watch shamir’s new video for 'darker'
Plus, we talk with the video's director, Anthony Sylvester, about shooting it with drones in Joshua Tree.
Up-and-coming XL-signee Shamir has just released a video for his new single Darker, the latest in a series of collaborations with director Anthony Sylvester. The film features the singer alone in the middle of the desert, and was shot using drones. As Shamir sings the uplifting chorus, the moody indigo night turns to day, and then seamlessly back again, aided effortlessly by the aerial acrobatics of the camerawork. Anthony told us more about his drone film-making process.
Tell us about the process of the Darker video — was it shot entirely using drones?
Yeah, it's all shot on drones, flown by the uber-talented team we worked with, Pier Pictures out in LA. My Assistant Director and I flew out to Vegas, picked up Shamir in Northtown, and drove through the desert for four hours late night to Joshua Tree to meet them. It was freaky as hell, but we totally loved every second of it.
You've directed a few music videos featuring Shamir, how did the collaboration come about?
Shamir's first label Godmode is run by my older brother Nick, who's his producing collaborator on the upcoming album. Dumb luck you might say. Shamir's basically the sixth Sylvester at this point.
The desert setting is key in the Darker video. What is it about a location that makes you want to commit it to film?
I usually envision a setting first when hearing a song. It sticks in my head and I can't break it. Darker seemed inseparable from a desert atmosphere: the solitude, the ruggedness. Hell, an opportunity to spend a weekend in Joshua Tree was enough for me!
What are your earliest memories of film or music videos?
Believe it or not Police Academy 4 is the first standout film for me. Something about its really whimsical and wacky tone, with a cool gritty 80s film stock stuck with me at the tender age of four. I really didn't get into music videos until the 2000s when I started to work in southern hip hop at Asylum Records on Lil Boosie and Webbie videos.
How would you describe your visual style?
It's constantly evolving, but I'd definitely say ambience is a pretty integral theme. Colors are everything. It pretty much always depends on the concept and whatever filming techniques I'm obsessing over at the moment.
What advice can you give to young filmmakers?
Always experiment, and work on a range of genres and styles. Shoot videos with your phone, then go shoot a commercial on a RED. Go back and shoot something scrappy on a GoPro. Don't get too holed up in honing in on ultra high quality work - I find it limiting if that's all you obsess about in the end. Just have fun and enjoy the process first and foremost.