The Band Explains: LIONLION - 'Oceans Rise'
German indie-pop outfit LIONLION talk to us about their artistically styled new video for charming single, ‘Oceans Rise’.
Where was the video for ‘Oceans Rise’ filmed?
’Oceans Rise’ was filmed in the ideal mid-century modernist villa — built 1968 in Wuppertal by the world-famous architect Richard Neutra.
We also travelled to the shores of Mallorca to capture the beauty of the open countryside, shot in the most majestic staircase in Darmstadt and in an historical outdoor swimming pool near Frankfurt.
How does the video connect with the song?
The video fully connects with the message of the lyrics. It's about perspective: the courage it takes to widen your horizon and see things from a different angle – and the freedom that comes with it. And it's a very personal song. On our creative journey we often struggle with our boundaries and wonder how we can rise above our own limited view... happiness might well be a matter of perspective.
Do you have any behind the scenes stories you can share with us?
It may have the looks of a major company film production, but we actually made up the whole concept ourselves, searched all the locations and implemented the style and ideas.
We had the idea of shooting in the open countryside, and originally we were planning to film these scenes in the Bavarian Alps. A good friend, a photographer and mountain lover, knew the ideal picturesque scenery: a lake far up in the alpine massif with crystal-clear water, surrounded by an impressive mountain range. We had it all organised, but unluckily there was a sudden drop in temperature a few days before we wanted to hike up the hills and the mountain lakes turned out to be freezing cold in early fall. So we had to cancel it all and make new plans. In the end, only three of us headed south and found a beautiful spot on the balearic coastline that still had lovely temperatures in mid September.
At the same time, we wanted to have a second storyline contrasting the wild and untamed nature. So Matthi locked himself up for a couple of weeks, sifting through the internet to look for the perfect setting: a place with a retro 60s look that is modern at the same time, with a clean minimalist design and clear lines.
Total information overkill if you're not a design student and start from scratch – on the one hand millions of pictures and posts with modern but often lifeless interior design - on the other hand, great estates in Hollywood, South France or Tuscany that are way out of our price range and completely out of reach when you're an independent self-financed artist…
But (drum roll) we managed : We found the ideal architect and the perfect spot right in the middle of Germany!
W could write a book on this video shoot... It was challenging from start to finish - not to mention singing the lyrics in reverse and double time while buckets of water are poured over your head.
Could you tell us about the ideas/ themes/ imagery used?
We were lucky to team up with the cinematographer Fabian Willi Simon from Berlin. He runs a fine art gallery for minimalist photography in Kreuzberg (galerie-minimal.com). It turned out that we share the same sense of simplicity and style - and he had all the technical skills and vision to realise on film what we had in mind.
The modernist villa provides the perfect backdrop to contrast interior with exterior, psyche with environment. The clean and crisp design of the building is juxtaposed with impressive shots of the open countryside. In this way, the video visualises one of the design principles of the architect Richard Neutra: his 'Biorealism' aiming to bring the outside in, create a seamless connection with the natural surroundings and become one with your environment.
As identical twins, we were able to display the inner conflict of the character and thus bring his 'inside out‘ - a reversed Biorealism, so to speak, is the starting point of the storyline. The protagonist is struggling with his own barriers: He’s throwing the lifebelt, trying to rescue himself from drowning in an empty pool with no danger at all and checkmates his opponent, realiSing he’s just lost the game himself.
Is there a message the video is trying to convey?
We think that perspective is a matter of viewpoint:
how do I perceive my life and does it match my feelings? How congruent is the dream I am living with my reality?
In the year of the 100th anniversary of German 'Bauhaus' architecture, we will be producing all our videos in the reduced and minimalistic design vocabulary of the famous modernist architectural style. It’s not just a visual guideline but mostly an encouragement to keep a clear head and arrange ones mindset: "When the oceans rise, never compromise your life“.
Interview feature by Karla Harris