The Duo Explains: Lilly Wolf - 'Terrible Mistake' (Video)


Who: Lilly Wolf is the synth pop project of Brooklyn-based duo Lilly Wolf and Alex Neuhausen

About The Track: 'Terrible Love' is  an immersive electro pop track with vocals showing such pure, piercing, resolve it's hard not to be affected by them. The song is taken  from the duo's most recent album, 'Deleted Scenes'.

Lilly Wolf Explains:
Which locations were used in the shooting of 'Terrible Mistake'
About half the scenes are filmed in our neighborhood in Bushwick, Brooklyn, near the Morgan Avenue L stop. We shop in that deli, hang out in that park, and that's our actual laundry room and apartment and our friend's paintings (Oussamah Ghandour). Alex's building security let us on the roof (thanks Aaron!). It was awesome being able to document the places where we live, and we've probably played 20 shows in that apartment.

The beach scenes were filmed at Howard Beach in Queens. In December. Walking into the water was insanely cold, but I ran around to keep warm.

The street running scenes are filmed in the Financial District in Manhattan, which gets really empty on Sunday nights, and the shower and bath scenes were filmed in this luxury apartment that our director got access to through a friend who works for a hedge fund. No permits. The cinematographer hopped in the back of a van with the lift-gate open and Luke drove at like 20 mph while we ran behind him in traffic.

How does the video compliment the song? 
The song started with this letter that's been attributed to Bukowski, although if you look it up, no one can cite exactly where it's from. It's got the line "find what you love and let it kill you....for all things will kill you, both slowly and fastly, but it’s much better to be killed by a lover." I was on a couch in Alex's loft at maybe 6am on New Years morning when I first read it. We'd been up all night, the light was coming in through the big window, we (there were maybe eight of us at that point) were all draped over couches or talking quietly, and that's when I started working on 'Terrible Mistake'.

We started with trying to capture the theme and feel of the song rather than any explicit events. Have you ever read a Haruki Murakami novel? He's great at connecting themes and metaphors, but never in a direct, obvious way. It's the kind of connections you make in a dream.

So in the video there are obvious mistakes being made, like shop lifting, drinking, passing out, breaking glasses, trespassing, etc, but the point isn't those actions, it's the feeling of seeing them rewound in slow-motion. It's about the pacing and the color and the shot framing, which hopefully all work together to evoke that feeling of dreamy, regretful nostalgia.

Any behind the scenes stories?
Making the video started with finding our awesome director, Luke Choi. He did the video for 'Blue Hawaii' by ASTR, and the colors and vibe for that video are really well matched to the song. We reached out to him and he was psyched about working with us, so we started kicking ideas back and forth. We decided to basically re enact the inspiration for the song, shooting in the same locations that inspired the song. Then Luke came up with the overall feel and the scenes he wanted to shoot.

I'd say at least half of the shots were spontaneous (or Luke is really good at making things seem spontaneous). We were walking around outside and Luke's like "Hey Lilly, jump around on those park benches." After shooting in the deli Luke says "Alex, eat these chips and walk towards the camera." Later on in the apartment he's like "Hey Alex, do you want to throw this bookshelf over?"

Tell us about the ideas/ themes/ imagery used?
I've always been kind of fixated on water, maybe because it suggests a type of isolation (the soundlessness, the distortion of light etc). I also do a lot of running, like a LOT of running, probably cause it does similar signal-blocking. So I naturally gravitated toward those ideas.

There are a couple material references to things that we actually did while I was living on Alex's couch that winter. The couch I slept on is the same one I'm sitting on in the opening sequence with the shirts. The bottle of Evan -- that was our standard cheap party whiskey. Some stuff, like that bottle and the confetti and the roof, are sideways references to NYE.

As for the slow-motion reverse...growing up, I was a good kid, I did things by the book, I got good marks and then good jobs and I found those routines and standards comforting. When I stopped working as a programmer to write the album, it was fairly disorienting and it threw off my clock a bit. And that warped sense of time became part of the track, and consequently the shoot.

What is the message the video is trying to convey? ​
I don't think this is a comprehensive answer, but for me, it's that I have to find the little shocks, because that's how I remember things. I don't want to reach the end of my life and have the tape mostly be blank. The missteps, the cold, the things that count as loss, those are some of my most important memories. So I try to take snapshots.

Interview feature by Karla Harris 

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