How do you go about making your first ever music video without a budget and just your mobile phone? Our current Digital Resident, Patrick Samuel, faced those very challenges when he was planning the video for his debut single back in 2019.
Read on for tales of shooting in a graveyard and the emotional connection this song holds for Patrick.
Do you remember when you came up with the song?
It was a cold evening in February 2019. The bulk of my Distant Star album had already been recorded and the track list was pretty much final at the time, but on this evening as I sat with my guitar to do some practice, a melody and a few lines came to me…
“I hear you call my name
Like a whisper, like a laugh
I’m falling for you now
I think this is witchcraft”
When inspiration hits you like that, you have to go with it, so I began recording the final song for the album and I knew it would be the launch single. Witchcraft was also the first song where I played acoustic guitar, electric guitar and bass guitar for the first time, and that would prompt me to revisit the other songs and revamp them a little with my new instruments.
Despite its title, the song is an ode to joy. It’s about coming out and experiencing a new feeling with a lust for life. I really wanted to highlight that on the album because in my daily life I can go from the lowest lows to the highest highs in a matter of moments as that’s just how my brain works. That high moment needed to come in the middle of the album.
What story does the video tell?
Despite having no budget and nothing to film the video with, I came up with a storyline where I would play four different characters. There’s “the boy” who plays his acoustic guitar. “The goth” who roams the cemetery. “The warlock” who creates spells and mixes potions. And “the fairy” who communes with nature. Their stories would change mid-way through the video as they all fall under a spell, either embracing their new feeling or falling victim to it.
How were you able to film it?
The entire video was filmed on a mobile phone. We shot over the course of a week across eight different locations around London. I did my own costumes, hair and make-up on location and came up with my own choreography and even though passers-by would stop and watch, it was even more reason to keep going.
I’ve never been put off by people watching, as long as they don’t disturb or try to interact whilst I’m busy or “in the zone”. I think my autism helps in those moments, as I’m able to exist only in what I’m doing and don’t perceive anything else around me but the task at hand.
Which locations did you enjoy the most?
There are so many to choose from. I really love the natural light during the cemetery scenes. We shot that at Abney Park cemetery in Stoke Newington, thankfully I didn’t fall into any open graves.
We also filmed at the Scala in King’s Cross, that was really exciting. It’s during the annual LGBT club night, Popstarz. Back in the 90s and early 2000s it was a weekly event, and I was frequently there to enjoy my favourite indie, alternative and Britpop anthems, so it was amazing to shoot those scenes there.
In addition to that, we also got permission to film using the stage at the Dugdale Theatre in Enfield with a lighting technician at hand to give the scene some magic.
The most difficult part of the shoot was when I thought it would be a great idea to have an Ophelia inspired ending to the video and I had to lay in an ice-cold lake in the middle of March. I have never been that cold before and thought I would die, but thankfully we got just what we needed for that very short shot.
How did it go as the video that would launch your music career?
I got to premiere the finished video at the launch for my 7th solo exhibition, Spellbound, in east London. It was the first time anyone saw it and in the audience was my mom, sister and brother, so that meant a lot.
It was the first time, and the last time, my mom could see what I could use my autism for. Shortly afterwards she was diagnosed with cancer, but I did get to dedicate my first ever live performance to her. I performed it at the Dugdale Theatre in October 2019 just one week before she passed away, so in a lot of ways, the song and the video have become tied to my memory of that final year with her, which makes it all the more special.
Head to Tiergarten Records’ Youtube Channel to explore further.
Digital Residencies is part of Drake Music’s covid-secure artistic programming and is supported by the Arts Council England Culture Recovery Fund. It is a self-directed online residency for Disabled artists.