The director of Lana Del Rey‘s “Lust For Life” album trailer, Clark Jackson, spoke to Pitchfork about the video. He reveals the concept and influences for the video, how they made the Hollywood sign, what it’s like to work with Lana and more!
Read the entire interview below:
What was the concept for this video?
We wanted to play with the idea of old 16mm instructional videos mixed in with ’50s and ’60s era sci-fi shows. We loved the idea of playing with magic, something slightly noir which is very her, something a little playful which is also very her. And of course we did it because of the reveal of the album title which she’s really excited about. We also wanted to tie in this idea that Lana was talking about the power of positive vibrations and the idea that positive thoughts can make a difference…that’s why she wanted to send little hearts out to the world. We also wanted to put in a whole bunch of hidden tie-ins to the rest of her album. In the end there are not very many items represented there, but each of them means something—each thing was placed on purpose. We want people to ask, “Why a ladder? Why the seven planets?” As songs and the rest of the album are released, they will become more clear.
Last month, Lana tweeted about a nationwide occult effort trying to remove President Trump from office through witchcraft. How does the occult factor into this video?
That’s actually kind of funny, we never talked directly about witchcraft or the occult, we were more having fun with the idea of the zany world of old TV shows and noir etc. Maybe that idea of positive vibrations, and the idea of if we can put positive out into the world that maybe we can make a positive difference ties in there somewhere, but truthfully I don’t know.
The video features a bunch of symbols. Most people recognized the Weeknd’s XO logo, but what you can tell me about the other symbols?
I can’t tell you what all the images were for. Each was important and I think in time, each will be revealed.
How did the monologue come together? Any particular inspirations there?
You will have to ask Lana directly about where the monologue came from. She pulled up to a meeting with me and it was something that she had recorded on her cell phone. She said “let’s do something like this,” but it was so perfect that we didn’t edit a word of it and used it as is.
Vevo lists Benny Blanco, Emile Haynie, and Rick Nowels as co-producers, with you, on this video. What did they contribute?
Vevo does that—they don’t always differentiate between the video producer and the producers of the record, the music, etc. I am just happy to be in their fine company, some of the finest music minds in the industry.
Any standout memories of working with Lana on this?
Lana is amazing to work with. She has a real vision but lets you get in her head and see if you can add to it. It is the best case scenario. She knows what she needs, but wants you to add your own spark to it, too. There is this sense when I work with her that she gives everything of herself, and that comes out in just how powerful her music is.
There are a lot of visual effects here: the ghostly Lana, the flickering stars over Los Angeles, the Statue of Liberty’s torch being snuffed out. What was the most challenging part about directing this?
The hardest part of this whole video was the Hollywood sign. We wanted a night shot of the Hollywood sign as it looked, all lit up in the 1950s. Of course, the sign is not lit up anymore. So I and a few friends built the sign and the mountain out of papier-mâché, foam, chicken wire, and old school Hollywood-style model-making in my garage. The neighbors thought I had lost my mind when they saw me knee deep in papier-mâché. Blink and you will miss it, but all of that from the tower to the sign to the bushes and trees were all made by hand. Probably would have been so much easier to have someone build it in 3D, but it was so much fun playing in mud, glue, and paint for three days.
What was your involvement on the “Love” video? Anything you can please tell us about the visual aesthetic there?
I produced the “Love” video. Rich Lee is this amazing director, so any time I can work or play with him, I jump in. As a producer my job is to try to come up in real space all of the amazing ideas that the director has in their head. We had a couple of main shoot days, then we ran all over Southern California for several days to shoot all the cool otherworldly landscapes.
What can we expect, visually or sonically, from Lust for Life?
Just like on the clues in the video, I’ve been sworn to secrecy, but I think I can safely say that the first single is going to be rather Hollywood-centric. It ties in for sure.