Hailing from Sweden and now residing in the city of angels is filmmaker Per-Hampus Stalhandske (www.perhampus.com). Specialising in youth culture and action sports his work includes collaborating with giants Nike, Coca Cola and also simplehuman and now he brings us a visually tantalising treat from BLEITCH. The music video is the second release ‘Paint By Numbers’ from the up and coming LA music duo. You may recognise their last track ‘This Is Our Youth’, which was featured in hit TV series ‘True Blood’, which Per also collaborated on with them.
‘Paint By Numbers’ is a strong pop song, the track is full of all the great elements of an 80s song with cracking synth lines and of course that BLEITCH sound giving it originality. The video perfectly complements the sound with sharp shot angles narrated by colours with powder explosions captured in slow motion effortlessly bringing the video to life. We caught up with Per and discussed the video process and also what is inspiring him in recent months and tickling his fancy…
Word Is Cheap: This is the second time you have worked with BLEITCH. How did you get involved with the artist duo?
Per-Hampus Stalhandske: I met Piers Baron (2nd half of BLEITCH) a few years ago when I was directing a documentary for Nike Snowboarding. I needed someone to score the 50 minute film and a friend put us in touch. I was already a big fan of his work since he had done some skate & snowboard films in the past that were all great. I didn’t know but he happened to live a few blocks away from me in Long Beach and we got along really well. Since then we have done a bunch of projects together that he has scored & we have always liked working together. When he introduced me to his new project with Maddie and played me the album I was floored. They instantly became my favorite band and they asked me to make a video for them. The rest is history.
WIC: When you heard the track can you talk us through your creative thought process? How much input did BLEITCH have and what was your main objective for this video?
Per: To me, their music is kinda the best music video music – there are so many interesting elements to their songs that just gets my head spinning and visuals starts to pop up. “Paint by Numbers” was actually the first track that I ever heard from them, probably a year ago now. I wrote a treatment initially that we were going to make, but it got pushed out due to them having to release “This is Our Youth” first since it was on True Blood. When it was time to make the “Paint By Numbers” video I was over the first treatment since I had thought about it so much, so I wrote a new one that felt more current. BLEITCH had a lot to do with the first video that we did but for “Paint By Numbers” they gave me creative control which was huge.
I knew that I wanted to make something darker, more conceptual, based around color and with a lot of strong cut shots. I also didn’t want to make a narrative video since they are so hot right now. When we shot the video at Scandinavia in Oakland the mantra with the team was kinda – “Let’s just shoot some cool shit”.
WIC: The track ‘Paint By Numbers’ revolves around colours. Did that make it easier to visualise the concept, or does that actually make it more difficult and perhaps not as free to play around with?
Per: BLEITCH kinda gave me free hands with this one which is both a blessing and a curse. I think in order to make something cool you need limitations, either from yourself or from the “client”. There was no brief you know? Deciding that the video was going to be based around color made it a lot easier to pre-visualize since that was our limitation. It was like, make something cool, powerful, conceptual – but you can only use the colors Red, Green and Blue. So it made it easier.
WIC: It is a highly visual stimulating video combining music synths and powder explosions, what emotion most did you want to the viewer to feel most?
Per: I guess my ideal take away from the viewer would be. “I don’t exactly know what I watched and if it made sense – but that was really cool!“. I also think that a good music video can make a song so much stronger and help the listener connect with the band on another level so I wanted this video to be a good visual representation of the song. For example I mostly listen to music that I learned to love because of the video for the song. Not the other way around.
WIC: You incorporate a lot of nature elements into your videos, is this a nod to your Swedish routes and how important to you is it capturing nature and incorporating it into your work?
Per: Maybe? I guess I like the contrast between man-made and nature. I like contrasts in general. I get bored if I see the same type of shots for too long so I like to break things up.
WIC: Can you tell us about a (video, new concept, artist or director) that you have been inspired by in recent months?
Artist: Jai Paul, Thaiboy Digital, Yamantaka // Sonic Titan, Hans Zimmer, El-P, Duvchi, Kanye, Bleitch, Lorentz & Jazz Cartier.
Director: Andreas Nilsson, Gustav Johansson, Twin, Nabil, Romain Gavras & Fantavious Fritz.