The Duo Explains: The Tame and the Wild - 'We're Still Alive'

The Tame and the Wild and director Bianca Jaeger Montobbio talk us through the footage clips used in the music video for ‘We’re Still Alive’ which represents the journey through life and its different stages and emotions.

Could you talk us through the footage used for the ‘We're Still Alive' video? 
We actually don’t know, where all the footage came from. It was a rather unusual cooperation with Bianca Jaeger Montobbio. We met her on a music fair and agreed to work together for this project. Only condition: no deadline ;-)

So after a few months, we got this brilliant video back…

- The Tame and the Wild

How does the video connect with the song? (if at all) 
Don’t know if the video connects with the song, but we do. We feel connected to every single picture of this video. I think when I’m watching a video , I make my own connection between everything… music, pictures and myself…

- The Tame and the Wild

Do you have any behind the scenes stories you could share with us? 
The funniest anecdote is probably the fact that I had met ‘The Tame and The Wild’ a year before even being able to collaborate. They were looking for a videoclip director and me for a band I liked. Unfortunately, my day job made it quite difficult in the beginning to meet and have overlapping schedules.

Once, we managed to come together, I felt the song ‘We’re Still Alive’ was like a journey through life and its different stages and emotions.
Immediately I had images in my head I once filmed but never used. Whenever I travel, I have this habit of filming without the intent of using it for a specific project. During the last six years I had gathered a big amount of material never used or shown. I thought ‘We’re Still Alive’ was the perfect soundtrack to those random images. Also, as mentioned earlier, due to our different schedules, it would have been difficult to plan and film a shoot together. (Although we are still trying).

The Tame and The Wild agreed to proceed in this way. I would sift through all my material (over 300 GB and squattered on six hard drives) and let the song guide me to find a narrative. That alone took me quite some time, as I would do that after work and on week-ends.
Then I realised that although I had a lot of material, I had to pay attention to not fall into the trap of having afterwards a video which was too random or just a succession of cute pictures without transmitting an emotion. And there were great images I couldn’t use because somehow they didn’t fit in the whole feel of the song.

Finding a structure was the most challenging part, because an image not only conveys something if it’s beautiful, but gains or looses in meaning depending on what comes before or after. It is mostly the sequence, the compilation of several moments which together create new sensation. So instead of using the song to ‘get rid’ of my many material, I tried to enhance what the song was about. This is why some of my material did not fit or go well together.
Therefore I started canvassing archive material from the 50s-70s. I could have achieved this old film look by applying filters, but I firmly believe the real texture can’t be copied. And since The Tame and The Wild have a very true and honest relation to their music (and also as private people), the idea of using as well old footage seemed naturally appropriate.

Furthermore, I felt that the chorus and in particular the line ‘We’re Still Alive’ had a comparison to what was before and what would come after death - another generation. I did my research on the Prelinger archives, which I had come to know after doing video projections on a theatre play. The best part of working with free images is that you recycle its longevity by creating something contemporary, but the old intrinsicate qualities of those excerpts lend the new project a ‘je-ne-sais-quoi’, which ends up being the perfect fusion.

-Bianca Jaeger Montobbio

Can you tell us about the ideas/ themes/ imagery used? 
I guess the main theme is this journey through life and what life is exactly.
In that sense, movement was important to show the passing of time, the ‘growing old too fast’, whether passively (the images of landscapes passing by) or actively (the images of young dynamism seen in skating, riding, surfing). But since life is not only fun, I included pictures of daily tasks (the little boy putting his clothes in the washing machine, empowered women working, a father taking care of his son, breastfeeding...).
What was also important to me, was to show faces of another time, suggesting this bittersweet notion that these people were now much older, if still alive.
Since ‘The Tame and The Wild’ has a dream-like quality to them, it was obvious to include in this universal theme of the meaning of life, as many representations, colors, shapes and point of views as possible. Because everyone has dreams and hopes and in the end, there is no age, gender, race, background or conviction which prevents you from longing to have a good and happy life - surrounded by loved ones.

(Bianca Jaeger Montobbio)

Is there a message the video is trying to convey?
On first thought, there is no specific and unique message or morale the video wants to convey.
However a possible interpretation is within the song due to its melody and lyrics. In that line of thought, the video aims to reinforce the sensations I personally got when letting myself be immersed by The Tame and The Wild spirit. My goal as a filmmaker is to make people feel and connect. In which specific way, the audience does connect or what they feel is up to them.

-Bianca Jaeger Montobbio

What do you hope people take away from watching the video?
I hope people enjoy the video, discover - if they haven’t already - other works of The Tame and The Wild and ultimately, for those who feel connected and want to collaborate on artistic projects, to get in touch.

-Bianca Jaeger Montobbio

Interview feature by Karla Harris