Text: Ian David Monroe
By any measure, the wild world of Claire Boucher, aka Grimes, is an impossible one, existing in a magical state of controlled chaos. More often that not, her music videos follow suit, throwing convention to the wind. Her irreverence is her greatest charm. That sentiment rings true in her latest music video for the track “Kill V. Maim” off her critically acclaimed album Art Angels.
In the video, the singer dances around an abandoned underground train station, drives a pink sports car (or is it?) through city streets and raves in a blood-soaked mob. The fashion-favorite even dons a Versace sweater and choker in between shots of moshing men. There’ s plenty at play, and even more happening behind the scenes. To get an inside look into the creation of yet another dimension of the "Grimes Universe," we hit up the video’ s co-director, Claire’ s brother, Mac Boucher.
Below, the Toronto-based director/writer/producer walks us through it all:
On finding inspiration in a semi-immortal Wesley Snipes circa 1998:
"Claire and I usually discuss the videos far in advance, so we were brainstorming this while filming “Flesh Without Blood.” The “vampire underworld” was more or less the starting out point, so we kind of conglomerated visuals that fit that idea until we landed on Blade which had this bleak, cold, cyberpunk vibe, as well as the blood rave. That set us in the direction of leaving California for colder, grittier, climes. Toronto—where I live—was the natural step."
On Grimes’ s tricked-out Barbie car:
"Our broken down family van also happened to be in Toronto, which we were both looking to utilize—at one point thinking of blowing up. I have a genius friend in Montreal who can build anything out of anything. He’ s built sets for X-Men and stuff, so I asked him what that damage would be if he could rip apart our van and turn it into a Spawn mobile. Not so much Mad Max, definitely more Spawn. But pink!"
On creating a digital metropolis:
"I reached out to Artjail VFX, and I'd like to say I needed to convince them to create a Neo-Tokyo cyberpunk in a ridiculously short amount of time (over the holidays, too), but they were so on board that the process was far less stressful than I imagined. Although, I think Chris at Artjail may still be sleeping."
On directing an indulgent blood bath party scene:
"The blood rave was more or less improvised. It was literally a party, and we just let everyone go nuts, and move around with the camera."
On the perils of playing party host:
"The blood rave clean up took three days. Us producers were in the abandoned warehouse, on the outskirts of Toronto, cleaning up a giant puddle of blood at 2am...It was weird."
On the hype man powers of Sean Paul:
"Ah, blasting [his track] Temperature for the car sequences—when not lip-synching—was pretty dope. Can't really beat that track."
On trying to control chaos:
"We had a mosh pit scene with a bunch of dudes, and their direction was "be aggressive as possible, try not to punch each other in the face or break bones, and if you need to step out for a minute, you can." No one stepped out, and they were all flying around, hitting each other, falling on the ground. It was really bizarre and kind of shocking, but amazing."
On the future of a trilogy, or, well, “qualogy:"
"We've already finished filming the third video. I can't say what, but Claire may have hinted, and we're planning a fourth. Is that a qualogy? We won't be returning to these characters but all the videos will exist in the 'Grimes Universe.'"