This video is a short story about letting go of the things in life that haunt you and weigh you down, and finding a release in those very places where you feel trapped.
As soon as I heard the new tracks by Apologies, I Have None I was inspired. I’ve known the guys for quite a while, and their passionate and melodic forthcoming debut album, London, is a great leap on from their earlier tracks. It cements them as one of the most powerful up-and-coming groups in the UK punk scene, alongside the likes of Bangers, Above Them, Great Cynics and so on.
In time-honored punk style the video is practically zero budget. There was no lighting, no crew, and I used all of my own equipment to shoot the video. I chose vinyl as a beautiful, emotionally loaded and freely available canvas for symbols in the piece. I kept everything gritty and down to earth, and chose to underplay the ‘odd’ part of the narrative to the point where, though it’s not ‘realistic’ as such, it feels as real as it can. Perhaps it turned out like so because I was more influenced more by the gritty, shaky camera British kitchen-sink drama that I love (Shane Meadows and co) than I was by other promos.
I shot over two (long) days. One day on location in my hometown, a ’60s overspill full of pebble-dashed estates, and the second in the wonderfully bedraggled Walton On-the-naze. Walton is a typical British seaside town: fading, idiosyncratic and melancholy. It also benefits from some spectacular natural scenery. The first day was just me and my actor Sam Russo (also the driver), while my friend Matthew Swaby came a long on the second day to take some 2nd camera shots and help out in general. I think our only expenses were petrol and a bit of food.
The way I see it, if you don’t have cash, you have to work with what you do have, rather than battle to create something that isn’t achievable without it. There are powerful elements that don’t have to cost anything: ideas, passion and performance. Ideas work best when you can feel the song in your bones, when it really moves you and conjures up a world within you, when it taps into your passion for music and the moving image. Performances work best if the performer has a real connection with the piece, and knowing Sam well I knew that recent events would enable him to really be the character, by drawing on true experience. No false motivation required.
Working together so closely and practically in private allowed us to concentrate on keeping things very real. Once I’d created the narrative (which actually evolved quite a bit as Sam and I talked, traveled, listened, sang and shot together), the band bought a load of cheap charity shop vinyl and, along with their painfully talented illustrator Ema Smith, painted the symbols. I had a short conversation suggesting what the records represented, some images I’d like to see, and then left them to it, and love the results.
Tech wise, I used a 550D with Magic Lantern, a Sony HX9v and minimal rigging: just a tripod, Gorrillapod, LCDVF and a plastic handle for the sony. Light rigging enabled high work speed, quick movement and guerrilla tactics. The downside is that your post-production time inevitably increases as you tame the footage. Adobe CS5.5 and Colorista II were used for editing and post.
So here you have it: DIY, no money, no permission, all heart, all soul. I hope you enjoy it!
Be sure to catch both Apologies and Sam Russo on tour, you will not be disappointed. Or catch them and most of the other bands mentioned here at Manchfester II, it’s gonna be epic.
J G Harding