I directed, edited, and produced my “Lost in L.A.” music video and even did a little of the motion-graphics. People often think my videos are high-budget and presume I don't have much involvement — but that's just an illusion I like to create. There were so many mad stories leading up to the shoot and following it, I don't think I'll have time to say them all here but here's a few...
The first task was sourcing all the props including:
- a mini-bike (£12 off eBay BARGAIN — see video below)
- electronic planes (Amazon Bargain — painted by me)
- a mattress (Thanks to Gumtree!)
- American beer (imported crates of Pabst Blue Ribbon)
- 6ft inflatable palm tree drinks cooler (it’s now gone to palm-tree heaven after one too many parties 😞)
- Jeroboam of Jack Daniels (hey, Jack, where’s my endorsement?)
- Astronaut helmet (handmade by to Richard Johnston — video below)
- 3x 3m by 3m canvasses (Thanks to the guy at Homebase for giving me the wooden pallets for free — see more below)
To name a few.
The next task was to find people to be in the video. I went searching in Notting Hill and handpicked a few people I’d wanna party with. The absolute star of the shoot was Alfie — the man in the blue T-shirt with the serious moves! I found him dancing in Portobello Market with a dummy in his mouth and a sparkly boombox at his feet. I invited him to the shoot but never expected him to show up; but he did! There was another guy who was a no-show sadly — he was about 70, was sat on a low-rider bike, and claimed to be the singer from a sample in a J-Lo song. But the most upsetting was that I saw this absolutely gorgeous old lady with pink hair and a seriously glamorous style of fashion — I fell in love but was so stunned, I got shy and didn't approach her. I ended up leaving a note for her in the florist she regularly shopped at but it was all a little too late and I never saw her again.
On the day of the shoot, we were a little short of people (there are always loads of cancellations when you're doing a low-budget shoot). It was a bit of a meat-fest, so a couple of my male friends (let’s call them AA and AS) went to try and find some girls. They were walking the streets in Hackney and found a couple of cute ladies who agreed to get involved. Delighted, AA and AS told them to get in the car and they’d drive to the shoot…the girls asked, “Really can’t we just walk there?” AA and AS said, “it’ll be quicker if we drive, but whatever you want?” So the girls got in the car but were obviously a bit skeptical. When they arrived, the music was blaring, but the shoot was hidden behind a white screen. There was a mattress in plain view and lots of interesting characters sitting on the floor drinking alcohol. Apprehensive, the girls decided to have a smoke. But when my friend Andy walked outside in full white-makeup, wearing a white boiler-suit the girls apparently sprinted away in fear and never looked back 😳😆
After the shoot, everyone was smashed (except my manager who was assisting and driving). We loaded the van but were waiting for someone to come with the keys to lock up when out of the blue one of the crew yelled to us “someone just drove off with your van!” We could see it pulling away in the distance, so my manager started chasing it...he stopped for a second nearly giving up but I yelled, "KEEP RUNNING," and I've never seen him move so fast! Comically, every time he got close, the van would slow down and then drive off again. In the end it turned out it was my friends playing a prank, but it’d be fair to say not everyone found it funny at the time 😂
The night ended with people making-out, wild dancing, friends going missing, lost house keys, and a bouncer trying to beat one of my bandmates up. High-action, high-drama, and probably one of the best nights of my life. The video summed it up perfectly.
Thanks to everyone who made it possible, especially Michael Hobdell.
Painting a Palm Tree
I wanted to shoot the music video in Los Angeles, but there was no way I could afford to do that. One of my friends said, "Why don't you just find a street in London lined with palm trees and shoot it there?" ... I don't know about you, but I don't think there are any streets in London with palm trees on them!? Please, tell me if I'm wrong! So, I decided to base the video around a giant neon painting of a palm tree. The video made it look like we painted it on set, but unfortunately due to time-constraints we couldn't have done that, so I spent a day prepping the homemade canvasses out of free pallets from Homebase and a giant piece of fabric.
Jack...give me more Jack.
Not long before we did the shoot, I grew a little obsessed with Jack Daniels. Mainly because of their Tennessee Honey Whiskey. I swear it's a miracle cure for a sore throat and makes me sing better.
I bought the mini-bike for a bargain £12 from eBay. It was covered in rust and looking very shabby. So, after removing the wheels and rubbing the rust off with aluminium foil, my neighbour Nick and I set about painting the beast with the colour scheme of the video-shoot. It looked good as new...and I've used it since to cycle onto the stage at Koko in London.
To Infinity and Beyond...
You wouldn't believe how hard it is to get hold of an affordable astronaut helmet in London! Originally I tried to commission Eric Staller's "Fish-O-Vision" (see below), but we couldn't arrange for it to be safely transported from New York in time. I ended up getting my amazing cardboard-wizard friend Richard Johnston to custom-make this helmet — didn't he do a great job?