Here is the new video for our most recent song Find The Words, made by Antonio Gambale. A more abstract video than our other videos but hopefully reflects the mood of the song. Find The Words is a song dedicated to the character JOSH NEWMAN from Michael Scott’s NY Times Best Selling Series, The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel . Josh Newman, along with his twin sister, Sophie Newman, discovers he is not just a boy after all but rather, a boy with special powers and that he and his twin sister are to save the world. In order to utilize his powers he must be “awakened”. Sophie is awakened first and Josh has to watch her do some pretty cool and unimaginable stuff before he gets his chance to practice his crafts. Simplified version, Sophie and Josh’s world is turned upside down in a matter of hours and they travel to Paris. Without giving the story away if you haven’t read it, the twins’ visit to Paris is NON-STOP and they battle metaphysical beast and visit mythical beings. This video is an abstract view of Paris from their perspective and hopefully gives the impression of the surreal world they were thrust into!
In our next installment of the Q&A series, JUMEAUX take on your questions about the song FIND THE WORDS. Like we’ve done in our previous Q&A’s, we’ve drawn up a series of questions based on the most popular things we’ve been asked by fans into an interview-style format, for your reading pleasure. OK let’s have it!
SPOILER ALERT: IN CASE YOU HAVEN’T CAUGHT ON YET, IN OUR Q&A DISCUSSIONS WE INEVITABLY END UP MENTIONING EVENTS FROM THE BOOK SERIES, BE IT FROM THE FIRST INSTALLMENT ALL THE WAY TO THE LATEST RELEASE. SO IF YOU’RE NOT UP TO DATE ON YOUR READING YET, YOU KNOW WHAT YOU GOTTA DO!
Q: On your facebook, you said that FIND THE WORDS is your theme song for JOSH NEWMAN. Can you tell us about the song and why you wrote it about JOSH?
AG: Hey, and thanks for the question. Yes when we got going on this song, we did have JOSH in mind, I think there’s an energy and a pace to it that is a reflection of JOSH’s energy as a character… He can’t sit still for five minutes, he’s a “why walk when you can run” kind of a guy, so we wanted to inject that kind of energy into the song. Also though, for me the song isn’t just about JOSH, especially in the lyrics. As we were writing it, we were talking a lot about the concept of the “awakenings” that JOSH and SOPHIE both go through in the series. It fascinates me to imagine what that must feel like, and I think the way MICHAEL SCOTT describes this process in his books is remarkable. It’s not just some kind of simple transformation where hey presto, you suddenly go from being an ordinary person to being some kind of superhero like in comic books, shows like Heroes or movies like X-Men. In the Flamel books, the description of exactly how this transformation happens is so much richer and so much more tantalising. I love the way he explains to us that the modern world has dulled us, deafened us, blinded us, so that we’re no longer able to see or feel the truth of what’s around us, nor tap in to the true power inside us all. So when he writes about the “awakening” of JOSH and SOPHIE, it’s so compelling to me the way he describes all their senses going into overdrive. It’s like all of a sudden a dam breaks, and all this previously blocked off energy inside you is set free. Michael’s description makes so much sense that you can almost feel it for yourself, like it’s just there but tantalisingly out of reach. Anyway, this concept, this feeling was a big part of the inspiration for this song. The repeated looping lyrics “I can’t stop thinking it, I can’t stop feeling it” – they were really inspired by this sensation, the rush of the awakening.
LL: Awakenings…yeah, I remember those discussions. A lot of the subject matter for this song was inspired by the main lyrics idea “For the first time, he realized….”, which was written by Antonio. I really liked the idea and ran with it, however, for me personally, as a lyricist, I was channeling my only personally experience of being adopted, and finding a whole new family and persona later in my life. In fact, I was close to the age of Sophie and Josh when I discovered the news, and this is a HUGE reason why I feel so connected to the characters. What Josh is going through as he realizes he’s waiting to be made “great” while his sister is being “great”, is something that resonant with me. When I discovered I was adopted, It was about 3 years and change before I discovered the whole truth (or as whole as possible) of my origins. It was a frustrating time and one that couldn’t be helped. My parents were 100% supportive and helpful and still it was fraught with questions, second-guesses and closed doors, and then…lots of really cool open ones too! So, even though this is about Josh, I’m really singing about myself.
AG: Sure thing. As usual I’m sure Libby will have more to say about the lyrics than me because she write lyric proper me just dumb moosician Libby is the real lyrics-meister. I just throw suggestions into the pot and she is the one who weaves it all together into, you know musical rhyming poetry. So, now that’s all cleared up, here’s what I think about the lyrics for FIND THE WORDS.
When writing song lyrics, I’m discovering that it’s not always the case that you start from the beginning and write your way to the end. More often than not, it’s a chorus that comes to you first, or an idea for some lines in a verse. For FIND THE WORDS though, it was literally the first lines of the song that came first for a change. Anyway, the intro lyrics “For the first time he realized, there’s nothing special to his life” were the first lines that got stuck in our minds for ages before writing the rest of the song. I guess for me it describes a pretty general state of mind that could apply to anyone at some time in your life. Kind of like an admission to yourself that maybe this is as good as it gets. Or that maybe those dreams you’ve always had, maybe they’re always going to just be dreams. Depressing stuff. But also not, because I think sometimes admitting honest things like this to yourself is the way you move forward in life. In this day and age where every kid in school gets a medal just for trying, there can be a tendency to just accept that near enough is good enough and I personally think this isn’t always a good thing. Anyway, in relation to the books, I guess this lyric for me really gets inside JOSH’s head when he watches his sister from the sidelines as he sees her awakened. It makes him feel suddenly like the most ordinary person in the world, like nothing about him is special anymore. It provokes a pang of jealousy in him, but also ignites a spark – planting the seed in his mind that he wants more than anything be everything he can be. Well you know, that kind of thing anyway!
So for me, that’s one of the main themes for the lyrics in the song. Another thing we wanted to evoke was the chase, the race against time to, well, “Find the words”. And by that I’m referring to the words of Abraham’s Codex. I remember when we came up with this line (which became the title of the song), Libby and I both liked the different ways you could interpret it. On the one hand it can refer to the race to recover the Codex at the core of book series. Everyone is after these powerful words that hold the key to the destiny of, well, everything. But it’s also a reference to the awakenings as well – trying to “find the words” to describe the indescribable – “it’s not an easy thing to put into words”. That was a quote from the lyrics, see what I did there? 🙂
Um, over to Libby?
LL: Actually, Tone, as I’ve mentioned already, you wrote the initial lyrics for this song “For the first time, etc”. The entire song stemmed from this and again for me it inspired me to channel some very personal things.
AG: Yep it does. Like I mentioned before, a lot of what inspired us for this song was the supercharged teen energy of JOSH. But other key influences were trying to capture the sensation of the unrelenting chase that carries us through the whole book series, and also the uplifting feeling of wonder – the pure rush of the awakening process. These were I guess the feelings we wanted to capture in music, the images in our minds that drove us to give the song its pace and its uplifting feel. In terms of actual songs that were a musical influence on us for FIND THE WORDS, I can only think of one, maybe Libby has some others. For me it was this great track (oldie but a goodie) by UNDERWORLD, called JUMBO from their album BEAUCOUP FISH. I’ve always really loved this song and the way it has this unrelenting drive to it, but also weaves its way through a beautifully constructed wall of sound that’s really uplifting. Libby?
LL: I really love Goldfrapp, and I especially love how they take risks, change it up and go for it. True artistry in my opinion. Their last album was very 4 on the floor (beat talk, I’m sure Tone has specific beat nomenclature for the type of beats they used and they types of beats we used, but me just dumb lyricist) 80s pop driven. Lots of repetitive loops and hooks and almost trance like mantras. So when we were working on this, I had that in mind. I wanted to do an almost dance track with mesmerizing hooks throughout. Also, the other songs that we’d released are more ethereal and moody, I felt like it was time to infuse our music with the more frantic energy of the book series and the anxiety within the story. The whole series takes place over a short period of time, and when you get into the book of the year, you relive this. However, contrastingly there is this year long wait between books…, which is really tough once you finish the current book and it (the series) feels more mellow than it really is. Also, I know what Tone is capable of, in terms of beats and programming, so I wanted him to flex his other muscles in this area.
Q: There are lots of instruments and interesting sounds in this song. Can you tell us about what
instruments you used to make it?
AG: Hmm, yep we pretty much plugged in and mic’d up every instrument we could get our hands on in the studio for this one. We even mic’d up our hands and recorded handclaps! I guess we were really aiming for a rich tapestry in this song, so we recorded a lot of tracks. At the start of the song, we kicked it off with a riff on the electric guitar, which we then twisted and turned with reversing and other effects. Then we recorded a lot of synthesizer tracks using the Oberheim Xpander and Mini Moog (check out the photos here if you haven’t yet). We also used a lot of string section in this song, because we found it gave it a really nice epic, cinematic vibe. Hmm, what else? I think there’s even some kalimba in it, cos there was a kalimba lying around in the studio so were like, kalimba yeah? Why not.
Before handing over to Libby, I just wanted to put in a HUGE plug and thank you to the amazing audio engineer who mixed this song for us. I won’t repeat my rant about what mixing means again, you can read about that in our Q&A on THIS WAY FOREVER if you’re interested. For this song, we were humbled and brought to our knees with delight to have it mixed by MICHAEL PERFITT. Who’s he I hear you ask? Well, let me put it this way. Did you watch the series HEROES? Do you watch NURSE JACKIE? Well Mr Perfitt is the guy who mixed all the music on both of those shows. Dude even got a freakin EMMY for the music on NURSE JACKIE. He’s also recorded and mixed albums by SEAL, SMASHMOUTH and MATCHBOX 20. Oh and he has also recorded this singer called MADONNA and just worked on the music for a GUS VAN SANT film. I’ve said it before and will be saying it again, repeatedly: Nothing but the best for Flamel fans!
LL: While we’re giving our thank yous, I have to thanks Nunzio and Maureen Gambale, and also Patricia Churm, because they gave the miles to get to Paris to record with Antonio. THANK YOU! Yes, at one point I think we were contemplating what fanning the pages of the books against the mic would sound like and I said, “Tone I think it’s time to stop!”. It became an exercise in “taking away” after it was all done. It was a monster! This was our “Guernica” (Picasso), in the sense that we ended up taking a lot of elements out to make it work in the end.
AG: Well spotted! Actually this was an idea of Libby’s, so I’ll hand over to her on this one. What I will say is that the languages are French and Italian.. mainly because they’re the only other languages we speak apart from English.
LL: Yeah…I basically bullied Tone into it, he wasn’t really feeling it, but I insisted. I heard it from the beginning and now that it is there I LOVE it. I think I was feeling this because the series is global, and portal (?) LOL! I think it would be quite easy to get really “on the nose “ with the languages and musical influences, almost like a cirque du soleil treatment, but we would never do that….no, no, no. oh no. So this was a nod to the European aspect, the ancient and romantic aspect and the historical aspects of the series.
Thanks for reading. Later this week, we’ll be releasing a new video to compliment Find The Words. We’ll also blog about it too! Stay tuned!
JUMEAUX Q&A SERIES PART 3 – LIBBY INTERVIEWS ANTONIO on the MAKING OF THE OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO for THIS WAY FOREVER
For this, our 3rd installment in our Q&A series on SONGS FOR FLAMEL, we’re changing things up a little. We thought it might be fun to have LIBBY interview ANTONIO about the making of the music video for THIS WAY FOREVER. Libby missed out on being directly involved in making the video because her schedule had her heading back to LA before it was shot. So here she gets to grill Antonio on how it all went down and what it was like to make JUMEAUX’s first music video. And without further ado, over to Libby!
SPOILER ALERT: WELL, ACTUALLY PROBABLY ONLY YELLOW ALERT IN TERMS OF SPOILERS ON THIS POST BECAUSE WE DON’T REALLY DISCUSS ANY PIVOTAL PLOT POINTS IN THE BOOK SERIES DIRECTLY HERE. THAT SAID, IF YOU’RE HERE LISTENING TO OUR MUSIC AND WATCHING OUR VIDEOS AND YOU HAVEN’T YET READ THE INCREDIBLE BOOKS THAT ARE THE INSPIRATION BEHIND IT ALL, SRSLY, DO YOURSELF A FAVOR!
Q: Tone, it should be noted that the video was pretty much your idea from start to finish. I am truly grateful for all the work you put into it and I think it turned out brilliantly. I have some questions about how it all came to be (some of which I know the simple answer to, but am interested in having a deeper knowledge of the process), so I’ve constructed some questions for me and for the fans of Flamel! Here goes….
AG: No problem Libs! I had a great time making the video and I got to work with an awesome team. It’s a pity you weren’t around to work with us on it, we had a ball. Anyway, hit me with your questions!
Q: Do you remember the discussions surrounding making a video for THIS WAY FOREVER? It seems so long ago, I don’t remember how it all began, but I do remember you suggesting it and thinking it all sounded rather impossible, can you recount the specifics of the idea and its birth?
AG: Well it wasn’t all that long ago that we talked about it, but sure I’ll refresh your memory! So, I think basically it went something along the lines of “hey Libs, wouldn’t it be cool to have a music video for one of our songs?”. And you were like, “yeah totally it would be cool”. Then there was a moment of silence as we both thought about the fact that neither of us knew the slightest thing about how to make a video. But with both of us being in the music and film industry, we know loads of people who do this stuff for a living. So the option was always there to call in a favour and work with a director that we knew. But making a music video is a big ask and we didn’t feel like burdening our talented professional friends with a no-budget freebie. Also, I had been wondering about shooting some video for a while, it’s something I’ve been wanting to experiment with. So I wondered about trying to make something myself.
Q: Well, I know you to be fastidious about aesthetics and especially when it comes to art, and let’s face it, you’ve dabbled in film and music in almost every other area. To know that you wanted to actually get behind the camera yourself is no surprise to me. I remember that conversation when you brought up the idea of making a video, and I remember the silence… To be honest, my silence was not because I didn’t have the slightest idea about how to make a music video, in fact it was because I do. I’ve had the pleasure of being involved in some amazing videos. When I worked for SEAL in fact, he did a duet with MYLENE FARMER and I worked on that music video with them, which was EPIC! Then RICHARD SERENA approached me after a show and offered to a video for my own song I LIVE IN HOPE. So from epic pop star mega video to indie let’s roll up our sleeves and get it done video, I know how much work goes into them and how many people it requires… so yeah, as you say, it seemed like MADNESS! But anyway, you are a bit mad, which is why I adore you and relate to you so well… so getting on with it, what finally compelled and/or inspired you to want to take it on? And what made you choose THIS WAY FOREVER of all of our songs?
AG: Well basically it was a couple of things. Firstly I was really pleased with how the song THIS WAY FOREVER had turned out, and something about that song made me feel that it deserved a video. Also, I had just come off the production of the music for this movie called COLOMBIANA (the one with Zoe Saldana that I’ve mentioned elsewhere on this blog). Working on the score of films is often a huge undertaking, months of work where you literally do nothing else. Weekends off? What is this “weekend” of which you speak? Don’t get me wrong, it’s exciting and passionate work, but the schedules and deadlines are hardcore so I was completely wiped out by the end of it. The last thing I wanted to do was even think about music for a little while. So when we wrapped on that film I took a short break, and I decided to treat myself to a decent DSLR camera. I’d been wanting to get a camera that was a step up from my iPhone for a while. I researched it and found one that also had a good reputation for shooting HD video, and at under 500 bucks on eBay, we’re really talking consumer-level gear here, nothing fancy! Anyway, I went on a bit of a research binge on the internet to learn about how to use it, and just to learn about the basics of shooting in general. I’ve been around directors, editors, color graders and other film creatives a lot when we’ve been in post-production on film projects, so I guess seeing them work and learning a bit about what they do gave me a taste for trying something out for myself. So that was pretty much what propelled me. I suppose a sane person might have actually taken time out to chill at a beach resort after a big project winds up. But in a way, taking time out to work on something creative other than music for a change turned out to be a great vacation for me. After it was all done, I felt re energized just like coming back from a holiday in the sun, bizarre as it may sound.
Q: Like I said…MAD! 😉 I should let readers in on what it means when you say that you did a bit of research. Tone does not rest until he understands the topic inside and out and that topic can be the DSLR camera in question, or the speed a cheetah can run versus a tiger. He’s a walking friggin’ Tonipedia! Anyway, I remember when we first started talking about the video, we talked about story ideas and what kind of video to make. You then went off and developed the storyboards and prepared the shoot. Can you tell us a bit about what the story of the music video is about?
AG: Yep, I remember in our early conversations, we talked a lot about what kind of direction to take the music video. A lot of it was obviously based on what we could realistically achieve with only basic equipment and pretty humble skills. But also, we discussed the idea of how much the story of the video should or could be directly related to the world of Flamel. The last thing I wanted to do was to try to make some kind of attempt at a literal depiction of JOSH and SOPHIE, or to shoot anything that was supposed to represent actual events in the books. I felt that this was not the right way to go. I mean, we all hope that one day (and one day soon!), the Flamel series is going to wind up on the big screen as a blockbuster movie franchise! So it felt like it would be a little presumptuous and inappropriate to try and create an el-cheapo vision of the Flamel world for our music video. Instead, we talked about focusing our ideas more on the meanings in the song itself. I mean, the themes in the song that we drew from the relationship between JOSH and SOPHIE, they are in a way universal themes. The conflicting ideas of change and staying the same forever, changing identities, being lost not knowing who you are, transformation… those kinds of things are what we looked at for inspiration for the video’s story. But we also wanted to include visual ideas that were inspired by the Flamel universe – images inspired by auras, magic and alchemy, so we looked for ways to incorporate these ideas into it too. It also seemed like a cool idea to use a girl and a guy as the characters in the video, to be able to explore the idea of connected twin souls, as a kind of meditation on the characters of JOSH and SOPHIE.
Q: And also, if I might add, because there are male and female voices. So, are the guy and girl in the video supposed to be JOSH and SOPHIE in some way?
AG: No, not really. Not in a literal sense anyway. When we brainstormed ideas and started coming up with the storyboards, we thought it made sense to have a guy and a girl character in the clip to work in parallel with the “guy/girl” voice in the song. It seemed to carry over the same conceptual sense of two twin souls connected to each other that we tried to express in the song. So I guess the guy and the girl are really just symbols – they could be anyone, anywhere. Just two young people, lost in their own world, unsure of who they are and wondering about whether they’re going “stay the same forever”, to quote from the song. In this way, I guess they symbolize some of what the characters of JOSH and SOPHIE are about and what they go through. But no they aren’t supposed to actually be them.
For the girl, we decided to put her in a world where she’s overwhelmed by a huge mess of clothes, trying to sort through it all. I guess her clothes in a way symbolize her identities, all the people she could be, wants to be or maybe the person she wants to escape, and it’s all too much. You could also read it as a girl feeling trapped in a sense of ennui, surrounded by all her “stuff” and wondering is this is all there is? Is she going to “be this way forever”?
With the guy, we created a setting for him with a similar message. He’s in his dressing room in the morning faced with an orderly procession of nearly identical shirts and ties, like he’s preparing to head out into the world. His neatly organised outfits suggest someone sure of himself, someone who knows who he is and has it together. But for some reason it’s like suddenly nothing fits anymore, so again it’s like a visual commentary on the “will I be this way forever” message in the lyrics.
Q: There are so many levels to the Will I Be This Way Forever theme, and now that I think about it there is also the overall Will They Be This Way Forever in the Flamel series as we all wait for the final chapter? Many questions indeed! But, what about what happens next in the video? Like the scenes with the closeups of the faces and the writing on the wall for example?
AG: Well again, I guess it’s all supposed to be allegorical or symbolic. I really liked the idea of seeing close ups of our two actors’ faces, like they’re looking at themselves in a mirror in the dark. As the song progresses, we see their faces changing, different looks, different possibilities of who they could be or what they could become. I like how it plays up against the lyrics in the chorus, where the question “will I be this way forever?” is being asked over and over, meanwhile we see our guy and girl transforming from one look to another, getting more and more radical as the song progresses. I like the symbolism of the two characters constantly changing their look, to me it kind of represents them fighting against the incessant message of being “this way forever” that is sung over and over in the choruses.
Another thing I liked about the faces in the dark sequences was that it gave us a way to play with imagery inspired by auras, alchemy and magic – a fundamental core of the SECRETS OF THE IMMORTAL NICHOLAS FLAMEL series. Lexi did some amazing make-up work, and I especially loved the gold and silver faces that she gave our actors for the last chorus. This was directly inspired by the gold and silver auras of JOSH and SOPHIE, and the other colorful looks are whimsical references to magic, alchemy and auras. It was really satisfying creatively to be able to play with creating these looks.
The girl writing on the wall, well that’s open for interpretation too. When we were storyboarding, we liked the idea of someone taking photos of themselves, measuring themselves, taking fingerprints and noting it all down. It’s like she’s trying to make a time capsule of who she is, right at that moment in time. Same idea with the photos on the wall and the big equation – it’s like a visualization of trying to figure out who you are, an equation we can spend our whole lives trying to solve! But really without being too over-analytical, it was mostly about creating some thought-provoking images to make you think about what the lyrics of the song mean to you. In that same vein, this is also what we were aiming for with our guy when he starts taking off his white t-shirts, only to find another one exactly the same underneath. It’s just a contemplation on trying to peel off our outer layers, and finding that we’re still the same underneath. I like how these visual motifs play out against the music and lyrics. Maybe it’s all a bit obscure and arty, but for me it felt like a poetic way to visualize the messages in the song.
Q: What was it like making a music video for the first time? Would you do it again?
AG: Yeah sure I’d do it again. I had a blast trying out something new, being behind the camera for the first time. I’m not about to quit my day job, but for sure I’d love to make more videos! It was definitely a huge learning process, but as a musician I found it really rewarding too. In working with music for film, I’m so used to watching a scene and creating the right music for that scene. So it was a really enriching experience to turn the tables, take a song that I had made and explore what kind of visuals the music inspired me to make. I still have a lot to learn and I’d do a lot of things differently next time, but I really enjoyed the experience and learned a lot. I like the idea of shooting another video for JUMEAUX somewhere else next time. We’ve talked about doing one in LA, which I think could be great. Or, continuing the theme of following real-world locations from the Flamel books, it might be cool to do some shooting in a place like Ojai, or in London, or even a shadow realm. If you can point me to the nearest leygate and explain how to open it, I’ll just grab my camera…
Q: How did you choose the actors and the crew for the video? Tell me a bit about them, since I didn’t get to meet any of them personally!
AG: Ha, this is an easy one! When you make a zero budget production, your choices are pretty much as follows: work with friends, friends of friends or nobody. Luckily, Paris is a town absolutely busting at the seams with talented people and I had the great fortune of tapping into a fantastic network of keen people, generous with their time and genuinely interested in collaborating together on making something cool. Couldn’t have asked for a better cast and crew!
For the actors, it all started with CASPAR SCHJELBRED. I’ve known him for years, he’s originally from Denmark but has lived in Paris for a while now. I’ve seen him perform in improv theatre (he does a lot of that), but he’s also done a lot of other stuff including acting in a bunch of music videos lately. He starred in a video that was the runner-up in a music video competition by DAVID LYNCH, made by a fantastically talented director in Paris, Jethro Massey. He also acted in this music video for JULIAN PERRETTA, but you’ll have to guess which one he is because he’s one of the guys wearing a mask! He has a great look and is very good at working with minimal direction, which is a good thing because minimal direction was about all he was going to get from me! Anyway, I approached him with the idea that I wanted to try shooting a little something for a song I had co-written. Actually we had a beer in the sun at a bar in Montmartre and I played him the song, if that paints a cooler picture of how it went down. He liked the song and was into being involved, which was cool with me. I asked him if amongst his acting friends, he might know a girl who’d be keen to be involved as well. Without hesitation he suggested LINDA LÄMMLE, a gorgeous (inside and out) Swiss girl who was also living in Paris, but has since moved back to Zürich (booo!). So she came round to my apartment and we listened to the song, talked about the ideas and took some test shots. You can see some of that footage here. Since I was only just learning to use my camera and getting to grips with how to shoot things, I went out one afternoon with Caspar to do the same thing. We took some test shots and also scouted for some locations around Paris. You can see some of that stuff here.
Then as the storyboard developed more, I realized I was going to need a bad ass makeup artist and that’s when Linda hooked me up with LEXI DE ROCK. We met up for beers in the sun (in Montmartre again, oh the artiness of it all) and she was keen to come on board. I’d seen her book and loved the work she had done with making glimmering golden face makeup looks, which was totally the kind of thing I was looking for. So it was fantastic that she wanted to be involved and I love the work she did. Below are a couple of examples of her amazing work, but you can see a whole lot more by watching the music video or checking out our photo page.
I also wanted to work with someone of impeccable taste and style to develop the wardrobe, styling and do the set design and decoration. That’s where FAITH-ANNE GOSSELIN came into the picture. Faith is another young American transplant in Paris who has worked on a bunch of fashion styling gigs as well as music videos. We hooked up and went over the photos and test shots I’d gotten together in my storyboarding, to get her into the vibe. She brought a stack of cool ideas to the table (along with quite literally a stack of cool clothes and miscellaneous items to dress our sets), and did an awesome job creating the visual worlds that the we placed our characters in. Below are a few examples of Faith-Anne’s set design and wardrobe work, but you see it all in the music video and in the out-take and casting videos for CASPAR and LINDA. We also have a huge selection of photos from on-set and on-location, some of which didn’t make the cut in the video, so you can check out more of Faith Anne’s beautiful work here.
Last but not certainly not least, I worked really closely with my production assistant PÉRRINE KREQUEY (yes, there are still some actual french people in Paris). Production assistant doesn’t really do justice to the amount of work and input she put into the project. She was awesome, coming on location scouts with me, gracefully posing for test shots. We also had a great time playing with the pyrotechnics we used for the special effects face close up scenes. It actually took a fair bit of experimentation to get the settings right when shooting the face close ups lit by fireworks, so we burnt through quite a few roman candles. Luckily Pérrine, the star negotiatior, got us an excellent deal with the indian guy at the market where be bought our props and (legal) explosives! Then when it came to our actual two days of shooting, Pérrine stepped up as assistant director, helping frame shots and making sure we got as much coverage as we could. It’s no understatement to say that this video would never have been made without her help.
Q: Why did you choose the outdoor locations you used?
AG: The main thing I had in mind was that I really wanted to avoid shooting in all the usual cliché “Parisian” settings that everyone uses. Paris is such a photogenic city, you can step out of a métro station practically anywhere and your surroundings look like a movie set. So it can be very tempting to just head straight for the most stunning sights and let the city do all the work for you. I suppose I was more interested in finding settings that are less known and less obvious. In the official video, only a handful of the exterior locations we shot with CASPAR made the final cut, because in editing the video they were the exteriors that worked the best to tell the story. Those scenes were shot around the Canal de l’Ourcq in Paris, which is a cool area well-known to locals but maybe a bit off the beaten track for tourists. We shot it around mid-summertime, which is a great time of the year to shoot in Paris because you get this beautiful light with a very long sunset that fades gently from like 9pm until nearly 11pm.
In the out-takes videos you can see a lot more exterior locations. I would have loved to use more of them in the official video but hey the song is only so long and we couldn’t use everything! Maybe we’ll revisit that extra footage (there’s tons of it) to use for another song.
The other main exterior location was with LINDA at a little-known park in the outskirts of Paris called the “Parc de la Butte Rouge”. It’s not so well-known because it’s overshadowed by its much bigger and more famous neighbour, the “Parc des Buttes Chaumont”. I liked this location because again, it’s a place that’s rarely seen on film in Paris. And also, it has all of these interesting late art deco era structures that give it a unique look. We didn’t end up using this stuff in the official video because in the edit, our girl character seemed to carry more impact if she stayed enclosed in her apartment for the whole story. But I really like how that footage looks with the ambient remix version of THIS WAY FOREVER in Linda’s casting/out takes video. So maybe I’ll make a full length video using that footage when I get round to finishing the remix of the song. We’ll see, it could be nice!
Q: What sort of research did you do in preparation for the video (and don’t hold back, I’ve warned our readers on how deep you go when you are in “research mode”? What advice would you give to people interested in trying out making a video for themselves?
AG: Well to be honest, I knew next to nothing about photography or videography before making this video. But these days we’re so spoilt with easy access to information on the internet, not to mention really helpful people on user forums, it was actually an awesome learning experience! And as you’ve pointed out, yes I do have a tendency to go a little overboard when it comes to learning how stuff works… So to answer this question, I think it’s best if I do a separate post giving an in-depth look at the resources I used for learning, the equipment I used, the techniques I learned about etc. That way, anyone who’s interested in making videos themselves and wants to go a bit deeper into the details can do so, and the rest of you can just read on!
Q: OK, so moving on from the technical stuff now. What would you say is your favorite part of the video?
AG: I think my favourite part is the slow-motion montage when our girl is looking at her equation on the wall, and our boy is sitting outside at dusk taking off his white t-shirts only to find another one underneath. I really like how the pace and mood in this sequence really matches the music. If I wanted to get all arty, I think it is a kind of poetic moment around the whole “this way forever” theme. If I wanted to get all arty. Which I often do. I also really like the special effects face close ups with all the colorful makeup design, especially the gold and silver “aura” inspired stuff in the last chorus.
Q: I love that close up scene too, and I really love the T-Shirt scene with Casper. I really loved all the close-up scenes of the faces too, and I wanted to ask you about that. Can you describe what is going on and how you came up with those ideas for the visual effects?
AG: Sure thing. As I said earlier, the idea of the facial close ups came out of us looking for a visual way to play with images inspired by the auras, magic and alchemy from the Flamel books. But I also really liked the idea of setting up a kind of exchange – cutting from boy to girl to boy etc, as a way to visually suggest the idea of twins, or twin souls somehow connected together. If you look at how we lit those shots, the light source is always on one side of the boy’s face, and always on the other side of the girl’s face. We did that intentionally so when we edited it together, it would help to suggest that they were somehow next to one another in the darkness. Actually part of the inspiration for that idea came from the lyrics in the song like “I look right by my side, I find you” and “I’ll always be your shadow”.
When it came to the actual technical side of how we made the visual special fx, it’s kind of embarrassingly simple… but it was really fun to do. We just set it all up in my living room with garbage bags taped to the windows to create complete darkness, and a black sheet stuck to the wall behind the actors. Then we used some roman candles (the kind of fireworks they sell for putting on birthday cakes) for the lighting effects. To create the floating bubbles flying around in shot, we just used a ridiculous bubble blower gun shaped like a dolphin that Linda and I had bought from a guy at a street stall, for like 5 bucks. It all sounds so silly when you say it like that, so when I saw what we were getting through the viewfinder, it was a relief that it actually looked cool! None of it was created in post using fancy digital effects of any kind. It’s all what they call “in-camera” effects, meaning that everything you see is really literally exactly what we put in front of the camera. To make this work, it was crucial to get the lighting just right, to use the right lens for the job, and obviously having excellent make up design (yay Lexi!) was critical. So to prepare for that I did some testing, because I wanted to make sure to get just the right look for the faces, with perfect, inky blackness behind them. Below are some shots from the trial shoot we did, you’ll see that I used a slate card to mark down my settings so that if something looked good, I would know what settings to use to recreate it. This was really helpful, because it took some trial and error until we got something that looked like what I had in mind.
But the thing that impressed me the most was that our actors managed to not burst into fits of laughter given how ridiculous the whole setup was to get those shots. They were real pros, they managed to look beautiful and serene in every single take, despite the fact that there was someone waving fireworks perilously close to their faces and someone else squirting bubbles from a dolphin-shaped bubble toy… but then again it would have been hard to laugh because they could hardly move their faces at all anyway under all that makeup! After every single shot, we had to open the windows and blast the air outside with two fans because those fireworks can sure fill up a room with smoke in no time. All in all, it was a pretty messy affair but we got there!
Q: If there is one thing you could do differently if you could do it again, what would it be?
AG: Hard to say. I think there are parts in the video that work better than others. Maybe I would have gone even further with the colorful visuals because I think that was the stuff that worked the best, especially with the music. I dunno, I think because this was my first go at making a video, I suppose I’ve discovered a bit more about the kinds of things I’m more drawn to visually and the things I’m less good at. I suppose you always can look back on work you’ve done and think about what you could have done differently, but that’s the part of the deal. And it’s one of the best ways to learn too.
Q: Lastly, was that bloody Libby Lavella any help to you at all, or was she the quintessential diva that she usually is? God in heaven how on earth do you bear working with her?
AG: Oh Libs, harsh words! Yes, totally – Libby Lavella is an utter, irredeemable diva who deigned it beneath her to fly back from LA to carry camera equipment around and supervise a music video shoot, and for that she shall never be forgiven. As if! In all seriousness, you were a great help, especially when I sent you test shots and you tactfully told me what was, uh, less cool and what was working better. Of course it would have been great to have you around on set working on it with us. But how about this for a deal? Let’s try to swing it so I come to LA some time and we made a video in your neck of the woods. And how’s this for an idea? Let’s put out a casting call to fans of the Flamel books to see who wants to be in it? That could be great fun. I’m sure Michael Scott would love the idea of his fans participating in a music video for one of the songs. Food for thought anyway!
So there you have it! Hope you’ve enjoyed this very in-depth look into how we made our first music video! Stay tuned for the upcoming addendum in which we go into much deeper detail on the technical side of the production of the music video. If you’re a budding-yet-motivated amateur (like us), it has loads of great info and links to resources to help you learn how to make better videos, so you won’t want to miss it. Also coming soon: a Q&A session on the third JUMEAUX single – FIND THE WORDS.
First of all, a very happy new year 2012 to you all and welcome to part 2 in our Q&A series on SONGS FOR FLAMEL. In this installment, both members of JUMEAUX have come together to answer a wide range of questions we’ve received about this song. Join us in the comments section below if you have more questions you want to throw at us!
SPOILER ALERT: WELL OBVIOUSLY, WE CAN’T TALK ABOUT HOW THE BOOKS INSPIRED THE SONG WITHOUT TALKING ABOUT THE BOOKS… SO IF YOU HAVEN’T DONE YOUR READING YET, YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO!
Q: How did the idea come about to write a song about the twins?
AG: Well, it was actually a little while after writing Perenelle’s theme, CARRY MY VOICE before we started to talk about writing more songs. As Libby talked about in the last Q&A, at first we only set out to write a theme song for MICHAEL SCOTT’s website for the Flamel series. So from there it was a combination of things – the song turned out to be more popular than we expected, and Michael loved it which was a HUGE compliment for us! Also we just really enjoyed the process of writing together. So, we talked about doing some more songs and the first characters that leapt out at us as inspiration for a song were JOSH and SOPHIE.
As characters, they go through such an enormous development throughout the books series. They’re also a vehicle that MICHAEL SCOTT uses to explore many central themes of the books and wider themes in general – the idea of inseperability and destinies being intertwined, things like that. But there are other dimensions to SOPHIE and JOSH too. Like when they discover their auras and begin to have their powers unleashed, a distance starts to creep in between them. It got us thinking. What happens when you separate the inseperable? What does it feel when the person you’ve always depended on as the rock in your life takes a leap into the unknown and becomes capable of things you never dreamed possible? Will it tear you apart forever? Is it a terrifying thing to be transformed into something new with no way back, or is the really frightening thing to never change and stay the way you are forever? These were some of the questions that the characters of JOSH and SOPHIE raised for us when we started thinking about writing a song about them.
LL: Thanks for this question; I had to think long and hard about it. The truth is there isn’t any rhyme or reason (on my end anyway) why there are songs about one character and not another. So many colourful characters live in this series that it would take us forever to write a song for every one of them, so it was obvious to write about the key characters initially. As Tone describes, the feelings Josh has in the book when Sophie is awakened, paralleled with the feelings Sophie is having about being awakened, create a situation that can only occur in a relationship that is very close. As with love, one can also feel hate more easily in that same relationship. The two are completely intertwined. I find this fascinating and I think Michael Scott did an amazing job of creating a complex psychological undertone in the book between the twins without making it too overstated. It’s a very hard thing to experience two emotions at once, although it is understandable and quite common, but I feel that in modern society it is not completely accepted. For example feeling happiness for your friend who is getting married whilst also feeling jealous that you are not, is complicated, but not unusual, yet hard to manage.
Q: Can you tell us about the lyrics of THIS WAY FOREVER? What was the inspiration behind them and in what way do the lyrics relate to JOSH and SOPHIE?
AG: Libby is more of the lyricist of the group so I’m sure she’ll have a lot more to say about this than me. I’m more the music guy, and also in film music we don’t exactly write a whole lot of lyrics so it’s not exactly my forté! That said, yes we did work on the lyrics together and it was a great learning experience for me. I guess the one thing I’d say is that once we’d made the decision to write the song as a duo, in a “he said” “she said” style, it all flowed easily from there. We both really wanted to explore the idea of two people knowing that no matter what they do, no matter what happens, there is always going to be a connection between them. So a lot of the trading lyrics between the boy and the girl are about this comfort, this reassurance that we’ll always be there for each other. We also wanted to explore the feeling from the story where Josh and Sophie start to be pulled apart. Sophie is awakened first, she undergoes a transformation that she can never undo, and that really inspired us for the lyrics “will I be this way forever?” in the chorus. But it also suggested a really interesting paradox. We see JOSH’s jealousy starting to emerge for the first time ever towards his sister. He sees something new in her (which became another line in our lyrics) and so from his side, he’s also wondering if he’s going to be “this way forever”… but from his perspective he’s scared of the prospect of staying the same old ordinary JOSH. Of being left behind by his sister and never realizing his potential. So basically these were the themes we latched onto in writing the lyrics.
I guess the last thing I’d say about the lyrics before handing over to Libby is that we really wanted to avoid being too literal or specific about the characters and references to the book. By that I mean that yes, it’s inspired by aspects of the relationship of JOSH and SOPHIE and their emotional journey. But it also stands on its own as a song that you can interpret in your own way, to reflect on your own life experiences. And on that note.. over to Libby!
LL: The lyrics have very personal meaning for me. I was adopted, and found out in my teen years (which obviously was just recently ;-)). I had this overwhelming feeling of “who am I?” and “will I be this way forever?” and so on and so forth. It wasn’t that I was unhappy in my family, it was just that there were many things about me that I never understood and after the discovery, there was so much to discover without knowing where to start. So when the twins are introduced to this other side of themselves, well, I can totally relate and it is a large reason why I am so fond of the series.
Q: THIS WAY FOREVER is sung as a duet and the song is about twins. Was this an intentional thing or a coincidence?
AG: Interesting question. It was a little of both. LIBBY is really the singer in the family, she’s the one gifted with the stunning voice and
I’m totally jealous I’m not jealous at all. But since the beginning she’s been adamant that she likes the way my voice complements hers and ordered me to get behind the mic gently convinced me to sing at least some of our songs with her. Either as backing vocals or as a duet in some way, I wasn’t going to get out of it! Anyway, then she made the killer argument: it made perfect sense for us to write THIS WAY FOREVER as a kind of duet, trading lines between each other as a kind of allegory for the twins telling their sides of the story. So that eventually melted away my resistance, because she was of course completely right. Once the lyrics started taking shape, it became obvious that splitting the song into “he said” and “she said” roles really gave us an interesting and satisfying way to explore the themes we wanted to explore about these characters. Also just on a musical level, it turned out to be really nice to weave two voices together, to build up lots of harmonies. I’m really pleased with how it turned out, especially the way the harmonies build up.
LL: Tone is right, I had been harping on at him for years, literally years, to sing a duet with me and after the positive reaction to Carry My Voice it seemed obvious to me that we had to make his voice a part of this project officially. That, and I really like his voice (even though he fought me on this tooth and nail, it took some convincing to get him up to the microphone), and I had a feeling our voices together would create something special. The fact that we are related made me even more curious how they would sound together. As a singer I am really interested in the production of tone, harmony and range, and find it amazing that some voices resonate well together and some don’t. Luckily, I was right. So yes, this was very intentional and I’ve had this intention for many years, well before Michael Scott even thought about writing the series. 😉
Q: I saw on your facebook that one of you lives in LA and the other in Paris. How did you actually get together to write and record your songs? Or did you do it over the internet?
AG: Initially we started writing by talking over skype and sharing ideas. I put down some riff ideas and a few different demo ideas of the starting point for a song and sent them to LIBBY. She kindly told me which ones sucked and which ones didn’t. So, we then ran with the ones that didn’t suck. I put down some basic ideas for melodies that I had, with the first embrionic ideas for lyrics, and we played musical tennis across the Atlantic for a while like that. I sent Libs a guide track, she recorded some ideas on it, we skyped and refined the lyrics and the structure of the song. Then eventually we had the basis of it down. But we both decided that to really finish it off and make the song happen, the best plan was to be together in at least the same country, ideally even in the same studio. So Libby came over to Paris to record. Luckily I happen to work often with the magnificent film composer Nathaniel Méchaly here in Paris. We’ve worked together on many a film score over the years. If you saw TAKEN (the one with Liam Neeson showing everybody who their daddy is), then you know his work. Anyway, he’s a freakin’ genius film composer and it’s a pleasure that I get to work with him. As it happens, Nath was really loving how THIS WAY FOREVER was coming together, he was totally into the groove and vibe of the track while I was working on it at my end in his studio. So basically he was all like – you guys should get together and use the studio during the summer break to record your songs. He said it in french obviously, but that right there was a pretty tight translation of the gist of it. Meanwhile, Libs was running low on shoes and Parisian vintage fashion items, so it was not a hard sell to get her on a plane to come play in the studio for a couple of weeks in Paris in the summer. I mean: Paris. Summer. Hang out and record in a cool studio. Got something better to do? So it was cool, we got to hang out, work together, and we visited a bunch of locations in the Flamel series to get into the mood and soak up the vibes. Good times.
Also (if you’re a music nerd, continue reading if not skip ahead!) it was awesome to record songs with such a fantastic array of gear and instruments. It’s the same gear I’ve used to work on the film scores I’ve done with Nathaniel, but using it to make songs for a change was great fun. On this song we recorded vocals with a stunning vintage U47 mic. And I mean literally vintage – its power supply unit has a special cable made for it because power sockets have changed shape since that mic was made! Also, the Oberheim Xpander, Mini Moog and Pro One synths are classics that I used to read about in magazines as a kid, and we used them a lot in this song. They’re temperamental instruments, they go out of tune all the time and sometimes do weird things, but they make great sounds. You can see us messing around in the studio in our photo gallery if you’re curious.
Later on, when we’d finished recording the song, we asked our friend Andy Page over in London to come on board to do our final mix. If you don’t know what a final mix is, to avoid all confusion let me make it clear that it’s definitely NOT what a DJ does. In case that’s what you were thinking. No, a final mix is when an audio engineer sculpts all of the individual tracks of the song together – the vocals, the guitars, the drums, the synths, the mandolins, the flugel horn.. they polish up all the parts that make up the song and transform it from something that sounds like a sloppy demo into a real, proper song. Actually if you watch our recording sessions in Paris video, you can hear the difference between how a song sounds while it’s being recorded and what it sounds like when it’s fully polished up. Go check it out if you haven’t already.
Anyway, my point is that a good mix by a skilled audio engineer is a crucial thing. So, it was fantastic news for us that Andy liked the song and wanted to work his magic on it. If you don’t know who he is that’s OK, we can help you with that. He was the guy who mixed Alanis Morisette’s album FLAVOURS OF ENTANGLEMENT. He’s also recorded Britney Spears and he even once did a remix of this song you may have heard called “Ray of Light” by this singer you may have heard of called “Madonna”. So it was like, HELLS yeah when he agreed to take on THIS WAY FOREVER! Only the best for fans of Flamel!
LL: Tone has covered this question quite thoroughly, so I’ll just add that none of this would have happened without the following people; Nunzio and Maureen Gambale and Patricia and Cec Churm, who donated mileage points to get me to Paris. Emanuel Georges Pierre who allowed me to stay in his amazing apartment in Montmartre, and to that end, Alex Nahlous who introduced me to Emanuel in the first place. Thank you everybody! It was a dream come true and without your help we couldn’t have accomplished what we did.
Q: What are the lyrics to THIS WAY FOREVER? I plan to sing this at my local singing competition but I fail to find any lyrics online.
AG: This was a question sent in by a fan to LIBBY LAVELLA’s site, she was chuffed to receive it so I’m sure she’ll want to say a big thank you. I know she already sent you a lyric sheet for the song, but I’d really love to know more about you. Where is your song competition being held? We’d love to hear you sing our song, so if it’s recorded or filmed, send it to us and we’ll post it on our blog and share it with everyone, with your permission of course!
I’ll include the lyrics for THIS WAY FOREVER below, but just a word on our lyrics in general: We’re preparing a set of nicely formatted lyric sheets for all of our songs, all in A4 size that will be downloadable and printout-able.
We’ll make them all available on this blog soon They’re available now, included in another post on our blog, so if you’re into lyrics and want to be able to sing along, fire up your printer and go here! We’re also considering the idea of making instrumental versions (aka karaoke versions) of some of our songs available over at our bandcamp and itunes. That way you’ll totally be able to use them as backing tracks for glee club or even to record yourself singing your own version of the song of your choice. Fun times!
Here are the lyrics for THIS WAY FOREVER, and then I’ll hand you over to Libby.
THIS WAY FOREVER
I’m not alone, I look right by my side I find you
You’re not alone, you close your eyes and I’m beside you
And I know, there’s so much light behind the shadows
Will I be this way forever?
This way forever, will I be?
This way forever, will I stay?
This way forever.
You’ve changed, I see something new inside you
It’s so strange, I no longer hear your echo
You leave me here, to watch you rise above the day and night and sun and sky
Will I be this way forever?
This way forever, will we be?
Safe here together, will we stay?
This way forever.
Take me home, I want things back to where they started
Cause I know, you can’t slip away, I’ll always be your shadow.
Will I be this way forever?
Will I be this way forever?
Will I stay this way forever?
This way forever, will we be?
Safe here together, will we stay?
This way forever.
LL: It is quite possibly the highest compliment as a both a singer and a songwriter to receive this kind of request. We’ve had a few of them now and it still makes me infinitely happy. As Tone explained, we’re working on backing tracks for all the songs so everyone can have a go! And yes, yes, yes, please upload all your efforts for us to see and hear.
Q: What were your musical influences for this song?
AG: I think figuring out your musical influences behind one song in particular is a hard thing to pin down. Libby and I both have a list as long as your arm of artists and songs that have influenced us in general. But I think for THIS WAY FOREVER we had some pretty specific ideas. With Perenelle’s theme, CARRY MY VOICE, we wanted to write something in much more of an ambient/cinematic register because we felt that it suited her character. But when we started talking about writing more songs, especially ones about the present-day characters in the books like JOSH and SOPHIE, we felt much more inclined to write in a present-day style for them. I guess you could say that for the historical/mythological characters in the books, we gravitate more towards a dark, moody cinematic sound. Our upcoming song for the MARS ULTOR character, BURY ME DEEP, is an example of this. But for the more contemporary, modern-day characters, we tend to write in a more contemporary, modern-day sound. For me, THIS WAY FOREVER is the kind of song that I imagine JOSH and SOPHIE might have in a playlist on their iPods.
I suppose in a way it’s like a parallel to what Michael Scott does in the Flamel series. In the books, he brilliantly combines the historical/mythological and brings it all together in a completely modern, present-day setting. So, some of our songs are more of a reflection on the ancient mythological world he paints for us, and others are more about the modern world that the story actually takes place in. Hmm. I think I have a tendency to over-intellectualize things. So I’ll hand you over to Libby who I’m sure will be able to give an answer that actually makes sense!
LL: We listened to a lot of Mates Of State and Everything But The Girl and various other duos. That said, I don’t think this songs sounds completely like any of the duos we drew from, I do believe this songs created a new sound and brought about a whole new dimension for Jumeaux. I really love it.
Q: In the casting and out takes video on your vimeo channel with the girl from the THIS WAY FOREVER music video, there is a different version of the song in the background. Where can I get the full length version of this song?
AG: This was a question we got asked in a PM on our facebook, and firstly, thanks for the compliments about that version! I’m really into it too. To tell you the truth, when I was cutting together Linda’s casting/out takes video, I wanted to put some music to it and it was a spur of the moment thing to take the vocals from THIS WAY FOREVER and quickly put together an ambient/orchestral version of the song just as a soundtrack for that video. I’m a huge fan of Imogen Heap (and so is Libby and so should you be too), so I thought it would be nice to try making a version of the song that really featured the vocals up front. I guess I was inspired a little by her amazing track which is in my opinion an all-time classic, HIDE AND SEEK. Anyway, I started out just using the vocals, and then I started playing with some string section and it turned out to work really nicely. I think it will make a great remix of the song. When I get the time I might go back and do a complete version of the song from start to finish in this style. I dunno, what do you think, Libby?
LL: I think it’s a great idea and am all for it. However, I’m more motivated to do new songs, but that is mostly because I don’t really have to do anything for these brilliant remixes, I just sit back and wave my magic wand and wait until Antonio delivers a shiny new version of our work and I smile and feel infinitely proud. I’m really quite a useless diva when you get right down to it.
Q: What are your thoughts on the characters of JOSH and SOPHIE?
AG: I think they’re great characters. I’m no literary expert, but I think I read somewhere once that one of the main roles of the protagonist in a story is to give readers someone to latch on to and identify with. As soon as you start to “feel” who these people are, and get a sense for what they’re up against in the story, well that’s when you become invested in what happens to them. You start to care about them, worry about them, root for them or even sometimes turn against them if they go astray. In the Flamel series as far as I can tell (remember: not a literary expert) there are quite a few characters that you’d put in the category of protagonist. Nicholas and Perenelle Flamel would be protagonists as well, for example. But the brilliant thing about JOSH and SOPHIE is that they’re completely contemporary characters who live in the same real world as we the readers do. Nicholas Flamel is an extraordinary, intriguing lead character. But it’s harder to personally identify with someone who has been immortal since the 13th century because, dunno about you, but I’m pretty sure I’m not immortal. So for me, having JOSH to identify with, seeing him suddenly drawn out of the world we all know into a world where magic really does exist and all of these mythological figures are real, well it totally appealed to my inner-teen. I didn’t grow up in California nor did I have a part-time job in a bookshop, but as a teenager it would have been a dream come true to discover that not only magic was real but that I had kick ass powers waiting to be unleashed. I should probably also own up to the fact that also announce with pride that as a teenager I was a big fantasy and sci-fi nerd, totally into RPGs, D&D included. I even collected D&D figures, had my own set of lucky die and would have gone to gaming conventions if there had been any near where I lived. There, I’ve said it. It feels good to come out. So anyway, somewhere in all of that lies the appeal for me of JOSH. His character is the perfect bridge drawing my inner teen-geek (of whom I am proud) into a world that I always secretly dreamed really was out there. GEEK PRIDE!
LL: OMG! Tone…I had no idea you played D&D….so did I!!!!! But then again, that isn’t very surprising…”the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree mate!”. I have always had a deep (and also sometimes secret) love affair with fantasy and science fiction. Legend is one of my favourite movies to this day, along with Labrinyth and The Dark Crystal. I was obsessed with Piers Anthony and Ann McCaffrey books. When other girls my age were nose down in Judy Blume books, I was obsessed with The Earthsea Trilogy. Thank you for encouraging me to come out too Tone. It does feel really good. Now, what was the question? Oh…Josh and Sophie, right. Well, obvious…Antonio and I are Josh and Sophie….I mean, as if that isn’t obvious. 😉 Seriously, I am amazed at the depth of characters in the series and the brilliant characterization. It really is was my dream as a teenager, to now one day discover I am was magical, having hidden powers and access to warlocks and great sorceresses. It’s no coincidence that Tone and I didn’t feel completely comfortable in our skins as teenagers and at times felt we had to disguise our passions, whereas now we can talk about our interests and hobbies naturally. The teenage years are so unkind, awkward and challenging, figuring out who you are and where you fit in. I think the world that Sophie and Josh are thrown into is appealing on many levels to people of all ages but especially teenagers because often all you want to do is escape, or be someone else.
Hey everyone! Just a quick post to let you know we’ve added some new (and excellent) selections over on our JUMEAUX YouTube Channel that fans of Flamel may want to check out.
When we started our video channels, we had two goals in mind. Our VIMEO channel is our home for all of our original work – music videos, video art, making-ofs and other high quality HD videos that we’ve created (and are creating) as part of our project of works inspired by THE SECRETS OF THE IMMORTAL NICHOLAS FLAMEL.
Our YouTube channel has a slightly different goal. We’re uploading our own creations there as well of course, but we’re also curating the very best quality stuff we can find that relates to the Flamel universe. As we all know, there’s no shortage of content on YouTube, but the truly great stuff is sometimes hard to come by. So we’ve been setting out to gradually make our channel one of the go-to places on YouTube for anyone who wants to learn more about the historical figures and real-world settings in the books, along with any other cool material we can find.
To kick the series off, we found a rare video of a visit to Nicholas and Perenelle’s actual, bona-fide house in Paris where an expert historian was interviewed about the history of the building. Unfortunately for many people (by many people, we mean english-speakers), it was in french. So, we subtitled it into english for y’all (aw shucks, no need to thank us!), to make that information accessible to more people. If you haven’t checked it out already, go take a look.
So today we’ve “favorited” a few more excellent selections and you can see them on our channel. We’ll let you go check them out for yourselves, but in short – if you’re curious to learn more about JOHN DEE and NICCOLÒ MACHIAVELLI, two of the most intriguing historical figures (and main characters!) from THE SECRETS OF THE IMMORTAL NICHOLAS FLAMEL, then look no further! The documentary in five parts on Machiavelli is particularly interesting. It explores his philosophies on politics and statesmanship by cleverly putting it in the context of modern American politics, so it really helps you to understand what he was about and the impact he’s had on our lives today.
Part of what’s so great about the Flamel series (apart from the fact that they’re just such a darn good read), is that the more you know about the mythology and historical figures MICHAEL SCOTT weaves into his stories, the richer your reading experience is and the more you get out of it. So we encourage you to go check these videos out!
We’d love to include your suggestions too, so be sure and let us know about the gems you’ve found during your own YouTube binges and we’ll add them to our channel. Also if you have created your own fan videos that you want to share, bring it on!
Stay tuned for more updates soon, and don’t miss our upcoming exclusive Q&A with the man himself, Michael Scott!
Hey there everyone! We’ve got some great new posts in our Q&A series coming up soon, including [insert trumpet fanfare and choirs of angels], a Q&A with the illustrious author Michael Scott himself!
In the meantime, here are the lyric sheets that we promised you for all the songs released so far on the SONGS FOR FLAMEL collection. We’ve formatted them so they print out beautifully in A4 format. All you have to do is right-click to download the image files below and you’re good to go. Later on we’re planning to make instrumental (aka karaoke) versions of our songs available over on our Bandcamp and iTunes, so you’ll be able to sing or perform the songs yourselves. Or hey, even record yourselves singing your own version. That would be cool, we’d love to hear it and we’re pretty sure Michael Scott would dig it too!
Stay tuned for our next updates and the continuing Q&A series, but in the meantime, behold, lyrics!
First of all, big big thanks and big love for all the positive feedback we’ve gotten so far about THIS WAY FOREVER, our theme song for the twins JOSH and SOPHIE NEWMAN! So far we’ve heard from a whole bunch of Flamel fans who’ve contacted LIBBY LAVELLA directly on her site, and also some lovely PM’s we’ve received on our JUMEAUX facebook. Thanks everyone, it has been great to hear from you all and if you haven’t chimed in yet, we’d love to know what you think.
We know many of you have a lot of questions about the song, and also the video. Some people have asked us what on earth the video has to do with the Flamel universe, and well… it’s a fair question! We’ve got upcoming posts in our Q&A series where we discuss in detail how the song came together, the meanings and references behind the lyrics, and then another Q&A about the music video as well. So stay tuned for those updates!
In the meantime, if you haven’t heard the song yet, visit us on bandcamp and itunes to check it out. And while you’re at it, take a look at the official video and our bonus videos of out-takes and casting scenes over on our vimeo channel!
We’ll be back soon with an in-depth look at this song, so if you have questions you want to throw into the pot, let us know!