flyte just put out the most aesthetically pleasing video you’ll see this week
With a song inspired by Ken Loach and a Wes Anderson-style video made by young director Femke Huurdeman, from Barcelona’s coolest production company CANADA, Flyte have found the formula for success. We went along for the ride and watched on from behind...
Nostalgia pop at its finest, (and referencing Kate Bush's epic smash, Wuthering Heights), Cathy Come Home is the impressive first single from Flyte's fast approaching debut album, The Loved Ones, out 25 August on Island Records. The group -- drummer Jon Supran, bassist Nick Hill, and guitarist Will Taylor, met back in school, before finding Sam Berridge busking at Tottenham Court Road station, as you do. Flyte have more harmonies than you can shake a stick at and lyrics that conjure up coming-of-age movies via production from Courtney Barnett collaborator Burke Reid.
"Cathy Come Home is kind of based on a friend from school who had super conservative and overbearing parents and she had this older boyfriend who was really controlling and violent," frontman Will tells us as we walk through Barcelona en route to a meeting with the video director Femke Huurdeman. "We were also watching excessive amounts of Ken Loach when we wrote the song. He does this amazing thing where he makes you feel that the people in his films aren't actors."
To direct the video, Flyte called on 25-year-old Amsterdam based director Femke Huurdeman, after being won over (as we were) by her minute long video of cats rotating on a disco ball-lit podium, aka heaven. Her other work does it for us too, from short art film Faux Chaud -- an 80s synth fest with naked bodies moving under coloured lights to Dog Days for Missoni, a sleepy Sofia Coppola Somewhere-esque short in which a bored teenage girl left home alone with her dalmatian takes down the gardener with a catapult while dressed in various autumn/winter 16 looks. Femke rules, basically.
Newly represented by collective turned-production-company CANADA, she's a new addition to the team -- who are behind Tame Impala's VMA-nominated The Less I Know The Better. While they now have offshoots in London and Paris, the mothership is a 1960s office straight out of Mad Men, perched high above the streets of Barcelona with views right down to the sea. No wonder they're inspired.
It's shoot day and after a very early call time, the four handsome members of Flyte are lounging about the old Velodrom d'Horta in the hills just outside the city. The location is a sun-faded pastel dream, a paradise for fans of Wes Anderson and users of Instagram alike. The facilities are ageing with the same nostalgic charm as the song itself and, Nick, Jon, Will and Sam look like they've walked straight off the set of The Talented Mr Ripley.
"It's the first time we've not actually been in control of a music video," Nick says, taking a break from the sun. "It's a relief actually. Nerve wracking, but a relief." Cast and crew head down to a makeshift studio set-up in an old wooden gymnasium in the bowels of the velodrome for individual portraits and a series of delicate, intimate shots of The Girl. "She's this mysterious woman," Femke explains. "There's a sense that it's this girl they're singing about, but we're avoiding a full on narrative. It's not a story about Cathy."
Femke is impressively chill on set, never shouting and only making the boys stand in the sun until just about melting. The whole process is very collaborative and feels a lot like hanging out with friends and making a school media project -- except, with thousands of pounds worth of equipment, a 20-strong crew and loads of experience. After an ice cream break, it's over to the maze in Parc del Laberint d'Horta. Turns out both Femke and the band are big Kubrick fans, so we all know why we're here (hello Overlook Hotel in The Shining!). Though instead of snow-topped and icy, this maze is sits under a bright blue sky and intense sun.
"It's such a pretentious thing to say, but we want the video to be timeless," Will says. "We were trying to do that with the music too, always being true to our influences, which are all quite throwback. I mean, we listen to Grizzly Bear, Tame Impala and Mac Demarco too, but we like them because they're referencing the things that we're referencing." Looking over the scene, Femke remembers listening to the song for the very first time. "You know what? I immediately had these visuals in mind," she tells us. "I tried not to listen to the lyrics actually. It can limit you a lot because you begin thinking in words, so I'd rather not. It felt really nostalgic and a little melancholic, and I think the video will too." This is the result.
Text Frankie Dunn
Photography Femke Huurdeman