INTERVIEW: Director Dan Cadan Talks Noel Gallagher’s Black Star Dancing Music Video

Hi Dan, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Thank you kindly.  I’m good and hope you all are too.

How were you drawn into the filmmaking world?

When I was a kid, I lived with my mum in a council flat up in Huddersfield.  My dad had left behind some old silver trunks and being the law abiding 10 year old that I was, I broke into one and discovered the Holy Grail – a top loading, JVC VHS machine.  I kicked and squealed like an angry piglet until my mum agreed to join the video library (you had to pay back in 1985 to join).  And that was it.  I sat watching film after film after film, entranced but whatever magic I was witnessing unfold before my eyes.  I knew that I somehow had to be involved in whatever I was watching.  But how? 

How would you say your filmmaking skills have helped you in your work as a music video director?

I guess they both help and hinder.  I see most things cinematically.  Putting the long in short form…so to speak.  I prefer to work some kind of narrative into the work, as you will see with Mumford & Sons, Kasabian and Noel’s videos.

Let’s talk about your work on Noel Gallagher’s Black Star Dancing – how did you jump on board? What was it like to work with Scully and how did he come on board?

Scully, a good friend of mine and Noel’s, called me up saying he had an idea for a video.  Scully comes from a different world, so had no way to make this work, so he told me the idea, knowing exactly how I would react.  I thought it was genius and Scully, who directed the video with me, has proven himself to be a hugely talented force of creativity.  We made a trial video using footage from Wheeltappers and intercut this with Bob Marley & The Wailers performing Stir It Up on The Old Whistle Test….Scully showed this to Noel and he loved it.  Now Scully is unbound and we’ve already come up with an idea for video number two for Noel, so we are already on with that.

With Oasis being such a staple of the 90s music scene – why from all the decades did you choose to go with 70s?

Because Oasis are Oasis and NGHFB’s are NGHFB’s.  I feel that Noel is making music that is timeless, it can’t be pigeonholed and it shouldn’t be.  His sound is so evolved yet hints to some of the greatest sounds of our time.  And Nile Rodgers danced in Noel’s studio to BLACK STAR DANCING, who’s gonna argue with him?

From all the TV shows on British television – why did you choose to capture the aesthetic of The Wheeltappers?

Simple.  Nostalgia.  The look of the place.  Nobody under the age of 40 will know where we are…so we nailed two audiences.  Young and old.  In fact, some people have contacted us asking which were extras and who were authentic audience members from the ’70’s.  We’ve had mega comments from Ian Brown, who Noel texted saying this is the best video he’s ever made, Mike Joyce from The Smiths, whose mind was blown when he realised everyone in the audience was authentic and Bobby Gilliespie loved the video too.  It just works.

Why shooting around 32hrs of just audience reactions? 

It wasn’t 32 hours of just audience reactions.  The 32 hours was made up of every episode of T W S S C.  We had to whittle through to find the gold – audience, host and acts.

The video seems to mostly focus on the crowd rather than the performance – why did you choose to go with that direction?

The challenge was to make it feel like the crowd were at first excited to see the “top of the bill” but then when NGHFB’s appear, they aren’t too sure about them but by the end of the video they are up and dancing.  We also wanted to synch the crowd with the beats of the track, which I think we achieved pretty damn well.  From the nicotine stained fingers tapping along to the bass, to moments where it looks like the audience are actually singing Noel’s lyrics. 

Did you have second thoughts on going for this direction?

We only ever thought about going for that direction and are very happy that we did.

What would you say was the most challenging about this video?

Deciding on which audience shots were the best.  There were so many great faces and looks in the crowds but a lot of the crowd was recycled and you’d see the same audience members in different outfits in the same episodes, which was pretty funny.  Sometimes in glasses or a wig or a headscarf to try to disguise themselves.

What else is happening next in Dan Cadan’s world?

Hoping to find another feature to direct but developing several of my own projects, both TV and features.  Whilst continuing to create a series of era led videos for Mr G.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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