fbpx

ERASURE NEWS

A BEHIND THE SCENES LOOK AT THE MAKING OF ERASURE’S ‘AM I RIGHT?’ VIDEO

December 20th, 2019|

As previously reported, on February 14th 2020 BMG will release the latest in their series of remastered and expanded Erasure CD reissues with a 3-CD edition of ‘Chorus’ featuring a remastered version of the original album on one disc; a selection of new and classic remixes, b-sides and bonus tracks on disc two; and a live version of the ‘Chorus’ album, recorded on Erasure’s Phantasmagorical Entertainment Tour, on the final disc.

The remastered and expanded edition of ‘Chorus’ comes in deluxe hardback book packaging and is available to pre-order now using the links below. The first 2000 pre-order customers will also receive a bonus pack of four ‘Chorus’ postcards.

In addition to the extensive sleeve notes that accompany the remastered and expanded album journalist Mat Smith also produced a series of supplementary pieces about ‘Chorus’ which we will be presenting here over the course of the countdown to release.

The piece below is Mat Smith discussing the video to accompany the single release of ‘Am I Right?’, and includes contributions from Vince Clarke and video director Angela Conway…


ERASURE: INSIDE THE ‘AM I RIGHT?’ VIDEO

‘Am I Right?’ was shot by Angela Conway, whose association with Mute Records stretched back to when she was making music with members of Wire as A. C. Marias, before eventually settling into directing music videos. “I was doing videos for lots of Mute people at that time,” she recalls. “I can’t honestly remember why I was asked to do the videos for ‘Am I Right?’ and ‘Breath Of Life’. Mute was like a big family, but even so I wouldn’t have thought I’d have been a go-to director, because I was known for doing quite moody things, rather than full-on pop.”

‘Moody’, however, was exactly the quality that Conway brought to her memorable video for ‘Am I Right?’. Shot in Amsterdam, where Vince was then living, her film was loaded with emotional pathos, its black and white presentation feeling like the polar opposite of David Mallet’s humour-laden shorts. The video follows a mournful-looking Andy around the city, sees him pausing on the steps at the Homomonument AIDS memorial surrounded by sodden flowers and gazing solemnly across the canals, providing more clues to the sorrowful narrative of the song but still allowing you to come to your own conclusions about what turbulent events might have actually happened. The Erasure Information Service invited fans to contribute their own interpretations of the themes of the video, the winning entry offering amusing explanations of some of the more surreal, dream-like moments.

“I remember that we talked about the video before we started work on it, and we came up with a list of shots, but it wasn’t formally storyboarded,” explains Conway. “Andy mentioned about the AIDS memorial, and that was definitely something he wanted to be in it. For me, the song was about somebody who’d died of AIDS, and I always thought that’s why he wanted that in it. I didn’t even know the memorial existed, but he really wanted it in the video. In the scene, he’s sitting down on this piece of marble by one of the canals, and to me it felt like it must have been to do with the lyrics or what was going on in his life at the time.”

Part of the emotional gravity that came with the ‘Am I Right?’ video came from its presentation in black and white. “We shot it on some really old, out of date film stock,” recalls Conway. “It was the cameraman who asked if we could use it. I remember it was so old – probably World War II kind of film stock, and I remember the camera assistant saying the grain was actually falling off the film. Thank goodness some of it came out. I think that’s what makes it so lovely though – we didn’t have to do very much to it. We tinted it, but the look of it was already really nice. I have lovely memories of making that video.”

‘Am I Right?’ was also one of Andy’s most visually arresting and subtly nuanced performances. “His performance in that video worked really well together with the old film stock. He looked really good in some of those shots of him just walking around. He seemed much less self-conscious than if he’d been doing something in a studio, I thought.”

In contrast, and with the all-too-memorable exception of the video for ‘Take A Chance On Me’, ‘Am I Right?’ saw Vince trying his best to get himself out of appearing in Erasure promos. His solitary contribution to the ‘Am I Right?’ video was shots of him standing on a passing boat, his performance so devoid of motion that he might as well have been one of the showroom dummies the duo had brought on stage with them for the early TV performances of ‘Chorus’.

“I was pretty sick of videos by then,” he readily admits, and if it wasn’t for Daniel Miller’s insistence, he would have been more than comfortable not being filmed at all. “Mute wanted to get a shot of him, obviously, for commercial reasons,” adds Conway. “So the deal was that he’d be in it minimally, and it was his idea to be on the boat. I remember saying to him, ‘We’ll just do the one shot of you on the boat and that’s it, Vince. We’ll do it first thing in the morning and then you’re done.’ And he was okay with that.” The video concludes with Vince’s boat sailing out of the city into the countryside, a solemn conclusion to a vivid and exquisite film.

MAT SMITH