This Perfect Music Video Is Basically A Moving Painting

Director Nabil Elderkin explains the magic behind FKA Twigs’ new, Aaliyah and Kanye-channeling “Two Weeks” video.

1. This morning, FKA Twigs released a video for new song “Two Weeks,” the first single from her hotly anticipated debut album LP1.

Young Turks

2. The song is a stunner — an ambitious leap forward for the gossamer-voiced R&B singer — but we couldn’t get the video out of our heads.

Nabil Elderkin / Via vimeo.com

Like Twigs herself, it’s regal yet sensual, with many more layers than can be appreciated in a single glance. In the clip, Twigs sits on a throne surrounded by a throng of dancers and water carriers, all of which are also played by Twigs.

3. Its video was directed Nabil Elderkin, who also helmed that incredible Beats by Dre World Cup ad and has worked with artists like Kanye West and James Blake.

Beats by Dre

4. Below, Nabil breaks down how “Two Weeks” came to be:

Nabil Elderkin / Via vimeo.com

How did you meet FKA Twigs? What was she like to work with?

Nabil Elderkin: I met her at Kanye’s Yeezus show in L.A. last year. I recognized her from her videos and we said hello. Then later on her manager, who is a friend of a friend, linked us up. She’s very sweet and soft spoken. She played the song for me and we riffed off some ideas I had and she was into it. It was one of the most effortless shoots that I’ve done, for sure. There were no issues. It was almost like it happened too easily. I was like “something’s gonna go wrong.” But she’s such a great visual artist and performer. She has this great aesthetic that kind of lends itself to weird ideas.

It looks like a crazy shoot

NE: It was a one day shoot. We had to shoot everything non-stop, back-to-back. We did it like a month ago. We were on set from like 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The challenge was that there were many different versions of her [created for the video], each with their own hair, makeup and clothing.

It seems like they’re all long takes, as well.

NE: Yeah. Each time we shot the full length of the song. And we had to have her positioned in just the right way so that when she feeds milk to herself it looks right and so all the dancers would relate to each other. There were a lot of little things.

For the underwater scene we put her on a harness and had a wind machine to make it look like she was really under water. My director of photography actually had a tank of water that he ran the light through so we could get the refraction of light on her skin to feel right.

Village Roadshow Pictures

Roc-A-Fella Records

MJJ Pictures

 

The result feels like some Queen of the Damned meets Kanye’s “Power” video meets Michael Jackson’s “Remember The Time” thing.

NE: Ha! Hell yeah. That’s the one with Iman and Eddie Murphy, right? I’m not mad at that. Really it was just this idea that I’d wanted to do for a long time that would be like a moving painting with one shot. The backdrop is an actual painting by Twigs’ friend Ignasi. We worked for like two weeks just to get the painting right that would depict this harem world that I wanted. The idea was that she was a queen, but that it’s shown in an abstract way and all within herself. It’s kind of like Marco Brambilla meets 300 meets hopefully a little bit of myself.

8. Watch FKA Twigs’ “Two Weeks” video:

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