The Video Explained: PUSHER - 'Clear' ft. Mothica (Video)

We speak to PUSHER,  Mothica  and director Matthew Dillon Cohen about the intimate, all-inclusive visuals accompanying tropical electronic pop tune, 'Clear'.

Where was the video for 'Clear' filmed?
PUSHER: Somewhere in New York State outside the city. Unfortunately I couldn’t make it for the filming so this one is as much a mystery to me as anybody not involved in the shooting.

Matthew Dillon Cohen:  Half of the video was shot in Brooklyn, NY just outside the city and the other half in Warwick, NY. The visual is set in rural America.

Mothica: All over New York! Some of the interior house scenes were shot in south Brooklyn at a spot the director found on AirBnb. The outdoor scenes (me emotionally walking up a grassy mountain) were shot upstate in Warwick, New York. Such a beautiful, quaint town. A lot of the cast were from the surrounding neighborhoods and I met a local magician at a corn festival we stopped by to grab lunch.

How does the video compliment the song?
PUSHER: The contrast between the worlds of the night and the day in the video are a mirror of the contrast between the happy sound of the song’s production and the conflict in the lyrics.

Matthew Dillon Cohen: The song is really special in that its vulnerable yet energetic all the while being extremely catchy. As soon as I heard the record I knew I wanted to create the visual for it. Mothica was very careful about this being her first time on camera. After our initial conversations, I was able to convince her to be in the film. Sometimes when the record is so strong, I try to keep the visual on the more simplistic less dramatic side. With my visual for 'Clear' it was important for the relationships on screen to feel real and share the same vulnerability and passion the song does.

Mothica: I brainstormed so many concepts for this video and talked to several filmmakers before we got a treatment from Matthew Dillon Cohen. He’s a personal friend of mine from long before the song was written, so I was delighted that our ideas were so similar. 'Clear' is about my difficulty to speak my mind in my relationships. I say things without thinking them through, “Words fall out of my mouth…” The video shows a montage of happy couples and friends playing, kissing, having fun, drinking, and I’m always shown alone because my miscommunication has left me estranged.

Any behind the scene stories?
PUSHER: As an outsider to the shoot I was just kicking around Toronto the weekend it happened. While I was lying in the grass in Trinity bellwoods Park waiting for my partner and her mom to get their nails done (somebody had to watch the dog) Mothica called me after the first day of shooting and excitedly told me about all of the great shots they’d gotten, “I was walking up a hill and a train went by as the sun was setting and there were fireworks… it was amazing”. It was funny to lie in the grass in Toronto with a dog climbing all over me while Mothica tried to explain how good the video was going to look from New York.

Matthew Dillon Cohen: PUSHER was completely open from the jump about giving me full creative control on the project. As a filmmaker this is pretty rare, but I really responded to the responsibility and pushed my team and myself to make a film that did the song justice.

Mothica: I had never been involved with a music video, so I had no idea what to expect. I was shocked to show up on set with 12+ crew members, catering, a cast of over 20 strangers, a stylist and makeup artist for me. Honestly, the lighting and camera equipment was so impressive and heavy that it visually stressed me out thinking about lifting it myself, haha. 

The very last scene I was in was the scenes by the pool with the fog machine, there was a guy wafting the fog towards my face with a huge board since the wind kept blowing it away. That scene was my favorite but the fog kept making me cough so some of that footage is totally unusable. (Maybe bloopers vid material!?) OH, and the fireworks we shot off in our friend’s front yard were a bit terrifying but awesome.

Tell us about the ideas/themes/imagery used?
PUSHER: The big theme is the contrast between night and day and the two worlds that exist in the same place with the change. There’s also the snapshots of relationships between all of these people set against the almost dreamy imagery of suburban America.

What is the message you feel the video is trying to convey?
PUSHER: For the REAL rundown on the video’s meaning I’d talk to Matt Cohen (the director) because the video was largely his vision and I don’t like to micromanage the creatives I enlist. I see the message of the video as an honest peek behind the curtain at the relationships of all of these people, shown through their often intimate body language. There’s also the transition in tone of the way the couples interact between the worlds of the night and the day as the video progresses, but the REAL content is the interaction between the couples and groups.

Matthew Dillon Cohen:  My goal was to capture suburban youth through the dog days of summer. It’s rare to see youth in the media without conflict or drama. I just wanted to showcase the raw beauty of friendships and relationships without any distraction from the outside world.

Interview feature by Karla Harris