Anyone that has seen even a still of this music video knows it is great. SIR IAN MCKELLEN! What a coup for music video to have Britain’s favourite superhero/supervillain/Patrick Stewart bromancing/the ultimate actor coming in to gracefully shine alongside George Ezra. This is what happens when directors repeatedly work with artists, relationships develop, boundaries are pushed and creativity flows. Director Rob Brandon must be chuffed to bits, and as we don’t like to assume, we sat down and had a chat with Rob about his working relationship with George, acting alongside Ian and what he would get Aphex Twin to do in a music video if given the chance.
Word Is Cheap: You seem to have an affinity for guitar-toting frontmen, is this all just one big coincidence?
Rob Brandon: I love guitar-toting frontmen. I love all kinds of artists and performers. But I’m still kind of new to this world so I haven’t had that much of a go in other departments just yet. I’ll get to them though, hopefully!
Having worked with George Ezra three times now has the relationship changed at all?
I have actually worked with George on 5 different projects now. This video is the third ‘Official’ video but I also worked on the album artwork as well as a lyric video for Blame It On Me. So our relationship is in a really nice place. A lot of my ideas require the artist being humiliated in some form. It’s hard to humiliate someone without them trusting you a bit first.
Sir Ian McKellen! Need I ask more??
Working with Sir Ian McKellen was an absolute dream come true. I remember telling my producer on the phone “I want Sir Ian McKellen”. Once I had hung up I realised how silly my request sounded; I found it so absurd that I stopped working immediately.
So, I’m back to watching American wrestling in my pants and depression when I get a phone call from this deep sounding fellow calling himself Ian! A huge thanks has to go to my magical producer Amber Millington on that one.
George Ezra isn’t known for his acting skills, did you know he’d be up to the task?
I did. From the first time we worked together on Cassy’O I knew he was flexible. He takes direction brilliantly. He has a great sense of humor and natural charisma. Not long ago I wanted to shoot a documentary with George playing a Louis Theroux type journo, interviewing all kinds of people from Bristol to L.A. George has that same thing Louis Theroux has. They are both big cheeky geeks and those people often work well on camera.
There’s a real sense of assuredness within your work, how would you describe yourself?
That’s really kind of you to say and on shooting days I am pretty assured, we often wrap quite early which is super rare on music video shoots. The rest of the time however I am a stressful mess. I spend every spare second I have preparing, editing and learning my shot lists back to front.
With your style as succinct as ever, who would your perfect artist to work with be?
Someone like George: who has serious talent but doesn’t take themselves too seriously. A performance video for a band like Future Islands would be amazing. I also like the idea of pushing those people that hate being on camera. Like, I would love to do a video for Aphex Twin with Richard D. James acting all the way through it. Think how awkward & brilliant that could be?