The Band Explains: Van Susans - 'Seagulls' (Video)


Who:  Van Susans are a London based alternative folk-rock outfit. The core songwriting trio consists of frontman Olly Van Andrews (vocals and acoustic guitar), Ed Dullaway  (piano and guitar), and classically trained Holly McLatchie (violin), with Innes Christie and Harvey Simpson completing the quintet.

About The Track:  Produced by John Cornfield (Foxes, Razorlight, Muse), 'Seagulls' is out now and available digitally via Beatnik Geek Records.

'Seagulls'  takes  flight in vast blue skies of poignant lyricism, upbeat  folky vocals, and touching, soaring instrumentation.Van Susans have a knack for juggling anthemic contemporary hooks while remaining rooted and earthy as they touch upon flourishes of orchestral beauty within their music.

Olly Van Andrews Explains
Which locations were used in the filming of 'Seagulls'?
We originally shot the location in Brighton, about three years ago with my sister Lauren filming and directing - the only part of what she shot that made it was the drowning scene as events would unfold to drastically change the plot line and video idea. We shot a whole day of footage with a different plot to the story and then filmed the drowning sequence at the end of the day. We were very stupid to do this, as we nearly killed the actor in the process... The waves were too big and we were foolish enough to test the ocean and it's glorious wrath. Chris Gunning was my old drama teacher at school, and a very good actor so when we told him to look like he was drowning he was very convincing. It was only when he cried out that I could tell that he WAS actually drowning... Fortunately in another life I was trained as a beach lifeguard so managed to drag him out of the sea to safety. After adding to the video with the content we shot the rest of it in Margate and Ramsgate, getting the band involved in the video and adding a less solemn twist to what would have otherwise been a very depressing music video. All of the footage throughout the video is taken sporadically throughout those three locations (Brighton, Margate and Ramsgate), with the other home shot footage located throughout various locations - I think the beach scene of me and my cousins was shot in Lanzarote whilst on holiday with my Grandfolks what must have been 23 years ago.

How does the video compliment the song?
It was a very long and arduous process of putting the pieces together of the home shot footage, we had the idea of placing the shots, roughly measuring out what scene would go where - but the tapes that we used were found in my loft at my Mum's house and they had to be converted from VCR - they were crudely labeled so we literally had almost no idea what was going to be on them before we got them converted on to DVD and watched them back. We had around 20 tapes converted altogether half of which were unreadable, but luckily we came across the odd gem that you can see in the video. It is this element of discovery that really adds to the story for me, and tried to fit in parts that would compliment the lyrics of the song - one of which springs to mind is me putting on a pair of glasses as the lyrics go 'shield your eyes' - and the use of diegetic sounds would compliment the emotion of the past.

Any behind the scenes stories?
Other than the close encounter with the great ocean, what springs to mind is the many, many long nights spent with director Ben K Adams necking off countless coffees and eating junk to get it to where it is. We have to thank our management for pushing the deadline on us or else we probably still wouldn't have it done. Putting two perfectionists on the same project is a dangerous combination.

Tell us about the ideas/ themes/ imagery used? 
The drowning scene was supposed to be symbolic of the struggle that Dad went through with his disease, and the ashes that we threw off the pier at the end is supposed to represent the idea of letting him go. It's been three years now, and anyone who has lost a close one will be able to relate that it takes a very long time to do so, but constantly having this shadow hang over you that the past was better times is a very unhealthy way to live your life. It is indeed time to let go of the past and look to the positives of the future. I hope that this will come across in the future music that we write, going back to the ways about writing positive music - but we shall see!

What is the message/ mood the video is trying to convey?
The song itself is about the loss of my father, me and Ed finished writing it in the week before his funeral - we didn't want to create a music video that was entirely melancholic and depressing but something that was more of a celebration of his life and the family that he built. The footage that we used was of happier times and we hope that when people watch it it will inspire them to cherish the short time that we have together. Very proud of what we have made, and I hope that it will help people remember a brilliant loving man that my father was, and that one specific shot of him at Disney land with a pint in his hand is exactly the image of what I will remember him to be - happy and full of life.


Live dates
Beacon Festival - June 17-18th
Towersey Festival on Saturday 27th August 2016
Party 4 Patrick Festival on Sunday 28th August 2016

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