FEATHERS just released this video for Land of The Innocent last week. The video was directed by Allie Avital Tsypin in the desert somewhere outside of Austin, Texas. It’s full of haunting visuals, beautiful costumes, and has a clean, minimal aesthetic against a pristine natural landscape. Tsypin was kind enough to spend a few minutes with Beautiful Savage discussing the project, and what it’s like for a New York City director to drop everything and trek out into the middle of the desert to shoot a music video.

Beautiful Savage Magazine Interview With Allie Avital Tsypin:

BSM: Hey Allie. Thanks for taking the time to speak with me. So I just watched the FEATHERS video. It’s really beautiful.

Thank You! Working on it was a pretty surreal experience. The locations were stunning. We shot it in two days in 108 degree weather just outside of Austin.

BSM: And how did you decide to work with FEATHERS?

Steven Grisé, our production designer, saw FEATHERS play in New York and introduced me to them. When I heard their stuff I was blown away, and decided stalk them a little. Then Anastasia reached out to me and we spoke about the song, the direction, and it she told me they needed a video.

BSM: Sounds straightforward enough.

Sort of, but not really. Feathers were in Austin at the time. We were in New York City—along with all of our crew, connections, and resources. I’d never even been to Texas, much less shot a video there. But when it came down to it, we believed in Land of The Innocent so we dropped everything and Steven and Owen Donovan, our cinematographer, and I took a road trip.

BSM: And you had no connections and no crew?

We found a crew. And when we got to Austin we hooked up with Dog & Pony, a fashion house where we had our costumes made and where I did a lot of the treatment for the video, and shot the entire thing in two days in 2 locations. I was working like fourteen hour days.

BSM: That is intense. By the way, the costumes are kind of amazing. Who did that?

Harrison Koiwai at Dog & Pony. He and I would be working late into the night. I was working on treatments and schedules for the next day and he was making costumes, actually trying them on himself. He’s amazing. I really loved his work.

BSM: And so you were able to pull together a production in a couple days with a skeleton crew?

We did. We’re used to doing really ambitious productions in New York, where we have connections, budget, and resources. But this was a different experience entirely. We had four days, our resourcefulness, and some beautiful locations. One location was a post-apocalyptic lake that’s drying up in the middle of the desert. The other location was a quarry, owned by a guy who originally wasn’t going to let us shoot. We drove there with all our gear, and ended up in this fancy back office of the quarry, the girls are already in costume, with one day before we have to leave. The production could have been ruined. The guy was pretty set. He was like “No. you’re not shooting here.”

BSM: So what did you do? That would have killed the project, no doubt?

Yes, it would have. And I was basically begging him, telling him that we had only one day, and that all our equipment was there and we were ready to go. I told him we had our girls already in costume, and he paused for a moment. “Did you just say girls?” he asked. He got really excited about girls in costume apparently. He not only gave us free reign of this quarry, but he personally brought us up to the most pristine portion of it. The location is stunning. Like I said, it was 108 degrees up there, and the desert and the hills are very untouched—not like New York. And there were a dead deer and a dead coyote out in the rocks, which just added to how surreal the place was.

BSM: Was it the location that informed the aesthetic of the video?

Yes and no. The song is about wishing to return to the self—a play on a lack of innocence. Anastasia’s lyrics are about longing, desiring something that is endless, elusive. I feel the purity of our locations, and the purity of our subjects, contrast with the girls in the car—something so familiar as the all American road trip. The whole thing is a painting honestly, but I stayed away from a concrete narrative.

BSM: How long did you work on it?

It was a two day shoot, and we spent quite a while in post, probably a month, on and off. We edit collectively. We shot it in a way to leave a lot of final options.

BSM: What does it feel like to drop everything for a project?

It’s interesting to get out of your comfort zone. As a director, you’re never directing purely. You’re directing what can be produced. In NYC you’ve got limits on budgets, locations, talent, etc. You can get ANY actor, any height, and size, but you’re vision is tied down by your limitations. In Austin, this was taken to a very different place. Taking our crew out to the desert and making a video was very freeing because the territory was very foreign, the limitations were different. I went from never having been to Texas, to being in the middle of Austin in a fashion house, finishing the treatment, figuring out the video. Also, whenever you travel, you enter a totally different headspace.

That’s really great Allie. Thanks for speaking with me.

Thanks. Anytime.