The Band Explains: Pale Moon - 'Exile'

Icelandic/Russian Psychedelic group Pale Moon talk us through their upbeat visuals for ‘Exile’, citing influences from the Beatles ‘Yellow Submarine’ and 70s pop culture.

Where was the video for ‘Exile’ filmed?
We were looking for a street in our neighborhood in downtown Reykjavík and this one was actually just below the street we live. It’s one of the oldest and prettiest streets in the city and we even got a permit to close it for the day of shoot, so we had it all to ourselves. We also got approvals to place a food truck and lemonade stand there.

How does the video connect with the song?
Nata had an idea that was born from a word in a lyric - ‘impersonate’. We started to dig into a notion of playing different roles in life and Viktor, our director, suggested to do it in one shot switching the actors. Naturally the video represents Árni’s cheerful attitude in life as does the song.

Any behind the scenes stories you could share with us?
We had a permit to do a shoot in 4 hours and most of this time we spent rehearsing and setting up props. We had only 4 suits for 11 people, they needed to change just in 20 seconds, so eventually we made a decision to cut 2 character changes. Police was coming to reopen the street and we still didn’t have a full take without major mistakes. I think we got extra 30 min and that’s when we figured everything out and did the final take. One of hardest parts was to burn the painting in right moment and speed and in addition to that easel broke and we had to have a person holding the canvas behind it. The bathtub that appeared in the begging actually scratched with coloured balls and we were pretty scared we’ll have to buy it, but luckily it was a display item and the company let us off the hook. There were around 50 people on set playing different roles and a lot of fun moments happen.

Can you tell us about the ideas/ themes/ imagery used?
We are huge Beatles fans and there’s a bit of ‘Yellow Submarine’ influence. Natasha, who designed costumes for our character and dancers took her inspiration from David Bowie and Mick Jagger 70s style. We also had that green screen scene. For that animation we looked into psychedelic 70s posters and Ron Campbell work. Natasha actually had to learn After Effects to get this part done.

Is there a message the video is trying to convey?
It might sound corny, but in the nutshell we just wanted to celebrate how different but similar we are and simply have a good time. There are so many cool people from Reykjavík participated, many of them are notable musicians we appreciate and it was pretty amazing to orchestrate something of that scale “with a little help from our friends”.

Interview feature by Karla Harris