‘With the visual and auditory elements blending so seamlessly, you view it as a complete production.’
Regardless of whether a music video bears an obscure, metaphorical, or literal relationship to what you hear, the best music videos are those that get everything just right. It could be that you find a different level of connection when you watch it. It could be that in being left-field you appreciate the wider artistry behind a release. Or it could be, as is the case for Dance Lessons’ latest single ‘Just Chemistry’, that the visual is just as stylish as the musicality.
Immediately inducing a sense of nostalgia that’s just as strong as the track itself, you are greeted by a montage of 70’s technology and decor. Giving off an almost film-esque attention to detail, a Ferguson cathode-ray TV displaying static provides a subtle nod, while the shots that soon follow provide a decade inspired feast for the eyes. Retro wallpapers adorn the interior. Pattern-clash fabrics drape an era-centric sofa. And then cutting to the kitchen, everything you would expect in this visual timewarp is there.
Highlighting an aspect that is often overlooked in music visuals, there is a real sense of the smallest elements being just as important as the more obvious ones. On point set dressing sees of the time china, cereal boxes and statement pieces sit alongside one another. Contrastingly, the styling sees a casually modern spin put on clothing and accessories from days gone by. This combination doesn’t make it an unsympathetic parody though, rather it perfectly delivers the level of authenticity the trio wanted.
“We knew what we were after right from the start and the venue was one we knew and loved already.” says Ann, “The stills shoot we did there last year confirmed it would be a great place to make a video – there’s so much good wallpaper and so many interesting set-ups. We also love a 70’s aesthetic, however, we didn’t want that to be too obvious or distract from the song, so we kept the look of it quite sharp and contemporary.”
“It was just so good to be working with people in person during lockdown.
We just hung out, played live and it made for some good shots.”
It has to be said that while there is that aforementioned attention to detail, and you could very easily get sucked into the visuals at the expense of the overall experience, this very quality means it never distracts at all. The distraction would be to have something with less finesse, something that’s of stark contrast rather than wonderfully complementary. The fact is though, that it blends so seamlessly as a whole that you appreciate it as a production, rather than a music video.
Moving through the visuals, as we continue on our grand tour of this stylish 70’s inspired location (something that even applies to toilet cubicles!), we are constantly drawn back to one thing: The performance. Ever-projecting a stage presence that’s genuine, natural, and completely relaxed, how at ease the band appears is a joy to behold and flanked by her fellow musicians, the freedom and self-confidence that vocalist Ann delivers is something you really can’t get enough of.
In the chilled moments, a nonchalant yet seductive persona emerges as the music washes over her. When there’s beat-centric momentum, and seductive sax-centered instrumentals, a formerly inner energy bursts out in an infectious and smile-inducing way. Meanwhile, with the relaxed groove of the track moving increasingly through Tom and Nat’s bones, you can just tell how much they all loving life and the chance to “work with people, hang out, and play live.” Thankfully for us, this was all captured via the expertise of Simon Frost and Ben Hanson of Borderland Studios.
“I’ve known Simon for a long time,” says bassist Tom, “and have wanted to work with him and Ben on a video since the start of lockdown. Luckily they both loved the song and said let’s do it. They were brilliant to work with, and while it’s not a music video shoot without a smoke-machine setting off a fire alarm, we got it done in one day without any other issues. And as for the final cut, they knocked it out the park first time!”
So, with this approach being so contrasting to that of previous release ‘New Job’ – a video which showcases iPhone recorded, crew-less footage of dancers Gbari ‘GQ’ Gilliam and Shantel Ureña performing in the streets of LA – what can we expect from future visuals? “I think we’re going to adopt an approach that works best to support the song,” says Ann, “and rather than sticking to neither one nor the other, make use of both approaches. I think we’d all love to perform a dance routine in a future video, but we’re equally happy to leave the that to the pros!”
Thanks Dance Lessons for chatting with Listen to Discover