“Done with Fake” | Behind the Scenes with Jaël and Director Luki Frieden

Jaël Luki Peace Done With Fake Music Video
Jaël "Done with Fake" | © Photo: jaelmusic.ch

There are music videos that achieve a magical pull. “Done with Fake” by singer-songwriter Jaël is one of those masterpieces. Realized by director Luki Frieden, the grandiose video convinces at first as well as at second and third glance. In the big interview with Filmpulse Jaël and Luki give an unvarnished insight behind the scenes of the shooting.

Interview with Jaël and director Luki Frieden

Filmpulse:What makes a good music video?

Jaël:If you manage to underline the emotionality and message of a piece and the song and video don’t compete with each other, then I think music videos are wonderful.

© Foto: Jaël

Jaël is a Swiss songwriter. Until 2013 she was the lead singer of the band Lunik. September 2019 saw the release of their new album, Nothing to Hide. In her solo career, Jaël has released 5 music albums to date.

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© Foto: Luki Frieden

Luki Frieden is a Swiss director and screenwriter for cinema, TV and commercial films. His feature films have won numerous awards. He is a member of the Swiss Film Academy and a fan of FC Thun.

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Filmpulse:How do you come up with an idea like this?

Luki Frieden:In this case I had the idea independently of the song. Jaël asked me if I would shoot a music video for her. That’s when I told her my idea and she said she had a song that would fit my concept perfectly. So a lot of coincidence … I shot music videos for the Lovebugs, Sina, etc. in my early days. I haven’t made one in 15 years. But because I know Jaël well and she had played a big supporting role in my last feature film, I was tempted to shoot a music video again!

Jaël:Originally I had asked Luki if he still made music videos at all. That in the hope he would realize a video for my first radio single. When Luki told me his idea, “Done with Fake” immediately came to mind … that’s the opener of my new album. It was clear to me that this would not be a radio single, as it was totally unsuitable for the radio format. To shoot a video for just “any album song” was not really the idea. But it fit so perfectly that I just “had” to make this music video for the love of it. Having a good idea is not easy for me. Since my texts are often autobiographical, the most obvious thing in my head is then a simple “film version” of the story – which would often be boring, however, and from which I then have to distance myself for the first time.

Filmpulse:What is the message of “Done with Fake”?

Luki Frieden:We all put on masks from time to time. But it’s important to drop it here and there and not be afraid of vulnerability! That’s how we humans get close.

Beauty ends in a true feeling that a person shows me.
Luki Frieden

Jaël:I did my acting training in London at the Actors Temple following the technique of Sanford Meisner. Incidentally, that was also when I wrote the song in the music video, “Done with Fake.” At the latest there I fell in love with the visible, real emotion.

Filmpulse:How do you experience visible, real emotions?

Jaël:They often take place at unexpected moments for me. When a gesture, a word, a ray of sunshine, surprises and touches me. Life when it “just happens.” Especially with a small child there are moments of beauty every day. For me, the content is always at least as important as the facade. I remember that even as a child I found older people, faces with a life written on them – or those that our society thought had flaws – more beautiful than blank supposedly perfect ones.

Filmpulse:The music video looks very easy at first sight. Now in film, it’s usually true that anything that looks easy is difficult to realize …

Luki Frieden:The difficulty was that the timing had to be perfect over a length of five minutes. Technically, it was relatively easy. I have done much more demanding productions (including shooting with animals, children, in the mountains, at sea, etc.).

My acting teacher used to say “don’t worry about tears, it’s just water…”

Jaël:After first discussing amongst ourselves and then in consultation with the stylist what the “reveal process” might involve (makeup removal, fake lashes, highlights in the hairstyle, taking off a very revealing dress, etc.) it was primarily a matter of finding the moments where it made sense to bring in lipsync and where action only was more appropriate. I thought about it, tried out a few things and then made suggestions to Luki. Our ideas overlapped quite a bit and according to those I practiced. When I was styled, we rehearsed a run-through dry on the spot, so with intimation. Luki then gave me some stage directions.

Filmpulse:Hand on heart! How much digital trickery did you guys do?

Luki Frieden:“Let’s fix it in post” is something we say a lot, ironically. We didn ‘t do any digital editing on this music video. It didn’t need anything. And if we had, we wouldn’t have had the budget … since Jaël is a professional, we actually managed to get the first take!

Jaël:… in music, it’s “let’s fix it in the mix.” But it often doesn’t really work out … that the first run would succeed right away, that amazed us all.

Luki gave me great confidence on the set that what we were doing here was going to be good!

Filmpulse:Did you have anything at all to do with the chosen concept on the set as a director?

Luki Frieden:If you plan well in advance, you can calmly observe how things develop on set. I like relaxed sets, correcting only when necessary and so that the final product is improved. I’m not one to give instructions all the time. I sometimes see very small things that I put in as input. The more trust performers feel in me, the freer and more authentic they can act.

Filmpulse:Julia Roberts was known for only undressing on set when the entire film crew had shed their clothes. What did you wear on the shoot, Luki?

Luki Frieden:Unfortunately, unlike Jaël, I wasn’t very festively dressed… jeans and a fine striped shirt that I found for eight francs at a flea market years ago. I wouldn’t have taken my clothes off unless I got paid. My tummy is OK, but we’re all vain more or less….

Jaël:I didn’t know about Julia Roberts: I think that’s a wonderful idea and performance!

Filmpulse:Jaël, you have already been in front of the camera for many music videos in your successful career: How important is a director for you?

Jaël:Since I am, in a way, my “small business” and also manage it myself and therefore no one talks into my ideas, I am dependent on and very grateful for experts whose judgement I highly value. Luki gave me great confidence on the set that what we were doing here was going to be good. And also just at the end in deciding which take to go with now, it was important to me to have Luki’s judgment, and to hear. Because I’m too close to some of my songs. And so emotionally connected that it’s hard for me to imagine how something is perceived from the outside. Also, Luki didn’t do the director’s work exclusively because we were a very small team.

Filmpulse:How on earth did you manage to get the singing, this second level, where Jaël suddenly starts singing in the on, so precise?

Luki Frieden:We worked out together where which action, where which on-song is possible. Jaël then practiced “dry” at home and found the perfect timing.

It needed nothing, no digital editing.
Luki Frieden

Jaël:It made sense to start with this line with the lipsync, because at this moment in the song I make a statement about myself for the first time.

Filmpulse:How long was the shooting day in the studio?

Luki Frieden:A lot of the time was spent on makeup. Then we shot this one, very good take. Afterwards we shot the opposite! Namely, how Jaël makes herself up, smearing the make-up more and more exaggerated on her face. In the edit, I tried to juxtapose that with the makeup removal in a split screen. I quickly realized, however, that removing makeup alone had much more power. – In total we were in the studio for about 8 hours.

Jaël:It was definitely the shortest and most relaxed day of shooting in the 20 years of my career so far. For this, the preparation time was longer, as timing was essential.

“Done with Fake”: music video by musician Jaël, directed by Luki Frieden | © 2019 Jaelmusic

Jaël - Done with Fake

Filmpulse:Would you like to say something about the production budget?

Luki Frieden:That was with camera and studio rent and styling about 1500.-. The cameraman Timon Rupp and I will be paid a flat rate of 150. This music video is a friendship project. Not a commercial one.

Jaël:As we all know, the music business is not exactly flourishing. Since I finance and manage myself, fat budgets like in former times, when my band had a record deal with a major, are simply not possible anymore. So I was very grateful that the three guys were so in love with the project that they were willing to work on those terms.

Filmpulse:How big was the crew and with which camera did you shoot?

Luki Frieden:The crew consisted of cameraman Timon Rupp, Nina Tatavitto as stylist and me. So very familiar. We shot on a Sony F7 with a 50 mm fixed focal length. Plus lots of ND filter so we have very little depth of field. I cut the music video on my Premiere Pro. The color correction was done by Jürgen Kupka from “Unsere Farben”, who did a great job.

Filmpulse:If you could shoot the same clip again, what would you change?

Luki Frieden:Hopefully we wouldn’t do anything differently.

Jaël:For me, a small drop of bitterness at the very beginning was that the tears that often flowed during rehearsals when I sang “I don’t wanna hide anymore” didn’t come in front of the camera. But in the end I was glad that I could work with what was the real situation at that moment. In hindsight, I think maybe it would have even been “too much” and too Sinead O Connor in “Nothing compares to you”. Maybe because these tears, practically the “release of the emotion”, don’t happen at the beginning of the video, that’s the reason why the emotion stays so suffocatingly there until the end, which also pulls you in … often it’s almost more intense to see someone wrestling with or against an emotion. My acting teacher used to say “don’t worry about tears, it’s just water… when you’re emotionally full, that’s what will touch the audience”. I agree with him.

It was definitely the shortest and most relaxing day of shooting in my 20 year career!

Filmpulse:Most video shoots have their little secrets. Can you tell us one thing?

Jaël:There was a moment when I almost couldn’t untangle my hair and was internally stressing about whether I could manage to stay in timing. This then fitted ideally into the whole. Because I was able to use that and the video there gained pace and intensity because of it. You can see my frustration, but of course you interpret it differently. I had wanted to take the dress off before I sang again, but when I tried to take it off while singing, it felt strangely wrong or illogical, so I let it go and finally pulled it over my other shoulder. Those were like mini internal moments where I was making decisions about how I wanted to do this now without coming off the rails or seeming fake.

Luki Frieden:At 4:34 Jaël sang another “lurch” while filming, which she always sings live, but which is not in the released song. Then I briefly mixed in the original sound from the set in the cut … you can hear there how the sound suddenly has more “space”. But you’d hardly notice if you didn’t know…

Filmpulse:Were there any other challenges?

Luki Frieden:My gin and tonic ran out after only 1 hour …

Jaël: I mourned the split screen for a long time. Those were very great shots! But it really drew too much attention to itself, unfortunately, and took away a lot of the intensity of the video. We had the idea to release the split screen as a follow up music video afterwards, but in the end we didn’t do that. Simply because it is too coherent as it is now.
A luxury problem …

Filmpulse:What will you remember?

Luki Frieden:That we shot that first take, then watched it together and we all felt that we probably wouldn’t be able to get anyone else to come close to that!

Jaël:Yes! That was a real surprise…

Filmpulse:Jaël and Luki Frieden: Thank you very much for the interview and for letting us look behind the scenes of your music video!

This article was automatically translated into English using AI. If you would like to help us improve the quality, we would be happy to hear from you.

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