Creme de la Creme
In the 70s Kevin Godley and Lol Creme enjoyed worldwide success with the pop group 10cc. But it’s since they left the band that their individual talents have really begun to shine —
How are you enjoying the switch from video to movie making?
Godley: It’s the moment we’ve been waiting for since we first started working together 23 years ago. It’s daunting in one respect but incredibly exciting in another.
Creme: I’m afraid we can’t tell you what it’s about. It’s a musical. Trevor Horn’s doing the music and the working title’s Just Like Eddy.
Do you like working with people? In Frankie’s last video you hardly viewed the group at all…
Creme: I think ‘The Power Of Love’ was the only instance when we never used the band at all. Then TOTP insisted they were in it so we had to shoot some more.
Usually what we insist is that we have control of how much of the group goes in. Sometimes we’d rather not have them in every shot.
Godley: It depends what they look like!
Creme: Yeah, it’s very important how they look. We have a team of people who can help them look their best. Sometimes you look your best when you’re seen minimally.
Go West were amazed by the way ‘We Close Our Eyes’ worked out…
Creme: Yeah, we gave them the full treatment! We had rehearsal days with them, with a dance instructor, to get them used to moving. So when they came before the camera they would feel comfortable —
Then Kevin came up with the idea of the ‘grease monkey’ look and it clicked.
Godley: The singer had been quite nervous before but as soon as we gave him this huge wrench and greased him up he got into the part.
Creme: You can see it. He projects. That kid has a presence now. He’s got an image which he can follow through. Which is what people who make videos should be doing for their clients…
Godley: Especially for new bands. If there’s nothing there it’s our job to get something.
You seem to work much more with new bands than established acts like Wham, Spandau and now Duran…
Creme: When bands start out they tend to be more susceptible to new ideas.
If we’ve helped them with an image and they’ve built on that or even veered away that’s fine by us.
Godley: It’s their career.
Working with somebody who is already established is very different. A good case being The Police… When they asked us to do their videos they had been out of the picture for two years and it was touch and go whether they were going to stay together.
Prior to that they’d they’d been jumping about in snow-mobiles (‘De Doo Doo Doo’) but by then it was wrong for them. They’d come through this three-to four-year period and were fairly cynical —
We applied to give them a much more austere look and it worked really well. After that they moved from stars to superstars.
Do you think you’ve changed your approach much in making videos?
Creme: It’s probably exactly the same.
Godley: We know how to manipulate the medium more.
Creme: Our need is just to get something on the screen that goes ‘Bang!’ in whatever way possible. There’s got to be the ‘Yeah!’ factor. If there’s nothing to laugh at forget it.
Was that why you did Duran’s soft-porn video for ‘Girls On Film’?
Did you offer your services or were you approached?
Creme: Their manager approached us. He wanted a video that would make a massive impression in the clubs in New York. He didn’t care whether the band was in it or not just as long as people came out saying, “Have you seen the Duran video?”
Godley: So we both went off on separate holidays and came back brimming with ideas.
Creme: I went to Los Angeles to do ‘research’. Asking girls what they were into, going to a mud wrestling club…
Godley: And I came back from the South of France having seen some fashion shows…
Creme: So we combined the two ideas —
Godley: That was our first two-day shoot- £17,000.
Have the budgets got bigger?
Godley: God, Jesus, you’re kidding! It’s getting well well out of hand now. Suddenly everybody’s clicked that ‘video is the thing’ so they’re ladling thousands and thousands of pounds into it.
Creme: It’s ridiculous. You don’t need that amount of money. What we did two years ago with Toyah for £16,000 now they say it’s gonna cost £85,000!
Me and Kev don’t know where this money is going to. Certainly not to us.
What’s the point of starting your own video label?
Creme: The label is there to take the video business away from being a promotional device for record companies.
It will eventually act like a record label in that it will put together the talent that makes music and the talent that makes pictures.
Godley: You won’t see it on TV, you won’t be able to buy the record. It’ll be a product designed just for the video market.
Creme: We’ll call them videolas or something. You’ll be able to buy a videola with music by Quincy Jones and pictures by David Hockney or whatever.
That’s the future. And it’ll start on April 1!
’Every Breath You Take’, The Police
“That was an interesting coincidence. Before we went to LA to meet the group there was a programme here on jukebox promotional clips for jazz groups in the 40s. When we arrived Sting produced ‘Jammin’ The Blues’ —
’Mind Of A Toy’, Visage
“With Steve (Strange) It seemed that surrealism was the order of the day…”
’Rockit’, Herbie HandcockContinue »
“The brief was: do a fabulous outstanding video which is riveting with, if possible the minimum amount of Herbie in it so we’ll have no problem getting it on MTV.”
’Girls On Film’, Duran Duran
“They told us, ‘We want sex on video’. We thought about it for two seconds and said yes!”
’Synchronicity’, The Police
“We nearly didn’t do the ‘Synchronicity’ concert at all because we thought ‘a live show —
Lol Creme: “Awards mean a lot to me. In the music biz people buy your records; when we get video awards it’s the only way we learn people like our work”
1981 UK Video Award for Visage’s ‘Mind Of A Toy’.
1984 VPA Monitor Award for Best Directors for The Police’s ‘Synchronicity’ concert; MTV Best Cinematography for The Police’s ‘Every Breath You Take’; Midem Best Director Award for Frankie’s ‘Two Tribes’; MTV Video Music Award, Best Concept Video, Best Special Effects On A Video, Best Art Direction, Best Editing and Most Experimental Video —