Director: Mike Piscitelli

Original Feature: Promo News

How she’s blossomed. Having called the rise of BANKS back in April 2013 we almost feel like a proud parent. As must many. BANKS has once again upped her game with silent subtle style. This time Mike Piscitelli took a gamble and the BANKS made good; focusing solely on the artist has paid dividends. Outfits twist yet stick as mirrors welcome us to the world of BANKS. A reflective delight.

So we caught up with Mike Piscitelli to find out how he got the best out of BANKS, how he kept the camera hidden from shot in a room of mirrors, and why styling was important to the project.

Luke Tierney: BANKS has been on everyones lips as well as headphones for the past year, have you been a fan of BANKS for a while? How did this project come about? 

Mike Piscitelli: I had heard of Banks but I was not familiar with her music or her at all. i-D had sent me the track to see if I would be interested in writing on it and I was instantly into her music. Then I googled her and learned what a cool and thoughtful visual approach she had taken with her photos and videos and I got to writing…

The concept centers completely around BANKS, did you know she would be up to the task beforehand?

With all videos I think you have to take a leap of faith that on the day of the shoot the stars will align and the artist will be in a good mood and rested. To be honest I really had no idea if she would be up to the task since we didn’t speak till day of… luckily, she brought more than enough to her performance to keep the clip engaging all the way through.

To what extent were shots preplanned?

There was a small shot list planned but there really wasn’t a way to know exactly how it would look shooting through one-sided mirrors until we had the set built. Since this was a pretty modest budget we didn’t have a ton of time to prep this job and the set was only built the day before the shoot. Luckily I had an amazing producer, (Logan Adermatt) DP, (Michael Stine) and art director (Bryn Bowen) that were able to run a few tests with me the night before to make sure the idea would actually work the way we had planned.

The infinity room is beautiful, where did you shoot the promo?

We built the set and shot the video at Evidence Film Studios in Los Angeles.

Was it tough to keep the camera hidden in a room made of mirrors?

The entire video was shot from the outside of the set using one-sided mirrors. In the treatment I wrote “There will be a true honesty and subtly that exists throughout her performance since she won’t be able to see when the camera is actually shooting her but she will be able to see herself.” I was into the idea of an artist getting to see her performance in real time and how they might interact with themselves. It turned out to be a bit more challenging for BANKS in the beginning not knowing where the camera was, but as the day went on and she was able to see the footage she became much more comfortable being so isolated, and her performances became more intense.

Styling subtly adds another dimension to the performance, especially through colour, how important was styling for you? 

Since this was a video that came through i-D, the fashion was a key element. As soon as my treatment was approved I started talking with Alastair McKimm, i-D’s fashion editor, about where he wanted to take BANKS’s fashion. It was his idea to put her in three identical outfits but in three different colours, and I think it made the final product so much better. Maya Krispin (stylist) pulled the final outfit and somehow managed to find it in three colours.



2013 . ROUND . UP
Lets be honest, it is impossible to create a definitive round-up. Every video on this blog is a favourite, that’s why they’re here! It’s always good to reflect, Lorde on the blog 6 months ago, predicting BANKS would make the BBC Sound of 2014 list in Apirl and starting to interview directors. Below is a list of my top 5 favourites, not to say they are the best or the worst but they are my favourite, in each something caught both my eye and imagination. Enjoy:
‘Cool’ visualised. Strong in every aspect this has to be my favourite video of the year and should become a feature-length!
Devilishly dark comedy at it’s best. The end caught me off-guard and gave me giggles.
A truly beautiful and stylish animation, part of the key to it’s brilliance is the intergration of animation sound into the track for the video.
Simply unique.
The most beautiful video of the year for me, the mood is depicted perfectly summed up by the horses slipping into shot then bolting at the bridge. Somehow the song was made better (again).



(watch this while waiting for Banks to make the BBC’s one to watch 2014)

Having only recently moved to LA, this young director certainly does not waste time. Although born in the 90s a distinct style has already been established, most likely during his BA in Media Arts (jokes, a BA degree being appropriately used, unlucky Philosophy Bachelors). Dylan Knight does simple. This isn’t a sly diss, Mr Knight truly does simple painfully well. Turning a phone call into a emotional insight into your life. Simple. Turning a small room into an emotional pit of desperation. Simple.

If you think you could make this video you would be wrong. Granted its not flashy, its not clever, it’s beauty instead lies in its simplicity. Every single thing that happens, or more importantly doesn’t, keeps the emphasis on a voice. The voice that is Banks. Banks who in my eyes is definitely one to watch for 2013. She’ll make the BBC’s one to watch 2014; a list almost completely made up of artists that establish themselves the previous year. This track proves it. Fact. Pinky promise.