If humanoid robots become sentient, what will they do first? Will they begin a bloody war against humanity? Make mankind beg for mercy? Or will they simply do the robot? You know, like, dance?
In the strange science fiction disco of The Chemical Brothers‘ “Free Yourself” music video, the androids choose to bust serious moves. It’s simultaneously creepy and exciting, just as the song induces stress nightmares while giving your limbs serious life. Directed by the duo’s long-time collaborators Dom&Nic (“Block Rockin Beats,” “Hey Boy Hey Girl”), “Free Yourself” took eight months of hard work and utilized state-of-the-art motion capture technology. Special thanks are in order to the Outsider production company, and content creation studio The Mill.
“We’ve all seen humans dancing brilliantly like robots, we’ve also seen robots dancing brilliantly like robots, but you’ve never seen robots dancing badly like humans,” Dom&Nic is quoted in a press release. “The Chemical Brothers’ music allows people to get out of their box at a gig or listening to the record — it’s a moment of frenzied abandonment to the music. We wanted to capture that feeling in the idea of an oppressed robot workforce suddenly abandoning themselves to music and fun. It’s robots having fun, robots being silly and robots raving.”
The directors go on to explain the “black comedy” as “an observation or conversation about the possible future relationship between robots, artificial intelligence and humans.”
“Maybe we don’t have anything to be scared of, why do we think the worst about AI and humanity?” they continue. “During the production on this film, a cartoon was published in the New Yorker. It showed a couple of robots in a laboratory doing some moves, and the quote from the scientist in the picture was “’it appears they don’t want to take over, they just want to dance!’ We knew we were on the right tracks when we saw this.”
The team at The Mills was equally thrilled to be a part of the project. The Mills collaborated with Dom&Nic on the video for The Chemical Brothers’ “Wide Open” in 2015, as well.
“This is the kind of VFX work that encouraged many of The Mill’s artists to get into the industry and, by continuing to push the boundaries of creative excellence, we hope to inspire the next generation of artists,” the Mills Jonathan ‘Wes’ Westley is quoted. “It’s a project that enabled and required us to experiment with new motion capture technology, using our expertise to capture dance moves on set, in the studio, and in-house at The Mill. To be entrusted with bringing Dom&Nic’s vision to life is a real privilege. It’s been a huge team effort over a eight month period and I’m proud that ‘Free Yourself’ has manifested into a standout piece of work that showcases what The Mill does best — high-end, photo-real visual effects work.”
Dom&Nic thank the musical duo for always being s supportive of their vision and for bringing them such consistently inspiring music to work with. The Chemical Brothers do make a cameo among the robots. You can see them clearly behind the instigator as they corner the guard at the 5:10 mark.
Watch the video below. See if you don’t bust out some robotic dance moves yourself, and do stay tuned for the after credits. It’s Billboard Dance‘s favorite part.