Listening to Beck speak is exercise in patience. His statements are sometimes confounding, often hilarious and usually fascinating. Yet it’s his delivery that’s almost unbearable: a slow, deliberate spilling of phrases, each word spoken with precise, glacial timing, each syllable bobbing in a sea of “uh”s and “um”s. And when he’s finally finished making his point, there’s often a minute of silence as both the listener and the speaker try to quickly piece the fragments into one cohesive sentence.
Which is why it’s interesting to hear him speak about the video for “Hell Yes,” the blippy third single from his Guero album (see “Beck’s Next Single Features Christina Ricci, A.K.A. ‘Kurisuti-na’ “ ). There are no pauses and very few “um”s, and he rips through the information in a speedy, headlong diatribe, eyes wide, a smile flickering across his mouth. It’s obvious that he’s plenty excited about the video, though exactly what he’s so jazzed about remains a mystery.
“This video is a weird one. I’ve been working on the concept of it for about a year and a half, and I can’t reveal completely what it’s about, but it’s been in negotiations with international committees coming together to make this thing happen,” he joked. “I’ve made some ambitious videos in the past, and this one is up there. Technologically, it’s definitely the most ambitious, because there’s no CGI at all. It’s all going to be real.”
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According to a post on Beck.com, shooting for the “Hell Yes” clip got underway in earnest last week in Los Angeles, as Beck shot part of the video with directors Spike Jonze (who’s graduated to feature films like “Adaptation” and “Being John Malkovich” after directing classic videos for Björk, the Beastie Boys and Weezer) and Garth Jennings (one half of the directorial duo Hammer & Tongs, who lensed clips for R.E.M., Fatboy Slim, Blur and others). Beck added that he hopes to film even more of the video later this year in Japan.
“Everyone’s converging to make it happen,” Beck laughed. “It makes the video better, because to me, I always look at them like a weird obligation. But you might as well make something interesting out of it, or work with your friends, or just use it as an excuse to get a bunch of weird costumes and dress up like a heavy metal band.”
Beck, who kicked off his North American tour earlier this month (see “Beck Finally Announces Fall Tour Dates” ), also said that he’s already begun working on material for a follow-up to the gold-certified Guero, and maybe his talk of heavy metal bands is starting to rub off on him.
“In the past, I’ve purposely put down the loud guitars,” he said, evidently forgetting about the snarling, sampled riff on “Devil’s Haircut.” “I just wanted to see what else we could do, because guitar music is so defined. Once you have that element, it’s a rock album, no matter what you do. I’m interested in what you can do with drums and sounds and vocals. But someday, who knows?”