Friday, 17 February 2012

DIGITAL WORDS / Making The Video - Summer Camp

Behind The Scenes With Summer Camp HERE

It’s a dull, drizzly, grey Thursday morning in Cambridge Heath, East London. Tucked away in a small, unsuspecting studio, with only a quickly scrawled sign on the door outside to signify it, Summer Camp are making their dream music video.


IDOL: “If money and taste were no object, what would the ultimate Summer Camp video be like?”

*(IDOL visualises our own dream music video; an out-of-this-world location, slick costumes and a life affirming dance routine of inimitable choreography – a Michael Jackson short film, essentially.)*

Elizabeth Sankey: “This. This is pretty much our dream video.”

The concept for the video all came from director Ollie Evans, whose previous work includes videos for Tom Vek, Foals and The Gossip amongst many others. A collection of rather dated and awkward looking year book photos serve as the key motivation for the shoot with the band and extras recreating those flinchingly embarrassing school photos we all wish were never taken. Elizabeth is using the memories of one particularly scarring school photographer who insisted she expose her teeth and braces with a wide smile, as her onscreen inspiration. The video has a distinctly retro feel to it, keeping in line with the band’s very defined aesthetics which they have established with the artwork of their music releases, the backdrop of vintage home photography that accompanies their live performances, and their previous videos which have heavily relied upon splicing together scenes from 60s and 70s coming-of-age movies such as Last Summer and A Swedish Love Story.


Today, however, the band are at the forefront of filming. Dressed in humorously dodgy matching Primark red polo neck jumpers, Elizabeth Sankey and Jeremy Warmsley deliver their solo performances head on to the camera with relaxed ease. For a band that generated so much early press by keeping their identities under wraps, how does it feel being in front of the camera and centre of attention when filming a video? Jeremy admits he’s not sure why they initially shied away so much, but now he’s pretty comfortable with the interest they receive and is glad that Summer Camp tend to attract the kind of fans who care more about what sounds the band are making rather than who they are or what they look like. But with Elizabeth’s glowing English rose complexion and exuberant comical takes lighting up the screen, *sound the cliché klaxon*, the camera loves her, darling.

The humour of the video is endearing, but certainly surprising for the song this will all be accompanying. Their next single release is the bittersweet, stichomythic Losing My Mind – arguably the standout track from their debut LP Welcome To Condale. Despite the distinctly cheerless tone of the song, which gives voice to a fed-up, fatigued couple on the verge of separation, the idea of making a downcast video didn’t sit right with the band. So when the director’s treatment for the video was presented to them, an idea he had been keeping to himself until the right song came along, all the elements just seemed to fit.


Numerous extras (totalling eighteen by the end of the day – including animals and children) file into the building which keeps the wardrobe and styling team busy as they work hastily to have make shift sets, thrifty costumes and a plethora of kitsch props ready to roll. As the candied whistling riff and 90s hip hop beats of Losing My Mind ring out for approximately the... actually, by late afternoon we’ve lost count of how many times the song has been played today or how many takes have gone by, it’s easy to visualise just how charming this video is going to be. Although Jeremy hopes to maybe one day produce a filmic short for a future single, right now the band are relishing the creativity of their latest video. And rightly so, after appearances from a knicker-flashing nun, a girl obsessed with her prized collection of troll dolls and a small boy pretending to be a dinosaur, we’ve got a few more ideas to incorporate into that dream video of our own.

Losing My Mind will be released on 19th March.

Welcome To Condale is available now.

Words by Kate Allen

Written for IDOL

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