When YouTube comments get disabled, you know things are getting heated. Such was the YouTube fate for "Trust," a new music video from nascent U.K. pop-artist Chrstiantoshi. Directed by Mikko Makela, the video finds itself set in infamy: a London Slamming Party (which we first talked about in June 2013). Critics charge that "Trust" glamorizes the intense drug-infused sex events while supporters contend that it's art and the message lies in the eye of the beholder. With debates raging in various corners of the web and an exigent topic at the center of the conversation, we asked Mikko to expand on "Trust."
How'd you guys come up with the idea for the video?
Christianoshi came to me with the idea of setting the video at a "chill-out", a concept I immediately liked because I hadn't seen it done before and thought it would work well as a sort of darker spin on the whole genre of music videos set at house parties. Though it did take some discussion to decide how explicit the video would end up being, we did from early on agree that in it we wanted particularly to document the types of parties written about recently, for example, by VICE magazine, and were both intent on making a video that would elicit a reaction and get people talking whilst still being grounded in reality. Another issue we wanted to address with the video was the severe imbalance in the way the two sexes and their bodies are represented in contemporary music videos, their focus being very much on women's scantily clad and objectified bodies flaunted by many a male artist in their videos. In 'Trust', the camera's view, like the partygoers' voyeuristic gaze, is strictly confined to the male body.
Is there a message about Slamming Parties that the team wanted to convey?
We first and foremost wanted to make a video that documents a phenomenon rather than makes any explicit comment on it. I don't want to tell people what to think; I rather want to get them thinking and let them reach their own conclusions. That said, the song's lyrics about needing to have "trust, for what we're about to do" do become very meaningful when set against the images. Whilst the video isn't a straight-out visualization of the song, what for me from the start connected the two, were the themes of intimacy and trust. I haven't been to these kinds of parties myself, but I could certainly draw upon experiences of going to an afterparty in a group of often complete strangers, feeling worse for wear from the club. Whilst they were non-sexual encounters, opening up to people I didn't know and passing several hours in their company takes trust, and I think the video explores this same idea, though taking it to another level.
What do you say to critics who call the video irresponsible and think that it glamorizes these controversial events?
Some people have said that not showing the consequences of this lifestyle and only including attractive guys in the video amounts to sanitizing the phenomenon, but I think what we have captured here is the immediate appeal. If the parties didn't seem inviting in the first place, be it because of drugs or not, guys wouldn't be attending; and portraying this immediate lure, which often becomes problematic in the long term, is a part of our mission to document the phenomenon. Everything looks different if considered within a bigger picture of consequences and implications, and I think that for a lot people the problem with these parties lies with a failure to recognize the unsustainability of such a lifestyle and its negative long-term implications. The video presents a subjective, first-person view of such a party by someone who is stepping into the scene for the first time and is tempted by what he sees in that moment. To ignore the combination of lyrics and visuals, and simply to say that we're glamorizing, would be quite a reductive interpretation of the audiovisual work as a whole.
Check out the video below (graphic, NSFW) and let us know what's your Insitnct in the comments?!