An Interview with Producer and Director Sasha Denny
Last night, Deep Routed released the music video to his track ‘Solace’. We caught up with director and producer, Sasha Denny and others to find out more about it.
Check out Deep Routed’s ‘Solace’ video below.
The video explores the themes of depression and loneliness, along with the lighter moments of peace and clarity, through its main character, ‘Daisy’. Talking about the track, Deep Routed said:
“My relationship with this project and this track is more emotionally invested than some of the other projects. I’m trying to make music which reflects my inner self…I guess it’s an outlet of a sadness/struggle. I want it to be music to dwell [on], to provoke some thought in the listener, kind of like a moment’s thought through the seemingly relentless pace of this city”
Sasha Denny explained that although she feels mental illness is more accepted now, it still carries a stigma. After seeing close family and friends battle depression, she wanted to further explore this subject. Denny went on to take inspiration from an animation called ‘Me and the Black Dog’ by Kate Owens and Neeta Madahar, which she viewed at the exhibition ‘Group Therapy: Mental Distress in a Digital Age’ at ‘FACT’ in Liverpool. The animation compared depression to being at the bottom of the ocean,
“It reminded me of a time when I was scuba diving and I got separated from the group, just for a few moments; the fear of the unknown just sort of took over and I just felt so alone.”
We asked Denny to explain her concept further:
“I created the main character ‘Daisy’ who [is] struggling to make sense of and deal with her depression. She …isolates herself from the outside world; friends and family are unaware of her current life struggles, she feels deeply alone…The room [becomes] a metaphor for her mind and the dance represents her emotions.”
The character, ‘Daisy’, created by Denny, is brought to life by dancer and choreographer Magdalena Malone. Malone based her choreography on the ‘5Rhythms’ meditation practice. She explained that each rhythm represents a different emotion within Daisy, whether it’s a feeling of being lost, alone, helpless, frustrated or even spiritual.
“In life, unlike in ‘5Rhythms’, all emotions and rhythms get mixed up, especially when [you’re] depressed… We experience her struggle as she recklessly dances through her painful but also cathartic meditation practice. Depression isn’t pretty, controlled or technical and neither is this choreography. It is random, uncomfortable, led by emotions and totally true to how I felt when depressed.”
Denny met Malone after posting in a talent directory. Denny has done a lot of work with dancers in the past, so we asked her what it was like to work with Malone:
“She was so easy going; take after take she never complained, and was a pleasure to work with. She was a perfectionist and wanted the best from herself and the project, which was [a] dream.”
Sasha Denny grew up in South London and said that her passion for music videos came from a placement she did with an independent female writer/director.
“I worked for her on a music video as a runner which was a defining moment for me, as I really enjoyed the artistic process of visually interpreting the track.”
When we asked how she became involved with Deep Routed’s video, Denny explained that they had known each other previously.
“I’ve been friends with the artist Deep Routed for a few years now, and I think we were at a party or something and we were talking about his music and I just told him I would really love to shoot a video for one of his tracks. He was really up for it and that was it.”
Working alongside Denny was Manchester based artist, Jessica Loveday, who acted as production designer and also assisted Denny in pre-production. Theodore Puj did the first draft edit and James Stevens acted as an editor on the video and also created all of the image projections. Finally, Sean Lomax was enlisted as the cinematographer, with a portfolio of commercials and skateboarding videos. We asked Denny whether she had worked with the team before and how it went:
“I’ve never worked with this team before. I have a small group of people I tend to work with in London, so it was really exciting yet terrifying at the same time. It’s hard to know whether you will gel creatively with everyone and luckily we all did, they were amazing.”
With little to no budget to work with, the video was filmed at ‘The Wonder Inn’ in Manchester. The whole location looks fantastic and it’s clear why Denny chose it, but we just wanted to make sure,
“We wanted to shoot in a location that looked raw and stripped back. I had been to an event in ‘The Wonder Inn’ [before]…it was exactly the kind of space we were looking for. Kirsty who runs the space is amazing: she is so encouraging of the arts and really supported our project.”
It’s encouraging to see people such as Sasha Denny and Deep Routed talking about mental illness through their art, slowly ebbing away at the stigma against it.
Finally, we asked Denny whether she had any plans for the future and what we should expect to see next from her,
“I have a short film in development, so the plan for next year will be to secure funding for that and get that finished. It’s been a long time coming so [I’m] really looking forward to that. [As well as being able] to work with more musicians and really develop as a director.”
What do you think about the video and the topics it covers? Leave a comment at the bottom or head to our Facebook page to have your say. You can also tweet us at @SANTmagazine #DeepRoutedSolace
Words: Sarah Mita
Image 1: Photograph by James Stevens
Image 2, 3 & 4: Screenshots from the video