Gerardo Naranjo, director of TV shows Narcos and The Bridge, has collaborated with Interpol to create a brilliantly experimental video for their track The Rover, from the upcoming sixth album.
Part drama, part-documentary, part-fever dream, it channels the grand tradition of cinema verité, with Ebon Moss-Bachrach as a charismatic wild man who undergoes an ecstatic psychedelic conversion on the streets of Mexico City. And it also reveals the mystery of the strange happenings at Interpol's real livestreamed press conference, announcing their new album, in June.
From the moment Moss-Bachrach (Girls, The Punisher) falls out with the band and falls out of their minivan, he embarks on a very trippy adventure with a bunch of young locals - Los Locos - and they 'rove' through the pulsing Distrito Federal. The sights, sounds and colours of Mexico City bleed into the psyche of the character, leading to a remarkable moment where he reunites with the band, and in particular Interpol frontman Paul Banks, at their press conference.
“I like to describe the video for The Rover as a prequel," says Banks, who wrote the concept for the video. It’s the origin story of the character described in the song, the birth of a cult leader. When we meet him he is partly unhinged. He’s a man on the verge, an artist subjected to great pressures, and beset with existential frustrations. A distracted hipster who enjoys psychedelics, let’s say.
"The events that take place in Mexico City, be it a bump on the head, a visit to a shaman, or the influence of his rescuers (the street gang known as ‘Los Locos’) trigger the birth – the eruption – of this new figure, ‘The Rover.’ His rescuers become his first followers. In the end of the video he exacts his ‘revenge’ on Interpol with a mischievous act of disruption during the press conference. He grabs me by the head – to save me? Forgive me? Or simply as a gesture of his new independence? The butterfly becoming."
And in all, it's a powerful, distinctive, and brave way to tell a story within the music video format. Gerado Najanjo explains below how it all came together, and how proud he is of the work they have done. And so he should.
From the director
“We agreed the video could be a documentary of that time, Mexico and them. Matador and Interpol were planning a complex broadcast from Mexico to the world via internet. I promised them we would not mess it up.
"So, when I came in we decided to inject a storyline into the press conference and make it feel like a "happening of sorts" cause we wanted to stay secret. It was technically and logistically a challenge.
"We cast these kids in CDMX that I am inspired by - a group of young Mexican artists chosen as "Los locos": The street gang who adopts The Rover while in Mexico. Ebon I know as a great actor but also a hard worker. Also, we are friends. We speak a little about Rasputin and together with Paul we start to create a character.
"From then on it was just run and shoot the bit of chaos we found on our way. The city took us as it does when you go with a camera and a clear intention. A group of friends was made. I feel very proud of this work we have done."