Portraits is a series of interviews with the best Italian directors of music videos – an original format created by Videoclip Italia. Our goal is to expose the quality of their work by giving voice to their ambitions, their point of view, and their perspectives, and, if possible, bring them closer to the international public.
We wish to do this because they deserve more recognition.
After interviewing Ground’s Oranges for episode 01 and Cinepila for episode 02, we decided to interview another collective. Bendo (Vimeo, Instagram) are among the most prolific italian music videos directors and are fastly affirming themselves as one of the most wanted signature for indie acts and rising pop stars.
Lorenzo Silvestri, Andrea Santaterra, and Andrea Losa became bendo in 2017 and in few years time became established in the world of Italian music videos. Coming from three different life and professional paths, each one of them brings and shares a different aspect of visual communication, making the creative and work approach complete and multifaceted. Their strong link with music, both for simple passion and personal experience, also explains why they chose to approach themusic video.
WHAT IS A MUSIC VIDEO?
«The music video is, first of all, a piece of our cultural background. We are part of the MTV generation, and the hours we spent in front of the TV, devouring music videos, have made us used to not only listening, but watching music. For us the video is an opportunity to create a universe. Not necessarily a story, but a real tailored dress for the artist, which has our signature and that reflects and respects the song. We aim at synthesis, playing with the images (also through the use of a bold, coherent, and unconventional style), but above all giving meaning to every choice we make. All this acts as a glue between music and images, and aims to amaze, but above all to be understood».
«We don’t prefer any specific genre, but we have a greater sensitivity for what is conceptual
and visual (but never as an end in itself) and not purely narrative. We love the twist, the visual game and everything that creates expectation or illusion, which we then choose to pander to or upset. We’ve made music videos that are radically different one from another, and that’s because we don’t feel the need to let one style prevail. We want to make room for the song, first of all, and to the images that it conveys, which are always different. Often, we like to narrate consequently, through visual stratagems and small details that tell the identity of the characters. To this element we put an almost maniacal attention, we want to know the character we create so we can talk about him and make it believable».
«The approach is the same every time, despite the fact that we deal with very different projects. However, the method is the result of the experience accumulated during these years, but it is above all linked to our own experience. We’re all three of us, after all, planners). Our method of work is mixed with the most anarchic creativity and with our cinematic cultural background (but not only cinematic). We are also always keeping in mind possibilities and constraints of the production. We always arrive at a complete, multifaceted, but especially clear idea».
«Everything starts with music. After listening to the song many, many times, we try to understand in which universe we are projected. We simply put in place that process that each of us does spontaneously when listening to a song (for example during a car or train trip, very prolific places for ideas for us in the creative phase). Personal listening creates images, suggestions, and often direct reference links (by
any type, not necessarily purely cinematic) already very precise. We try to understand if it is gonna be an aesthetic video, a narrative one, a playback, etc., deciphering the sound of the song, identifying the rhythm, the dynamics of the actions, the scenes, or the editing.
Sometimes we are inspired by a historical period, from which we absorb the style and we let ourselves be influenced by previous experiences. Working on the past experiences of the viewer already creates a strong bond of understanding and affection for what you’re looking at. It is important for us to gain the trust of the beholder, which then allows us to break the rules and above all, not to bore.
After a very long phase of research, there is the very important moment of the confrontation with the artist. We dialogue with them and share our vision, often getting together for the final draft of the idea».
WHICH ONE IS YOUR BEST WORK?
«It is very difficult to give an answer to this question. We can, if you want, try to meet us and give you a top 5 in random order.
– Gazzelle – Sopra
– Nahaze featt Achille Lauro – Carillon
– Canova – Goodbye Goodbye
– Tropico – Non esiste amore a Napoli
– Achille Lauro – Me ne frego
In all of these examples, although extremely different from each other, we think there is a cohesive universe created around the song. They are all videos in which images and music accompany and support each other in balance. We find that they are somehow iconic and representative of our multiple tastes».
WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT THIS JOB?
«Even here it will be difficult to answer. Although it is a wonderful job, we believe one of the most beautiful and stimulating in the world, there are always downsides. You have to say “goodbye” to a regular life, say “goodbye” to weekends and sometimes say “goodbye” to holidays, but this apparently has never been a problem for us.
Work becomes life and life becomes work, we were just thinking some time ago about how much it is incredible the fact that you basically never stop working. Even when you’re doing the “normal” stuff of all the days, you always end up looking at things differently. For example: shopping often becomes the moment you stop to look at things, everything becomes inspiration, almost automatically each one of us end up unconsciously focusing on everything around ourselves.
We begin to look at things differently in order to assimilate and discover more details and possible nuances. All of this in order to later be able to draw from these memories and to be able to stage and tell everything that has been experienced in the most effective way.
The beauty of this work, however, has many implications: travelling (a lot) and having the opportunity to visit incredible places, getting to know the artists, learning from each experience while keeping up to date, but especially to feel free and lucky enough to be able to tell different stories each time».
Interview by Alessio Rosa
Graphic project by Agostino Toriello (@mos4ico)
Translation edited by Kendall Bendheim