fashion insiders’ favourite music video: joe casely-hayford
In an ongoing series of regular interviews, i-D invites our music-loving fashion friends to select and dissect their ultimate inspirational pop videos.
A designer whose work has routinely graced the pages of i-D since way back in the 80s, Joe Casely-Hayford (OBE) is one of our long-established favourites.
Collaborating throughout the current decade with his son, Charlie, under the Casely- Hayford name, the London-based duo successfully continue to invigorate today's menswear landscape with their dedication to modern craft, underpinned by dynamic ideas and diverse references. During the coming weeks they will be launching Casely-Hayford X Barney's New York Japan collection, in addition to a womenswear archival and made to measure collection. The father and son will also feature in an upcoming exhibition on black designers launching in NY in December, as well as a new exhibition at NPG and parallel TV series on BBC2 called Black is the New Black, launching simultaneously on 3 November.
Joe is a lifelong music enthusiast, who in his early career dressed bands including The Clash and U2, and now ranks Mos Def and Drake among high profile fans of Casely-Hayford. Here, he chooses and discusses his all time favourite music video - the unforgettable 1997 Chris Cunningham-directed nerve-jangler for Come to Daddy, by electronic-sonic pioneer, Aphex Twin (real name Richard D. James).
"I have always been a huge music fan, with a range of various sources to the latest new material; a network of like-minded friends, some very specific independent music stores and publications kept me on point before the dawn of the internet.
I was aware of Richard James and his music from the early '90s pretty much when he released his first work. This was an awesome period for me in terms of discovering new music. Labels like Warp and Mo Wax spoke to people like me, they drew on Hip Hop and dance influences and skewed them with left field concepts. This was a very British moment for new music. I would exchange cassettes with the wonderful Jason Evans, a key i-D contributor, and it was through receiving one of these tapes that I really got into Aphex Twin; listening to Selected Ambient Works. I hated that it was being called intelligent dance music, although it was so multi layered you could hear something new with each listen.
When I first saw the Come to Daddy video it was a Saturday morning and I was at home chilling with my young daughter, when the video came on MTV! It was a little unexpected and completely unlike their usual output. When the Skinny man screamed at the little old lady my daughter ran out of the room.
I had heard and got the record ahead of release, before seeing the video. I was preparing for a runway show during Paris Fashion Week. The theme of my collection was The Hidden Camera, I was looking at the rise in surveillance culture. England was a hugely divided country. This was just after the time of the 1994 Criminal Justice act which was introduced to suppress the activities of certain strands of alternative culture; prohibiting football fan culture, raves, Hunt Sabotage and free parties!
I heard this track and loved it. It would also provide the perfect soundtrack to my show; the closest thing to digital death metal if such a genre exists. We held the show in an underground carpark, the models wore anoraks like the characters in the video, with skinny jeans - this was new at the time - and white Monkey boots like trainers. This track exemplifies the Aphex Twin genius, a simultaneous sonic assault combined with an underlying sentimentality and accessibility.
This was Chris Cunningham's first mainstream video. He had just come from working with Stanley Kubrick, who had shot his seminal film A Clockwork Orange on the same Thamesmead Estate. Clearly the dystopian influences were there. The video and music were perfectly synched; one of the most successful collaborations of that decade.
James is adept at fusing sometimes naïve, sentimental motifs with full-on unapologetic mayhem, I always see the dark humorous side of his work as dominant and this video is no exception. Cunningham came with something fresh and anarchic, approached with the style, vision and precision of his mentor Stanley Kubrick, his interpretation, use of filters and prosthetics were like nothing I had seen before. I loved the way that Cunningham was not interested in selling some banal, unattainable synthetic dream. This dystopian vision of London took its cue from, and magnified certain realities of a then broken and divided society.This was visceral and poignant stuff in contrast to the usual expectations of a pop video. The direction is immense. The landscape has been cleverly utilised to convey a dark foreboding message.
For me this is Chris Cunningham at his best. The use of cultural metaphors is first rate, his synchronising action with the score is exemplary. The pairing of these two artists at this point in their careers makes this one of the great pop videos.
This video is packed full of visually powerful moments, many of which are so brilliantly realised that they stand up as seminal still images. From the opening shots when the old lady walks her dog, then the picture quality is filtered as if through a low colour resolution monitor… every vignette is perfectly executed.
The timing of video brought together two artists at their most inventive. Today it may seem a little dated but it perfectly defined that time. The Thamesmead estate may have gone but the way the energy is captured will always touch each new generation; this is the mark of a great work of art. When I watch it now, I feel a certain nostalgia but also a non-corporate energy and excitement which sometimes seem to be slipping through our fingers."
Text James Anderson