cavett. In the clip, Dick Cavett walks across a massive airplane hanger to this tiny lit set, where Mae West is reclining in this chair - it's a really surreal interview setting.”

“I wrote her a treatment with a bunch of these kind of set ideas, of things that could live within a dark void of a large vacant space, under a singular light - a motel room, a confessional, a chandelier, a streetlamp, and so on - and she loved it.  I was really excited about the idea of using black as a way to transition between the worlds, losing the context of what is exterior and what is interior.”

Due to Lorde’s busy touring schedule, the exteriors were shot in north New Jersey, and the interiors in the Park Avenue Armory during New York Fashion Week - and between the Marc Jacobs and Tommy Hilfiger shows.

Emily says, “We would wrap set and she would get on her tour bus to drive overnight to a new city and play a show. She didn't seem tired though. There was one scene where she had to fall off a four-foot platform onto these mats repeatedly, and she was really excited about it. I think even complained that the platform wasn't higher.”

PRO Credits


DirectorEmily Kai Bock
Production CompanyIconoclast
Executive ProducerKathleen Heffernan
ProducerJohn Nguyen
Director of PhotographyEvan Prosofsky
Production designerInbal Weinberg
EditorEmily Kai Bock
VFXEric Schwalbe
VFXDulany Foster
Post production companyCrew Cuts
Director's Rep (UK)Somesuch

David Knight - 12th Nov 2014

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