Jordan Martin on creating a lucid dreamworld for Fontaines D.C.

Written by Hatti Rex

With the world slowly revealing it’s nightmarish tendencies, it’s natural for us all to want to escape into daydreams and creative pursuits to distract ourselves and find joy amongst the darkness. Whilst freelancers and the creative industries are feeling the crunch, there are some true gems being formed under the pressure. 

One treasure from this bleakest of years has to be the video for Fontaines D.C. recent track A Lucid Dream, directed by Jordan Martin and released in September.

It's been a huge year for the band, an Irish post-punk band from Dublin, following on from their 2019 debut album Dogrel, with the release of A Hero's Death in July on Partisan Records. Their second record was pipped to the No.1 spot by Taylor Swift after a very closely run album battle.

As a long time Creative Commission member, we caught up with Jordan to discover what went into producing this video and what he finds to spark his creativity in lockdown. 

Around seven years ago, Jordan got into music video direction whilst also creating skate videos at University in Bristol, he tells us. “These would be for mates or local artists and musicians and then it just grew. I always liked collaborating with different practices; fine art, fashion, animation. It meant I could try everything out and get help from people who were skilled in that area and could teach me their ways. That then grew into my own company Double Vision.”

His creative studio Double Vision has gone on to produce works for platforms like Nowness and Vice and bands including Heavy Lungs, Idles, Paul Weller, Bastille and beyond - with many of these projects found via CC. 

Fontaines D.C.

Working on Fontaines D.C frontman Grian Chatten’s ideas was a dream for Jordan.

“We've worked with Partisan Records before and I really rate the band and Grians’ ability to tell a story through his lyrics. Although a low budget, I thought it would be a great opportunity to work with a band as more of a passion project.”

“The band wanted to have a lo-fi, dream-like, homemade feel so we decided to film it all on VHS-C tapes.” Jordan describes how it all came together.

“We then made a body rig for Grain to give the birds-eye view effect, as well as using a Snorricam, by using that and a 360 camera it created a pretty strange and lucid feel.” For those who haven’t given it a watch, the viewpoint often hovers from above looking down as though through the eyes of a sleep paralysis demon or like an out of body experience.

“It's something we want to experiment more with in the future, it always gives such a captivating and interesting perspective.”

Hottest day of the year

These scenes are cut together with historical footage clips which give the work a truly dream-like feel. “The footage itself was taken from the British Pathé archives,” Jordan tells us. “Of the 1916 easter rising or 'Bloody Sunday'. The band wanted to use these old shots of Dublin and have it worked into the video as the song and lyrics were written about the Easter Rebellion in Ireland.”

With the band having such a clear vision, Jordan found it pretty straightforward to pitch his ideas back to them. “I pitched several ideas around different strange camera techniques and filming on tape using old VHS cameras before conversing with the band and management to narrow down the ideas.”

Filming during a pandemic didn’t prove to be too difficult a challenge for the team either. “We took all the safety precautions we could and had just me and my producer on set,” Jordan explains. “The hardest thing was filming on the hottest day of the year, Grian had to wear a body rig and 2 black t-shirts! Fair play to him, didn't even break a sweat!” 

A part of CC from the start

Having found the project through CC, we asked how Jordan first discovered the site. “After university, I was looking for video production houses to represent me,” he tells us.

“Then I came across the site and the jobs I found on Creative Commission kept me freelance to this day, never needing to take on a full-time role anywhere. This worked perfectly for me, as I could work from home, stay involved with collectives I was a part of whilst still giving time to my personal projects.” Keeping the work-life balance is important in creative industries, especially when the ‘life’ part involves the personal projects you need for yourself.

“I've found it an incredible link for creatives to be directly in touch with labels and have an opportunity to build relationships and have ongoing work,” he goes on. “I feel as though I've been a part of it from the start. It's helped me reach audiences and briefs I wouldn't have been able to just working on my own.”

We asked if he had any words of wisdom for those just starting to carve out their dream career paths. “Experimentation is key! Try different things out, test your ideas. Use your friends, the environment around you, and collaborate to elevate your work.”

Thanks, Jordan!