Delerium’s “Days Turn Into Nights” celebrates its continuing momentum with a new video, debuting today on CODE.
The rare male vocal from the group, which had its biggest hit with Sarah McLachlan featuring on their “Silence” in 2000, entered the Top 20 on the Dance chart this week after breaking the Clubs chart last month thanks to an EP featuring memorable remixes by Andy Caldwell, Seven Lions and Solarstone.
Stephen Scott, director of the “Days” clip, talks about Delerium with a dance music fan’s vocabulary, fitting for a former DJ.
“Tempos may vary, but it’s very much head music as much as it’s body music,” he says of the 26-year-old outfit led by producer Bill Leeb (Front Line Assembly, Skinny Puppy) . “They’re not doing four-on-the-floor bangers; it’s more atmospheric ambient that you can listen to at home. Usually they do remixes for the clubs.”
Scott has directed other Delerium clips, including “Angelicus” (5.5 million views on YouTube) and chose to avoid a narrative structure, or even an implied star. Instead he features the simple beauty of human movement, via several dancers trained at the Toronto Dance Theater.
Here, in his own words, Scott talks of how the dreamy clip came to be:
“[Delerium] is somehow faceless. Bill Leeb is behind it, but people wouldn’t know what he looks like. They don’t have a presence like Deadmau5. Even if you don’t know the face, you know the costume. As a filmmaker it was an opportunity. If you don’t have a performance to base a video around, what do you do?
“If you wanted to do something that had head and body together, instead of something clubby, the world of contemporary dance get all the physicality and emotion, but in a more abstract, strange headspace. From that came the idea of doing an otherworldly environment, and manipulating what the dancers were doing. It’s reversed and retimed, backwards and forwards.
“Here’s where the artistic meets the practical. I couldn’t go out and hire a dance troupe, so I actually phoned a really excellent school [associated with] the Toronto Dance Theater to see if they could put me in touch with people who had gone through the program. They have a billboard for all their members, then listed this opportunity, and in very short order I got responses from several people who were interested.
“I’m not a trained choreographer, so it was a matter of coming up with a language to communicate with the dancers, to get the right feeling I wanted, but basically they’re just improvising. They’re dancing in a studio space with grey behind them, no green screen.
“At the end of shooting day I had a couple of hours of footage with all of these moments. Then I chopped up and retooled them, like a remixer would take tracks into their laptop and glitch the hell out of them. It was one of the most complex edits I’ve ever done.
“The dancers are so good; the first cut with just them and no background, I was already thinking it looked wonderful. There’s something compelling about watching the human body. Some of the stuff they were able to do really knocked my socks off. They liked the music and the concept; it resonated with them. I think it really fired their imagination. I definitely felt kind of blessed.”