Despite his final product—the mind-bending aesthetic accompaniment to Brooklyn-based musician Shadowbox’s song “AM”—director Matt Kliegman hadn’t intended to make a music video. As Kliegman tells it, he was in the final editing stages of a short film sans music, when Shadowbox (aka Bonnie Baxter) approached him to do a video.
“We explored many ideas that could fit the song. I visualized a landscape for the never-ending dream and the troubled psyche,” Baxter says. “Matt had already been working on a project with musician/model Lyle Lodwick that featured a lot of the same undertones and themes we’d discussed.”
And voilà! A match was conceived in the mechanical throes of the urban underground. “AM,” from the Haunted by Colors EP, echoes with cool, electronic backing that is visually manifested in trippy, never-ending escalators.
“I am always attracted to uniform motion and the resulting rhythms of changing lighting,” says Kliegman, who felt the tangles of the subway system held a certain overlooked beauty. Perhaps the greatest draw to the video, however, is the subject Kliegman chose to rage with the machine: Lyle Lodwick. The model-turned-musician quickly built a high-fashion portfolio since he broke out in 2009, serving as the face of Topman and Marc by Marc Jacobs. And he’s no stranger to indie-rock videos: he starred in Sigur Rós’s “Gobbledigook.”
In “AM,” Lodwick maintains a stone-cold expression as he rides an escalator, pulling his oversized coat collar over pronounced cheekbones that cut in and out of the light. It’s a video that wouldn’t work quite the same way in any other setting—though Kliegman admits he had his concerns about the location. “I was afraid we would be arrested when we shot it, and an MTA official tried to harass us,” Kliegman explains. “But we researched the legality of what we were doing, so luckily, this is, in fact, legal.”
“I don’t think I’ve seen too many videos shot in the subway-maybe it’s too mundane or people think it’s illegal, but I felt there was some overlooked beauty in it,” Kliegman continues, “and thought by just observing the minutiae, that could be brought out.”
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