From Harry Styles to Kendrick Lamar, design is the real star of today’s music videos


Playlab, Inc., the multidisciplinary creative studio that designed the trippy set, shared that the visual treatment was inspired by Paul Shrader’s 1985 film Mishima: A life in four chapters. “The film features surreal sets floating in black space, and it perfectly captures this idea of ​​being enclosed both physically and mentally. The concept of being surrounded by infinite space allowed us to play with the idea of ​​what’s lurking in that space,” Playlab Inc. explained via email. “Roddy Rich has this iconic line on his verse: ‘Posted with the demons,’ and we imagined the demons lurking in that space around the house. The modernist energy felt right with the pace and tone of the track. It’s that kind of 70s open floor plan energy, led by tones of reds, oranges and yellows.It’s all meant to feel warm to further emphasize being locked in, yet alive.

It reminds Dereaux of the ’70s “cocaine set” aesthetic, a playful combination of absurdity and escapism. “I think the idea of ​​being locked up and isolated is like you want to escape that reality,” she says.


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Then there’s the album cover for Harry’s house, which uses a minimalist upside-down scene to symbolize transformation. In the music video for lead single ‘As It Was’, Styles is spotted at the brutalist Barbican Estate in London – a venue that has previously made cameos in videos for Dua Lipa, Niall Horan and Skepta to name a few. before moving to Lindley Hall, then a penguin enclosure at London Zoo. “The fact that he walks through these spaces and sort of breaks free from this very rigid, regimented visual expression is super representative of the song – this acceptance of things will never be the same,” adds Dereaux.

Even though it all seems to happen at once, this trend of referencing and using space and design to showcase music has been gaining momentum for a few years now. In FKA Twigs’ music video for “Don’t Judge Me”, the artist uses Kara Walker’s Fons Americanus fountain in reference to racial injustice and power struggles. Last month, Twigs performed at cavernous London-based St. Matthias Church for her NPR Tiny Desk gig, invigorating her album. Magdalenereligious themes on the grounds of a site where ritualistic demonstrations took place in 1867.


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