Vincent Haycock is the godfather of modern music videos. A dark horse with an eye for interesting characters and the situations which define them, Mr Haycock has worked with Calvin Harris, Florence & The Machine, Paul McCartney, Lana Del Ray, MSTRKRFT, Raffertie and - unfortunately - Rihanna.

He captained a rapidly expanding new type of music video - one grounded in the fantastical truths of the painfully mundane. Be it a young woman escaping the day-to-day chaos of home life by riding into green pastures on a motorcycle, or a family of brothers exploring what it means to be a man in the 21st century, Mr Haycock is one of those rare individuals that can grasp the persona of an artist's message so completely, that their image can literally change overnight.


405: What were your key influences growing up, particularly in your teen years?

Punk music and the album artwork that came with it. Lots of Raymond Pettibon, Pushead, Peter Saville, etc. Mostly unknown artists that made amazing album covers with nothing but a photocopier.

405: Formal education vs School of Hard Knocks?

A little bit of both.

405: You came to a lot tastemakers' attention through your work with Calvin Harris. What was your relationship prior to the videos and how does he contribute to the creative process?

We didn't know each other prior to doing videos, but became good friends through the process. We kept it pretty easy: he would make the music, sometimes we would talk about ideas and other times I would just be allowed to do my thing. Either way it was always a very easy and collaborative process.

405: To date, what's been the best experience in the industry?

Doing the video for Paul McCartney 'Early Days'. I was given freedom to recreate the story of Paul McCartney and John Lennon's early relationship, set to a song written by Paul for John. It's a job that no one else can say they've done and a true honor to have been a part of it.

405: At the other end of the spectrum, what's been the worst?

Rihanna without a doubt.

405: Learn anything from either?

I learned the same thing from both experiences. Always trust your instincts.

405: How does each idea take shape for you now - what's the osmosis process / do you have any consistent forms of inspiration?

It happens different every time but I'm always inspired by real life. I listen to people's stories, find things online or in books that I like and keep note of them until the timing is right.

405: The Florence & The Machine collaboration with Tabitha Denholm and cinematographer Steve Annis is shaping up to be something special. Do you encourage other artists to pick a director they like and work with them on bringing to life an albums worth of music videos?

It was fun collaborating with Tabitha, we did the album teaser together, and it was a nice way for us to kick off Florence as a team. She's been with Florence for so many years that it felt right. Steve Annis is a long time collaborator and we have done two other Florence videos together in the past so it only made sense to have Steve shoot this project.

The beauty of working together through the entire album is the freedom we both get. Most artists meet the director a few days before shooting or the day of the shoot and have to figure out their shit on the day. Florence and I can evolve through out the videos; if she hates something we did, she can correct it for the next video because I'm still here. It's not for everyone, but I think it makes a big difference for a musician and director to be emotional invested in the collaboration. It's the first edit I've ever presented and had no feedback on; that says a lot about trust and collaboration.

405: What was the shoot like?

Both hard and amazing. The bad was outweighed by a lot of great moments. I have an amazing team that I'm fortunate enough to work with everyday, so that makes any shoot worth doing.

405: When are we seeing a narrative feature effort?

Very soon I hope, crossing fingers.


Token Quick Questions:

Favourite Music Video of all time:

No idea... but I really love The Knife's 'Pass It On" by Johan Renck.

Why are Music Videos important?

Music is the purest expression of emotion in my opinion, so to make films connected to music is really pleasurable to both watch and create.

If you could make a video for any piece of music through history, who would it have been for and what would it be?:

Percy Sledge's 'Dark End of the Street'.

What are you reading at the moment?

Four Quartets by T.S. Elliot.

Desert Island time - you're traveling on the worlds largest floating library. Every form of modern media in existence is cataloged amd held on the ship. Suddenly, iceberg shimmies in. The onboard lasers can't melt it, mission control confirms you're now in the Bermuda Triangle, and you're going down fast. Which Led Zeppelin song do you have in your head as you grab three films and three books to keep you intellectually stimulated?

I'm much more inclined to have Public Enemy in my head.

And which films/ books would they be?

Books: Catcher in the Rye, Motel Chronicles by Sam Shepard, and maybe the Bible.
Movies: Thin Red Line, Come and See, and Apocalypse Now.


You can explore the work of Vincent Haycock, here.