Electric Youth, cherished in my heart for their dreamy electro sound and renowned for their song ‘A Real Hero’ on the Drive soundtrack, just released a video for ‘Runaway’ which is directed by Noel Paul and cast and shot in Lebanon.
Noel as you remember, was our first famous guest on the Radio Show Layal and I hosted in Beirut, so I caught up with him via email to get some insight regarding the video.
He has directed music videos for Portugal the Man, Royksopp, Bat for Lashes, and now Electric Youth — but this is the first time he has ever shot a music video in Lebanon.
The band itself is Canadian, so the link between Batroun/Beirut and Toronto isn’t obvious. But it was Noel’s idea, he said in a director’s cut commentary video. The band were fans of his work and sought him out for this music video in particular. He told me,
“[They’re] based in Toronto and they emailed me asking if I’d be interested in pitching a concept for their song Runaway. I had a story idea featuring two of my friends here in Beirut that I thought would fit the song very well, so I wrote it up and sent a treatment over to the band. They loved it and gave me the green light.”
Runaway’s lyrics are simple “Maybe we can just runaway/ maybe we can just leave this place for good / cause we’re both misunderstood.” Feeling misunderstood and wanting to run away is universal, for sure.
But when I hear this song within the context of Lebanon it strikes a chord. There are people, so many people, who want to leave but can’t. They can’t get visas to travel outside the country which is 2/3’s the size of Connecticut! They can’t assume they’ll have electricity all day because they probably won’t. They can’t even guarantee that their steady job will hand over a paycheck every month.
Or those in Lebanon who are living their personal lives so disconnected from the society and tradition of their parents that they have to use a pseudonym if they star in a music video. It’s a general understanding that everyone misunderstands everyone else in the country.
And the scenes in the video ring very true to the Lebanon I knew. From the white rocks of Batroun, to the familiar stretch of bars in Gemmayze, to the soldier in the dekane, to the brilliant bouganvillas that grow right outside Layal’s house, to the guys at Torino, to a couple (or sometimes family) riding a shitty scooter — they were the daily sights of my life, and Noel captured that.
Noel describes the video drama as such,
“It is a story about a couple who seem pretty rootless,” he said. “The video doesn’t explain if they’ve run away, or are refugees, or criminals, or are just kind of dropouts.
In a music video you have the freedom to leave so many things to the viewer’s imagination. But there are clues as to who they are. They have a laptop, they dress cool, they have high quality tattoos—indications of a high cultural status. But we see them stealing all the time, buying and driving a super shitty scooter, so they’re clearly not swimming in cash.
So we don’t know what they’re up to but we see the way they roll and you can draw your own conclusions.”
As you can see on the Youtube channel, Noel also worked with an entirely local cast and production team which goes without saying is important because it supports the growth of the local creative scene.
For me, it’s a pleasure to see the union between the indie synthpop music from the West that I love so much and a visual representation of it in Lebanon. I only hope more bands are open to the idea of exploring outside the West, and Lebanese bands continue to expand musically. Things can only get more beautiful from here.
“We’ve had to cut out a lot of shit to get here”-Adrian
Back when Layal and I started our own radio show we broadcast through a spotty Internet source at our favorite local beer joint in Beirut.
While hardly anyone in Lebanon had good enough Internet to stream the show, and those outside Lebanon couldn’t rely on the weak stream to listen either, we were lucky enough to have the space, equipment, and support to try our hands at somethin... [more]
Camping, off-festival events, environtmentalism, and the biggest acts in Lebanon
“It doesn’t get better than Wickerpark.” says Philippe Manasseh, lead singer of last year’s Canadian-Lebanese headliner Wake Island, and recent member of How Sad, also part of the 2014 lineup.
For the fourth year in a row, Junior Daou and his family open their large swath of land for a day of music, art, a... [more]
-But Berlin DJ predictably denied into Lebanon for Israeli stamp
You know what, I’m glad the Middle Eastern Gulf region is taking into account all kinds of sexy when it comes to deporting men.
Because the most recent deportee is a 55-year old German man, Rolf Buccholz, internationally known for holding the Guinness World Record in having the most body piercings.
Buchholz flew to Dubai to party it up at Circque le Soir, a club that pro... [more]
Norwegians are the masters of understatement. When something is gargantuan, they’ll say ‘It’s a bit big’ and when something’s breathtakingly beautiful, they’ll say ‘It’s nice.’ If a friend made a $10 million profit on a business deal, they’d claim he made ‘a bit of money.’
I still don’t understand whether it&... [more]
-I was the only dancer and they noticed
Take a look at the festival fashion at Hove!
As a recent immigrant to Oslo I can’t help but notice the strong Norwegian sense of style. Everyone walks around as if just getting off a Banana Republic-meets-Free People photo shoot, rocking box-fresh threads and highly styled looks. Being one of the world’s richest countries influences how people dress and they definitely dress like they are rich and care how they look.