The Band Explains: Dan Shears & The Velveteen Orkestra - 'Dressed Up in Sables' (Video)
Dan Shears & The Velveteen Orkestra released their debut single ‘Dressed Up in Sables’ on 8th July through Strawbychka Recordings via Genepool. The single is taken from their first and Pledge funded album, ‘Shadow & Whimsy’, which will be released in early 2017, so we speak to Dan Shears about the ideas behind the gothic carnivalesque sound and video of their very first release.
‘Dressed Up In Sables’ is a hard hitting indie-folk anthem about mania and depression, and the blurred lines between the two. The song is laden with juxtaposed imagery in the style of a gothic novel. With a touch of post-punk venom and snarl, but also the swagger and imagination of a melodramatic musical theatre number, this is a brave debut from South East London born songwriter Dan Shears and his band of merry men and women.
The Band Explains:
Where was the video filmed?
We filmed the video in 3 different locations, all in South London. The rooftop scene at the start was shot on my friend's flat in Bromley, which is where my old school is. The other 2 locations are North Cross Road in East Dulwich and The Cavendish Arms pub in Stockwell which is close to where I live. We made use of the bar with the red leather sofas and fireplace and also the ballroom with the stage and big glitter ball.
How does the video compliment the song?
I think the scary clowns tie in pretty well with the song's gothic carnivalesque sound. The shots where I'm sitting in the armchair singing the song are meant to be a bit like an episode of Crackanory which I think suits the song's lyrics, which are meant to read like a gothic short story.
Any behind the scenes stories?
You may recognise the lead clown with the scary face. His name is Mr Snuggles and he appeared in Big Brother, scaring the shit out of the housemates. The other two clowns are played by Megan (our cellist) and I. The man who smashes me in the face with the glass is played by my father, he was so keen to be in the video... I think he wants to get some acting work out of it.
Tell us about the ideas/ themes/ imagery used?
First and foremost, we wanted a good looking video but the themes and imagery was also important. We aren't just a standard indie band so it was vital that we showed that here as it is our first video and our first single. There's a element of macabre about our sound and presentation so it was important that we emphasised that. The video has some intensity and aggression as well as those circus-noir type elements. I think this video was probably more about imagery and portraying, and visually representing our sound in order to introduce ourselves. There are little bits where you get a sense of the clown characters in the video as well and I think we might like to revisit these characters again in another video to develop them some more.
What is the message the video is trying to convey?
With regards to narrative and it's message, I suppose it's loosely based on faith and ignorance. The people who the clown's attempt to thieve from are either so gullible that they'll believe anything or so closed up that all they can muster is an aggressive or violent response. If we'd had the budget, I would loved to have had a bigger fight scene at the end with smashing chairs and tables and all that. I think that's partly why I'd like to do another video with these clown characters... I want to see them get nastier.
Interview feature by Karla Harris