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Creme de la Creme

In the 70s Kevin Godley and Lol Creme enjoyed worldwide success with the pop group 10cc. But its since they left the band that their individual talents have really begun to shine—as video directors. Over the past four years theyve won awards for their work with Duran, Frankie, Herbie Hancock, The Police and Visage. Now theyre about to start work on their first feature film and setting up their own video label. Paul Simper talked to the pair during a spare two minutes in their hectic schedule…

How are you enjoying the switch from video to movie making?

Godley: Its the moment weve been waiting for since we first started working together 23 years ago. Its daunting in one respect but incredibly exciting in another.

Creme: Im afraid we cant tell you what its about. Its a musical. Trevor Horns doing the music and the working titles Just Like Eddy.

Do you like working with people? In Frankies last video you hardly viewed the group at all…

Creme: I think ‘The Power Of Love was the only instance when we never used the band at all. Then TOTP insisted they were in it so we had to shoot some more.

Usually what we insist is that we have control of how much of the group goes in. Sometimes wed rather not have them in every shot.

Godley: It depends what they look like!

Creme: Yeah, its very important how they look. We have a team of people who can help them look their best. Sometimes you look your best when youre seen minimally.

Go West were amazed by the way ‘We Close Our Eyes worked out…

Creme: Yeah, we gave them the full treatment! We had rehearsal days with them, with a dance instructor, to get them used to moving. So when they came before the camera they would feel comfortable—we like everyone to feel comfortable.

Then Kevin came up with the idea of the ‘grease monkey look and it clicked.

Godley: The singer had been quite nervous before but as soon as we gave him this huge wrench and greased him up he got into the part.

Creme: You can see it. He projects. That kid has a presence now. Hes got an image which he can follow through. Which is what people who make videos should be doing for their clients…

Godley: Especially for new bands. If theres nothing there its our job to get something.

You seem to work much more with new bands than established acts like Wham, Spandau and now Duran…

Creme: When bands start out they tend to be more susceptible to new ideas.

(cont.)
Its much easier because they dont know about it and they need help.

If weve helped them with an image and theyve built on that or even veered away thats fine by us.

Godley: Its their career.

Working with somebody who is already established is very different. A good case being The Police… When they asked us to do their videos they had been out of the picture for two years and it was touch and go whether they were going to stay together.

Prior to that theyd theyd been jumping about in snow-mobiles (‘De Doo Doo Doo) but by then it was wrong for them. Theyd come through this three-to four-year period and were fairly cynical—especially Sting. Theyd matured a great deal.

We applied to give them a much more austere look and it worked really well. After that they moved from stars to superstars.

Do you think youve changed your approach much in making videos?

Creme: Its probably exactly the same.

Godley: We know how to manipulate the medium more.

Creme: Our need is just to get something on the screen that goes ‘Bang! in whatever way possible. Theres got to be the ‘Yeah! factor. If theres nothing to laugh at forget it.

Was that why you did Durans soft-porn video for ‘Girls On Film?

Creme: Totally!

Did you offer your services or were you approached?

Creme: Their manager approached us. He wanted a video that would make a massive impression in the clubs in New York. He didnt care whether the band was in it or not just as long as people came out saying, “Have you seen the Duran video?”

Godley: So we both went off on separate holidays and came back brimming with ideas.

Creme: I went to Los Angeles to do ‘research. Asking girls what they were into, going to a mud wrestling club…

Godley: And I came back from the South of France having seen some fashion shows…

Creme: So we combined the two ideas—a fashion catwalk leading to a mudwrestling ring. A perfect marriage of stupidity!

Godley: That was our first two-day shoot- £17,000.

Have the budgets got bigger?

Godley: God, Jesus, youre kidding! Its getting well well out of hand now. Suddenly everybodys clicked that ‘video is the thing so theyre ladling thousands and thousands of pounds into it.

Creme: Its ridiculous. You dont need that amount of money. What we did two years ago with Toyah for £16,000 now they say its gonna cost £85,000!

Me and Kev dont know where this money is going to. Certainly not to us.

Whats the point of starting your own video label?

Creme: The label is there to take the video business away from being a promotional device for record companies.

It will eventually act like a record label in that it will put together the talent that makes music and the talent that makes pictures.

Godley: You wont see it on TV, you wont be able to buy the record. Itll be a product designed just for the video market.

Creme: Well call them videolas or something. Youll be able to buy a videola with music by Quincy Jones and pictures by David Hockney or whatever.

Thats the future. And itll start on April 1!


‘Every Breath You Take, The Police

“That was an interesting coincidence. Before we went to LA to meet the group there was a programme here on jukebox promotional clips for jazz groups in the 40s. When we arrived Sting produced ‘Jammin The Bluesa promo of a 40s jazz record. It was exactly the same!”

‘Mind Of A Toy, Visage

“With Steve (Strange) It seemed that surrealism was the order of the day…”

‘Rockit, Herbie Handcock

“The brief was: do a fabulous outstanding video which is riveting with, if possible the minimum amount of Herbie in it so well have no problem getting it on MTV.”

‘Girls On Film, Duran Duran

“They told us, ‘We want sex on video. We thought about it for two seconds and said yes!”

‘Synchronicity, The Police

“We nearly didnt do the ‘Synchronicity concert at all because we thought ‘a live show—how boring. Then we thought maybe because theyre boring we can do something different with it.”


Awards

Lol Creme: “Awards mean a lot to me. In the music biz people buy your records; when we get video awards its the only way we learn people like our work”

1981 UK Video Award for Visages ‘Mind Of A Toy.

1983 Music Week Award, Billboard Best Music Video & Best Art Direction Award, D & AD Best Video Award and American Video Award for Best Directors—all for ‘Rockit; Grammy Award for Best Video Short—Duran Durans ‘Girls On Film.

1984 VPA Monitor Award for Best Directors for The Polices ‘Synchronicity concert; MTV Best Cinematography for The Polices ‘Every Breath You Take; Midem Best Director Award for Frankies ‘Two Tribes; MTV Video Music Award, Best Concept Video, Best Special Effects On A Video, Best Art Direction, Best Editing and Most Experimental Video—all ‘Rockit.