Great news! Ever believe that a video can sell a song? I have this idea that some songs are made better by the right video, and I've been crazy about "Dog days are over" all spring and summer. In fact ever since I first saw the video for it, directed by Legs’ Georgie Greville & Geremy Jasper via Rokkit. Florence as some sort of magical witch-shaman, who dances about love and brings forth beehived purple women, drumming giants and cape-clad harp players added visual poetry to the already poetic lyrics. Please let it win MTV's video of the year: Granted "Bad Romance" and "Telephone" are good contenders too, my my the ladies are on top this year aren't they?
Read more for a Q&A with Legs' Georgie Greville & Geremy Jasper on Florence and the Machine’s “Dog Days are Over”
Q: Tell me about how this job came to you.
A: It’s been a long strange process getting to this video. “Dog Days” was actually the fourth video by Florence that we (Geremy Jasper and Georgie Greville of Legs) have written for. Our ideas in the past seemed to be too far out - they included Joan of Arc, volcanoes, vaudeville, and Saint Agatha (the nun often depicted with her breasts on a plate). We wrote a really exciting script for “Cosmic Love” about an intergalactic romance somewhere between Love Story and E.T. that almost happened, until the record company changed the single to “Dog Days Are Over.” At the 11th hour we pulled it off.
Q: Tell me about the creative process – whose vision is it?
A: The vision and direction was a collaboration between Georgie Greville (Legs) and Geremy Jasper (Legs). The core of the concept was to create a religious experience that erupted into a smoky psychedelic riot. Each musical element of the song was personified by a group of colorful characters. We wanted to build an orchestra that combined our love for 60's girl groups, Hinduism, gospel choirs, drum circles, paganism and pyrotechnics.
Q: How was working with Florence?
A: Florence was a great supporter from the get go. Our original treatment had her playing each character herself. Flo couldn’t stand only seeing herself so we changed it up. She let us run from there. Also she is the most charismatic performer we’ve ever seen. Every time the camera rolled she was jaw droppingly amazing. A force of nature who trusted us.
Q: The styling is amazing. Tell me about what inspired it.
A: Florence's role as the shamanic center of religious elation and primal release necessitated that her costumes create a bigger, more fantastical and original persona for her. Each look is a different magical deity: Ethereal Angel, Kabuki Sex Monk and Tribal Soul Saver. The porcelain skin and technical makeup using saturated colors really helped to give her that other worldly feel as well as make her pop against the white back drop. At times she really reminded us of David Bowie from the Ziggy Stardust days, which was thrilling. Her backup dancers were a mix of the Ronettes and Vishnu.
Q: Tell me about the shoot.
A: The whole experience was extremely Felliniesque. The set was full of African drummers, young children, an authentic Pagan (who had delivered his own children), dancers painted blue wearing high beehives, high fashion superstar makeup and hair artists, huge harps, and a hilarious choreographer who was the star of his own reality TV show. It was the best intersection of talent and madness.
Two days earlier Florence had won the Brit Award (the British Grammy) for Album of the Year so all eyes were on her. MTV was there making a behind the scenes and Georgie and Geremy were on a campy reality show about London’s famous dance studio. The whole scene had the demented glamour, drums and drama that Legs' dreams are made of.
Q: Are there visual effects in the video? Please tell me what was shot in camera and what was done in post.
A: We had extensive pre-production meetings about this with our team at Lost Planet in NYC, and all agreed to get as much as we possibly could in camera. Since we didn't have the budget to cast as many people as we could, we were forced to shoot green screen, reproduce and composite a good amount, so we wanted to balance that out with as many practical elements as possible so that the video felt authentic and full. We shot a variation of takes of each member of each group and then reproduced them as need be for the master comp shots. We also shot the colored smoke, rock, shrapnel, feather and glitter elements and then added to those in post. We shot some explosions as well, but the ones we ended up using are largely created in post by the artists at Lost Planet.