Clara Casey’s video for her single “Physical” is our latest obsession. The electro-pop artist complements her vintage, 80s-esque sound and sensual lyrical content with scenes from her hometown, New York City. The video’s color palette is entrancing and truly captures the dynamics of a longing for more from a passionate physical connection. We had the chance to catch up with Clara to talk about the making of the video.
Tell us the story of this song, why did you choose to visualize this song specifically?
I wrote ‘Physical’ after realizing a relationship I was in would never move beyond just sex. The song is a reflection on our first date, how the night wound up, my hopes for what could have been, and the realization that those hopes would never become a reality. I wanted him to see the things about me that make me who I am, but, to put in bluntly, he only wanted to see me naked.
I’m the type of person who needs to fully process everything about a relationship before I can move past it, and writing ‘Physical’ helped me do that. There are so many feelings that get mixed up in relationships: joy, pain, sadness, regret, rejection, relief…the list goes on. I had to feel all of those feelings again to write this song, and ultimately that left me with a feeling of independence. And that’s the feeling that I really wanted to highlight in the music video.
My hopes for ‘Physical’ is that it inspires young women to be strong, independent, unashamed of their sexuality, and unafraid to walk away from someone who doesn’t give them what they want and deserve.
What was the inspiration behind this video (visuals, storyline, etc.)?
The song itself has obvious sexual undertones and I wanted to touch on them without being too overt. I also wanted to use New York as a backdrop. I grew up in the Bronx and identify so strongly with the city that it felt natural for my first video. In hindsight I should have plotted out more of a storyline, but I’m really happy with the final product. It was a bit of a happy accident, but I love the feeling of independence that runs through the video. I’m singing about a sexual relationship, but there’s really nothing sexual about the visuals. It’s just me being a strong, independent woman moving on from a failed relationship.
I think we ended up capturing the process of moving on in that I’m just walking around the city processing my emotions. It’s a reflection of life. When you’re going through a breakup, or the end of any relationship, life doesn’t stop. You have to keep moving through it while moving through your emotions.
In terms of the visuals I knew I wanted something moody. I also wanted the images to be sort of choppy to compliment the rhythm of the song, and I think my director, Solo Koo, really achieved that. Because there was no official “storyline” the locations were very important. I did some research and scouted out the most beautiful and interesting spots in New York and Brooklyn, and off we went.
What was the process of making this video?
It was really DIY. I drove us around and my best friend worked as our production assistant. Without him we really wouldn’t have been able to shoot. Parking in New York is insane so it was a lot of him waiting in the car, Solo and I jumping out to shoot, jumping back in, shooting while I drove to the next location, and repeating the process for three days. It was such hard work, but I loved every minute of it.
The last scene we shot was the one in Times Square and it ended up being the one that sticks out most in my memory. I was singing along to the music coming from a Bluetooth speaker in my pocket. I had to block everything out, which included another music video being shot 20 feet away from me, people stopping to stare and sometimes comment, and everything else that goes on in Times Square. (It was also like 30 degrees and windy.) It all felt so real. I was actually living out my dreams and making a music video for a song I had created completely on my own. And there was something about being in Times Square that magnified the feeling of accomplishment.
One aspect that made the process particularly hard was that we started shooting five days after my nephew was born. He was so sick that on the first day of shooting I wasn’t sure if he was going to survive. I’ll never forget the feeling after reading a text from my mom telling me that he made it through surgery. We had just wrapped up the first day of shooting, so it was a combination of intense relief and overwhelming joy. (He’s doing great now, by the way.)
There are definitely things that I would do differently knowing what I know now, but the only way to learn is to do. And I certainly learned a lot from making this video.
I walk by, you don’t notice, then I’m gone
I breathe in deeply as I let go of what I want
I used to hope that we could be something deeper
Than the night we met when we were
Caught up in the physical, conversation deep until it stopped
With a look you gave to me you pulled my heartstrings
And then you made me want to do things
Anything you wanted to
I was game and so were you
So I didn’t think it through
I just, I just
Got caught up in the physical, caught up in the physical
Caught up in the physical, caught up for a bit, but now I’m gone
There’s some things I don’t show you because I know
You don’t see past the skin on me, but I won’t
Let it rip me up no more, was torn to pieces
That you chose to only see things
That you really wanted to, first I know you saw, but then you stopped
Made yourself believe that I was just another
Typa girl who you shouldn’t bother
Looking deeper to my soul
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