Here’s how Empire of the Sun made their awesome Way to Go music video

Last month, Australian synth pop group Empire of the Sun blew audiences away with a surreal music video for their single Way to Go.

The brainchild of Japanese director Nobumichi Asais, the footage features powerful and trippy visuals you’d only imagine seeing in a work of art – and not in a music video. The band’s Luke Steele elaborated:

“His work is nothing short of genius! The colours and shapes he creates are mind bending, with a certain digital romance to it all. Our unwavering confidence in his ability had us reaching out to him to marry his imagination with our music.”

Curious, we sought out the team behind the music video to learn more about the process that went into making it.

How would you describe the amazing visuals used in the music video?

“The visuals represent EOTS’s journey diving deep into their mental spirituality and blending with the world beyond the dimension at the end. The journey gets more and more chaotic and abstract as it goes on.

“The vivid visuals is also my interpretation of EOTS’s world. EOTS initially wanted to create something like Nobumichi’s kacho-fugetsu which utilized face tracking and projection, so ‘face’ was the key motif from the beginning to the end.

“For this project, we challenged to go beyond what we had already done and expand the expression with the technology called ‘digital human’ recreating realistic human in 3D CGI and the key motif which has strong visual power and infinite possibilities.”

Empire of the Sun

Take us through your creative process. How did you come up with such trippy visuals? Where or what inspired that vibrant design?

“First, I started to learn their aesthetics, especially from their live performance. That was really inspiring and helped me to come up with the color palette and motifs. Then, I explored a bunch of psychedelic artists such as Keiichi Tanaami, Tadanori Yokoo to enhance the visuals.

“I also had an access to fascinating captured data including 3D models of their faces, facial animations, and textures so I played with them and tried to find a way to mix them with trippy expressions to create interesting and flesh visuals.”

How big is a typical production in terms of your crew?

“For this project, the number of crew was around 35 to 40 and was relatively bigger than our typical production size.”

Empire of the Sun

How much time do you have to shoot a video?

“It was only a day for facial capturing and live action shooting with motion capturing. We had done photo scanning to make their 3D models in advance of the shooting.”

And how long is the post-production stage?

“It was around a month and a half. It was very tight schedule for processing all the data captured during the shooting and make a visual effect with them, but the company that collaborated with us, called ZUKUN LAB, helped us a lot to process all captured data.

“Also, both of us spent a time to build a bulletproof pipeline between WOW inc. and ZUKUN LAB. So our creative team at WOW inc. could focus on the visual effects and animations without any interruption.”

Empire of the Sun

What was the goal for your audience here? What emotions did you want them to feel after seeing and hearing Way to Go?

“I wanted to take the audience on the trippy journey with Luke and Nick. I would like to leave up to the audience how to feel at the end, but I hoped something got stuck in their mind.”

Way to Go is one of two tracks – the other being Two Leaves – that are featured in Empire of the Sun’s third album, Two Vines. Find out more about it here.

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