Behind the Video with Alice Gray
Matt Lucier, my co-director and DP for the Lay Down video, reached out to me after hearing Pink Cadillac and offered to direct a video for it. I showed him my next single Lay Down and we decided a video for its release would be the best way for us to collaborate.
The idea for Lay Down came about in a couple phone calls with Matt where I talked about the songs meaning and my favorite music videos. The two main videos that inspired me were Friends by Francis and the Lights stylistically and Coin Operated Boy by The Dresden Dolls conceptually. From there we laid out specific moments, scenes, colors, and logistics. We were nervous about making it look like a surreal single take, and tried our best to prep for any issues that may arise.
Alison Ingelstrom choreographed a dance incorporating props and a couple complicated setups that we’d be able to learn in a single day. We then had one day to shoot, but after a late start, and coming off a sad and sleepless night, I had doubts that we'd be able to pull everything off. However, after the first take, we realized that all our preparation paid off and the rest of the shoot was seamless. My manager and I were incredibly resourceful and incredibly lucky to have such talented friends who believed in the project and were willing to cut us deals. In the end, we created a video that looks a lot more expensive than the 3K we spent, if I do say so myself.
The video is a commentary on how we view and display our relationships. I feel there’s a lot of shame and judgment around relationships that are anything but picture perfect and this pressures us to exploit an idealized version of them on social media. It has become a contest for who is the most in love — the most perfect pair. As I mentioned earlier, the video was inspired partly by The Dresden Doll’s Coin Operated Boy music video, which features a lifeless love interest onto which she can project her perfect partner. In Lay Down, the man played by the beautiful Ehizoje Azeke is a puppet; there to pose and dance for the camera in a series of artificial environments. But when we see behind the scenes, the truth reveals itself and the dancers played by Rob Coglitore and Bre Short struggle to clean up their disconnected mess, pushing the pair into the next picture-perfect scene.
I don’t have a solution to this issue, I just notice it and don’t believe it's talked about enough. As social media becomes more and more powerful, we’ll have a harder time living an authentic life. If I find myself capturing a moment to later repurpose as a post, I try to stop myself, take a breath, feel the moment wholeheartedly and let it pass as nothing more than a nice memory. If you’ve seen The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, I like to refer to the Sean Penn moment. You just gotta “Sean Penn it” sometimes.