Behind the Scenes of Stromae’s Music Videos

Linda March 12, 2017 0 598 views
Behind the Scenes of Stromae’s Music Videos

Exclusive photos from the filming of Stromae’s music videos

Here’s a nice Christmas present from Mosaert for this December!

Mosaert remodeled their entire site, giving fans access to some unique shots that came straight out of the archives of Stromae’s music video production!

Formidable :

‘I had the idea for this video once when we were recording and I had an image in my mind of one day when I was walking around Brussels and a homeless man asked me more or less what we hear in the song, ‘Tu te crois beau?’ [‘Do you think you’re good looking?’]. I remembered that moment and I wanted to portray it.’

Stromae’s brilliant idea for the “Formidable” video was to play a drunk, broken man out in the real world, not in a recording studio. One morning Stromae went to Place Louise in Brussels, a hot spot for trouble, to play one of the most difficult roles of his career and one we all know – a drunk man singing of his despair, exposed and miserable before the “real” people of Brussels. It was filmed using hidden cameras placed carefully around Place Louise in order to ensure that the reactions of passers by and the police were genuine.

The clip was unveiled just a few days after filming and it became a media phenomenon. Stromae was unanimously praised for this performance which won the Best Clip award at the 2014 Victoires de la Musique.

‘One scene of note was cut from the montage: the police came to speak to me for a second time before taking me away. I was sat against a lamp post and they wanted to take me home by force, they were telling me that I was being filmed by paparazzi but it was actually my team of hidden cameramen. At one point I had to discreetly stop playing my low-voiced character for a moment so that they didn’t reveal the trick to everybody else, I explained to them that they were hidden cameramen. One of the policemen didn’t believe me but I was insistent and finally they saw that I was behaving too normally for someone who was meant to be drunk.’

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Papaoutai :

The “Papaoutai” clip depicts the pain of not having a father around in a sweet world reminiscent of the “sweet sixties”. The absent father is incarnated by the full-size doll of Stromae which, with its clumsy and inappropriate attitude, represents this shadow of a presence which is not a real presence.

‘The houses in the clip were actually very small – the garages were barely the size of a small car and the doors were only fit for a 7-year-old! For the indoor filming, the decorators played with perspective in order to create an impression of more depth for the viewer.’

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Tous les mêmes :

The 3rd single on the “Racine Carrée” album, “Tous les mêmes” deals with the caricatured representations of men’s and women’s different ideas of relationships with humour and cynicism. The ideas are represented by the color green for the men and pink for the women.

Filmed by Henry Scofield, the clip includes Stromae made up as the masculine/feminine duo that his lyrics embody. The character is placed in a setting which is just as mobile as Marion Motin’s choreography and experiences this confrontation of banal, modern day clichés in everyday settings.

‘All the settings we see were created in an open hangar in Antwerp. It was very cold. The first scene where I’m bare-chested in bed was filmed last. We were freezing and exhausted. The technicians were aiming heat canons directly at us to try to warm us up – the filming was a challenge for all of us!’

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Ta fête :

With a modern peplum style the clip for “Ta Fête”, the 4th single from the “Racine Carrée” album, depicts a character desperately attempting to escape from assassins in a maze-like arena.

In the 3-minute clip, the protagonist is a metaphor of a man trying to escape his responsibilities, but all he achieves is to put it off for a while. Stromae is the master of ceremonies, the machiavellian puppet master who enjoys watching the poor man trying to escape the inevitable.

Filmed in Courtrai and Schaerbeek from 17-19 March 2014, the clip was put online 3 months later.

‘To create the huge retro-futuristic stadium, we simply needed a real building that was under construction as well as a green space in both Brussels and Gand. During the filming for the final scene, the participants of the “games” had to run across the grass and ropes were used to show the ledges the climbers were running on.’

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Carmen :

The clip for “Carmen”, the sixth single on the “Racine Carrée” album, is a cartoon clip which was drawn and animated entirely by Sylvain Chomet, who created the masterpiece “Les triplettes de Belleville”.

The idea behind the clip was to use the blue Twitter bird to personify the cult of self worship which is encouraged by today’s types of communication. In the clip the bird is seen with Stromae’s cartoon alter-ego – the alter-ego is depicted in a crazy competition against others and against himself to have the most followers, influence, recognition, love…

The official Instagram account of Stromae’s unhappy alter-ago was launched at the same time as the video. We weren’t interested in using Instagram in particular, but we saw it as a move towards an alternative stance and that made the subject recursive.

Sylvain Chomet has since done many drawings to make people believe that an animated, narcissistic Stromae really exists behind the Instagram account and at the same time Chomet plays with and exaggerates the codes, clichés and by-products of this well-known social network. His drawings tell the story of the gradual fall of the character into this vicious circle of self worship, right up to a symbolic death.

‘The original idea of the characters riding the blue birds (symbolizing our crazy attempts to get followers) came to Orelsan in the studio. He had thought of this before and it came to his mind when we were finishing the piece off.’

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Ave cesaria :

“Ave Cesaria” is the 5th official single on the “Racine Carrée” album. This song is a musical declaration of love to the “Diva aux pieds nus” (the barefoot girl), Cesaria Evora, a classic figure in Cape Verdean music.

The clip is filmed in one sequence shot using an old VHS camcorder. During the party, it is passed from hand to hand, just like in old home movies.

In this clip, the intergenerational transfer highlights the chaos and the harmony of a family party in honor of a great lady, Cesaria Evora. We decided that it should be like a eulogy-full of joy and music.

The clip was filmed in the Vooruit (Gent, Belgium) on 10 June 2014 and the soundtrack was played and recorded live in order to guarantee authenticity.

‘It was my first time at a clip filmed on a simple family camcorder like we used to have in the 1990s. The camcorder and the whole atmosphere really made me think back to our old family parties.’

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Quand c’est :

Filmed in Seraing in the old Jeusette theatre, “Quand c’est” is the seventh single on the “Racine Carrée” album. Filmed in one sequence shot, we see Stromae, alone, confronting a disease personified by a misshapen monster. This struggle, which ends in death, is represented by a long, almost lustful dance where the two characters threaten and seduce each other.

Choreographed by Marion Motin and produced in collaboration with Benuts, the clip for “Quand c’est” was the last piece of work distributed from the “Racine Carrée” album and it came out almost two years after the album itself. Despite criticism, the clip won the Best Video award at the D6Bels Music Awards (2015), a Redbull Elektropedia Award for Best Video (2015), a Music Industry Award for Best Video (2016) and a Pop Berlin Music Video Awards for Visual Effects (2016).

‘For the moment in the clip when the monster grabs me, we had to find a physical system to pull me and almost suspend me in the air. We eventually used a simple rope and pulley system which was pulled at a set rhythm. Then we removed the rope in post production and replaced it with a spider’s claw.’ ” 

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