Encountering something to fear within and without, Alex Cook’s unsettling music video for Son Lux track Dangerous, sees a couple make a desperate bid to escape from the ominous glare of a pervasive light which hunts them relentlessly. DN asked Alex to share how he and his crew faced down a mountain rattlesnake in order to complete this dark allegorical story of fear of a threatening, unknown enemy.
The idea for this video was born from the track’s chaotic and haunting questioning. I’ve been a fan of Son Lux since I was introduced to their music by a friend. I reached out to them about collaborating on a music video and was excited when they gave the go-ahead on the treatment I sent them.
I remember reading about the band writing the music around the US election season and their inspiration coming from all of the tension, conflict, and unknown that was coming out of that environment. I wanted to capture that tension and try to direct it inward as well, so the enemy is at the same time both outside coming in and inside coming out. Obviously, the unseen sweeping lights just outside the house give the impression of some external enemy, but at the end we have the characters escape only to find that the light is still following them as if it’s naturally drawn to something inside them.
The enemy is at the same time both outside coming in and inside coming out.
When the band gave the approval on the treatment, we had a short window of time in which we could actually make it happen due to other production schedules already in place and their needed turn around time for the video, so I brought on Producer Tim Kerigan and met with DP Sam Davis to figure out what we could do.
The video opens with a number of different people hiding out in this house bunker, trapped in a mixture of fear, boredom, and anger. The film was originally going to take place in a huge, epic abandoned warehouse, but unfortunately, that location fell through. We looked at a smaller warehouse, but after some consideration we scaled down to a more intimate abandoned house setting which I think worked better in the end.
As for the production schedule, we were able to shoot one full day inside the house location and another day at sunset for the exterior scenes. We had a pretty small crew for what we were trying to accomplish, but I’m grateful that everyone came with a lot of energy to make it happen.
I wanted to avoid any futuristic or sci-fi feeling, so we chose to shoot on old anamorphic lenses to give the video a more analog texture. We shot on an Alexa Mini that we were able to use through a connection and rented an obscure Lomo Anamorphic Zoom that weighed something like 20 pounds. We also rented a couple smaller, lighter Lomo primes as well, but we stayed on the zoom for the most part.
The exterior segment we shot in a park outside the Los Angeles area. The cast and crew’s energy was amazing as we were literally running through the park (more like mountains) chasing the sun and planning our shots minute by minute for the best light.
The sun was setting as the whole production hinged on this snake’s mood.
A moment came when a rattlesnake blocked our path as we were approaching the peak with minutes to spare for our final and most important setup where the lights come down over the couple. We had just climbed an exhausting hike, and the sun was setting as the whole production hinged on this snake’s mood. Luckily it slithered away and we waited a couple minutes to be sure before continuing up and quickly getting our shots.
We had a few VFX shots that we planned and shot of one of the characters levitating in a state of limbo as the light shines over them at the end of the video, but in the edit I felt that ultimately the piece was stronger ending on the more intimate and vulnerable moment that you see. That was something the actors brought to the piece. There are always moments that you plan for, but filmmaking is such a collaborative process that each person will feed the project in a way you can’t anticipate. That’s an exciting thing when you get to see your original idea in a different way and it changes the video for the better.