A Conversation With FKA twigs About Directing Herself In An Ad For Calvin Klein

“Good To Love” was given two clips, one with Calvin Klein and one with an iPhone.

Calvin Klein’s newest campaign features a grand army of celebs like Justin Bieber, Fetty Wap, and Joey Bada$$, but this week the campaign took an artistic leap forward with assistance from FKA twigs. The artist shot a cheeky video clip for her tender ballad "Good to Love” that shows the singer in an impressive pas de deux with U.K. dancer Kaner Flex.

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The black, white, and denim video follows the release of a first clip for the song, which showed her rolling around in her comforter. As she revealed to The FADER in a phone call on Thursday night, the bed video was actually shot using an iPhone.

FKA twigs explained the song’s origins, the process behind making the two clips, and how she feels about working with CK. Lots of exclusive behind the scenes photo from the shoot, below.

What is the experience like directing yourself?

FKA twigs: You've just got to be really organized. For me a lot of work is the pre-production so on the day you can go and do your shots really well. Then all I have to worry about is my performance so I can watch that on the monitor. When I did other shoots when I first started, I was less organized. It really made it a tough day actually; I learned from that experience and it helped me grow. Now I organize all of my shots. I know every single frame rate that I need, every single shot in each scene, what everyone's doing. I'm on top of it, so I can be like, "What's next? Brilliant, I need to go get ready, I'll be back in 10 minutes."

Both of the videos were shot in black and white but are very different. Do you view them as companion pieces at all?

The first video is just shot on an iPhone. I did the other one for Calvin Klein and that was a big budget, with amazing cameras, and incredible work. I just wanted to do something completely contra [with the first video]. Basically me and my friend who's also in the Calvin Klein video, we went to South Africa together to do some choreography. We were just messing around: we were outside and he shot something really well and I was like we should just do [a] video when I get back to London. So we shot the first one together on an iPhone in my bed in my room. I got two lights that were like £45 for both, and got my friend to do my makeup. We had the iPhone and we were just like rolling around. It was a fun relaxed day. It was low spec—you know like, where I came from. That was me and my friends with nothing around. It's amazing working with a bigger budget and amazing cameras or having a decent producer there to organize your day for you. [But] I think it's good to show yourself that you can go and do something low-key and punk. It's weird because not that many people clocked that it's an iPhone. If you watch it again, there's a shadow with hands of an iPhone in there.

The song is mainly just your vocal track up front with lots of piano behind you—without a lot of electronic sounds at all. Does this signal a new sound for you at all?

I think it's important to do different things. I can make drum songs until I'm blue in the face. I can sit on the keyboard and mess around with different things all night. Sometimes the most difficult thing is to strip everything back. For a year, we worked on the production and it went through so many stages: we had an Arabic version of the song; a really heavy psychedelic synth version of the song; we had an out of key alien. It's gone through so many things but ultimately the thing with this song is the lyrics and the melody. When Rick and I wrote it, it was apparent that it didn't leave anything out. In the end we wound up going back to the beginning version and just taking tiny sounds of each version and that became the finished article. I think for me, it's about trying new things. If anything it's part of Soundtrack 7; I danced to it first before we finished it. But it's not hints to a new album sound or anything, it's me wanting to share where I'm at with people and continue making music.

You've worked with major brands on a bunch of your projects. Would you say it's a new path for creatives?

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I guess so. You can do whatever you want now really if you put your mind to it. I also take my direction really seriously—I work with Academy in London, which is Jonathan Glazer's production company. I never really am interested in being a muse, [but] I don't mind putting myself as my own muse. I've always felt uncomfortable with someone telling me how I should look or what feel I should do. It's just an honor and amazing that a company would allow me to create a piece that's my own vision that I'm in—that's like the pinnacle. I love getting involved in anything creative, but I don't like being a bystander. It makes me feel uncomfortable. I feel like I've got a lot to produce and I want to be able to show that. I feel grateful that companies will let me direct things for them and hopefully I'll keep getting to direct and, in the future, improve.

Read our 2014 cover story on FKA twigs.
March 04, 2016
A Conversation With FKA twigs About Directing Herself In An Ad For Calvin Klein