When faced with the prospect of making a video for “Hair Receding” off of my debut album Magic Trix , our wiley team of creative cohorts and I were all a bit baffled as to what it should be. There were discussions about receding movements: blinds and curtains being drawn, skirts being pulled up, the ocean tides, time lapse of hair being lost. None of these seemed quite right.
But when director Francesco Lettieri sent his test of perspectives using the GoPro camera strapped to various parts of his body, we knew we were on to something. Magnifying what seems to be unimportant and showing it from as many perspectives as possible- diiiing! Then, on to find the protagonist. Someone who would be simple, raw, real, an unlikely star, nostalgic, expressive and instantly endearing- I almost immediately thought of my grandmother Carmen.
The video was shot in my hometown of Hartford, CT. It begins in Carmen’s apartment and continues on Park Street, a gathering place for the large Latino community of the city. We found people to be mostly unaffected by the shoot despite one passerby saying in Spanish,”Those are the same cameras they use to go the Moon, maybe that lady is going to the Moon!” The shoot sometimes became an experiment in surrealism as we walked around town with my grandmother looking like some kind of space/urban explorer.
Carmen wore 9 GoPros as she went about her daily business (2 back, 2 arms, 2 feet, 2 chest, 1 face). The great people of FotoCare built us an awesome rig with a lightweight pipe to house the camera filming her face. All throughout the shoot we had no idea if what we were doing would actually work, or if we would even make it through the weekend of filming.
Lettieri, co-producer/drummer Marco Buccelli and myself shot the video in 2 days, with a rigorous documentary-style schedule. We collaborated on a rough plan, allowing for improvisation along the way. Carmen was a real trooper and impressed us all with her willingness to experiment and make a scene in public.
So far our collaborations with Lettieri have all mainly operated on a great deal of risk taking and spur-of-the-moment, last-minute shoots. (See Pan y Cafe featuring a GoPro taped to a mountain bike on training wheels all filmed in a continous 12-hour shoot before driving him to the airport). The magic editing team of Valeria Sapienza and color grader Salvatore Landi are a force to be reckoned with, bringing our 9 cameras worth of experimental footage together and into a cohesive, vivid 5 minute film. We couldn’t be more proud of the result!