Video Voyeur: 3Qs with SAFFELL

Saffell has quickly become one of our favorite artists of the year with his intriguing new record, and now his glorious new video for “Be The Love That You Need.” His enchanting sound is elegantly placed with the video that brings a whole new level of life to Saffell’s buzzing sound. We caught up with Saffell regarding his new video and every detail within.

Tell us the story of this song, why did you choose to visualize this song specifically?

The initial inspiration for the song came one evening several years ago after attending the funeral of a friend who committed suicide. He was a musician and music teacher. I was in my music studio with my wife that evening and we were sharing memories of him and I was sitting and tinkering on the piano. Out of nowhere the main chorus riff just came out. The song is not about him directly but more about that despair many people feel. It’s about the endless searching outside of ourselves to fill a need that seems is never fully, authentically fulfilled until we are comfortable in our own skin and can know our self worth beyond just the ego. Its just a reminder for my own self as much as anything. As far as why I chose to visualize this video, that was a hard decision because I would love to make a video for all 13 songs on the new album. I gave the film director 3 song options and asked which was more inspiring to him because I wanted his creativity involved as well. We settled on “Be The Love”, and at the time I did not have a story plan for the video yet, that would come later.

 

What was the inspiration behind this video(visuals, storyline, etc.)?
The inspiration behind the visuals was to use visual metaphor to show the critical, negative self- talk that can go on in our minds and create our own hell. The women on either side of me while I’m sitting represents those incessant conscious or unconscious thought like, “You’ll never make it”, “Your not good enough”, “What the hell did you do that for?”, and so on. Bringing the candle to their feet represents bringing awareness and attention to those thoughts and consciously witnessing what is going on inside of us. And then that awareness leading to more perspective, seeing more clearly as represented by finding my way up the ladder and into “the light” as I go up to the roof. There are of course many more subtitles and complexities to this kind of journey toward healing. My own journey is still a work in progress. But I have faced a lot of my own demons and wanted to try and use visuals to show a piece of that.

What was the process of making this video?

We shot the entire video in one day at an empty warehouse in Oakland Ca. Their were 7 of us that day, the director, Jamie DeWolf, the lighting designer Cody Martin, the drone and steady cam operator, Adam Parmalee, the two dancers Emily Cox and Alyssa Decarro, myself and my wife Lara who helped in all manner of smaller logistics. About two weeks before the video shoot the whole story line came to me all at once. I even got involved in making a list of specific shot angles because I could see what I wanted so clearly in my head. I met with the dancers ahead of time to work out what would be happening in the video and they came up with a lot of great ideas. I also met with the director ahead of time and we made plan of how to get all the shots we wanted. He was great because he knew what was actually possible verses some of my ideas which sounded good but were not doable on my budget. It was a very full and very busy day of shooting to try and get through all the shots. I didn’t realize until we were shooting that my list of ideas to capture was a bit ambitious. This was February and it was freezing inside the warehouse. We would shoot for a few minutes with the girls in their dresses and in-between my wife would run over and bring them big coats while the film crew changed a lens or discussed some logistical matter. But everyone stayed in good spirits and we worked as a team. We shot in several locations inside the warehouse as well as outside and on the roof. While we were shooting in one scene, Cody the lighting designer would be running and hustling to set up lighting for the next scene to shoot in another space. Everyone worked really hard and for me it was fun to see how a real film crew operated. There were a few things that didn’t work, like the shot where I was going to drop or throw a candle in a glass vase and catch the breakage in slow motion. After setting up all the lighting and all the cameras (which is a lot of work) to capture the shot, the glass vase bounced and then broke but out of frame of the camera because it bounced to far away. There was no back up vase so you just move on to the next shot. Then there is the process of editing which is a massive job trying to take all this footage and assemble it into a cohesive story. I met with Jamie the director a few times to weigh in on some of the editing. In the process you find certain shots you spent a lot of work on can’t be used due to some logistical error, like when the flying drone camera got too close to me, its motor was so loud I couldn’t hear the backing track of the song and my singing would get out of sync, so the footage gets tossed. I actually enjoy the editing process, I am the type that can withstand that kind of attention to detail for hours on end. All in all everyone involved did a great job and it was definitely a collective effort. I am happy with the results and hope people enjoy it.

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