Strung Out Dreaming

Brutal Realism Meets Lofty Highs In This Experimental Narrative-Driven Music Video

This is a story about hitting rock bottom and only being able to conjure up dream-images of a better life drifting into sublime fantasies as the flipside to a living nightmare. Graphic designer-turned film-enthusiast, Mark Angelil, has created this sharp juxtaposition of worlds in his new music video for FireFLY’s Dream, the latest track to leap from their EP, The Big Picture. Refusing to shy away from a gritty realism on the one hand, while soaring through romantic imagery of waterfalls and lovers on the other, Mark has taken care to direct his viewer towards two emotional extremes: depravity on one side, bliss on the other.

The most interesting aspect of this video are the two conflicting storylines. They have been sharply engineered, evoking feelings of intoxication as we follow strung-out men from within their darkness into a place they would symbolically rather be. The way the two scenes switch back and forth makes us dizzy, and really immerses viewers into the story. With Mark making headway with other projects which dive into the intensity of our darker sides, we are very pleased to be featuring his work here.

We couldn’t help asking him to tell us more:

The Plus: Can you tell us a little about yourself and your artistic background?
Mark Angelil:
I have been a freelance graphic designer for many years now and getting more and more interested in video and film. When I was a kid, I had a very big passion for music and it feels like video is the combination of it all, sound, image and design.

TP: How did you come to work with FireFLY?
I actually use to sing for them but I then moved for 2 years to California, we then shot their first video Walking starring the suicide girl Carrina Vargas, who passed away a few weeks ago in a car crash; sorry to bum you guys down but I have to pay homage to her. I have moved back to Europe this year so we shot this video in pretty Switzerland.

TP: What inspired the concept for the video?
I like working with them because they basically let me try new things that no client would let me get away with. As they are huge weed smokers, I thought of them using drugs and feeling worse and worse while dreaming of two people in love feeling happier and happier.

TP: How the two storylines (the drugged up men and the female lovers) intersect?
I pitched the idea to Seb, one of the FireFLY guys and he told me it could be cool if the couple would be lesbian. Jay, the other FireFLY guy has a lesbian sister, we called her, begged her to do it with her girlfriend, she said yes and they are very happy with the result, that makes me very proud. I love to work with real people, models are very often boring and not special.

TP: What do you enjoy the most about this music video?
I’m very happy how the last scenes under the rain came out. They are actually shot in daylight and it was raining but just a little bit, so with overlays and colour grading I managed to give them that under-exposed and sensual look. I also like the barf scene, everybody loves to watch a guy trip balls sometimes!

TP: What’s next for you?
I’m actually working on my biggest project so far. It’s a short movie based on a text. It was really challenging to put it together, but my wife, Lara Wyss, helped me a lot. We shot it in London a few weeks ago and the first half is looking great. I’m hoping to reach out to a lot of people as its theme is very contemporary. There is some sex, deep emotions and violence so we had a lot of fun shooting it.