Director Alexander Sharp serves up a sexy, slithery vampire with a steely, black-and-white grindhouse aesthetic in the video for Josh Jones & Trevor Kidd’s “Salvation” – available now.
Laser-sharp closeups of a pick strumming a guitar string, a drumstick hitting a cymbal, and the beater hitting the bass drum highlight the slowed-down sensuality of the song’s intro while overexposed film negatives flash over longer shots of the band performing. The result is a dark, gothic vibe that matches the stalking, crawling, gasping progression of “Salvation” – “Are you hungry for it?”
I feel the rush of the chemicals kicking in
I feel the touch of your talons on my skin
I feel you play me like a violin
I feel you take us where we’ve never been
The background suddenly switches to blood red overlaid with grainy lines and static, and Sharp gives us those gorgeous close-ups again – of the instruments, of mouth on microphone, on long hair swinging with the pounding of the drums. Then, the background switches again to a cool blue over a soaring, exploratory interlude while a woman in bondage lingerie slinks on the floor through the lens of an overturned lamp. “Salvation” pounds again, and Sharp switches back to black-and-white and then to grainy blood-red again before the video ends abruptly with a shot of the singer’s roaring mouth rimmed with vampire teeth.
“The video for ‘Salvation’ was designed to equally entertain and aggressively anesthetize: an outrageous, grindhouse, rock ‘n’ roll music video that would keep reinventing itself,” Sharp said. “I designed it so that it would mutate visually at every verse, chorus, and bridge at such a feverishly bizarre pace, while excreting a kind of perverted effervescence.”
Alexander Sharp was born in 1994 in Vancouver. When he was 15 years old, he directed his first dramatic short film, Thank You, which was recognized by Vision Quest, a rehabilitation program for addicts that screens the film as part of the process of recovery. His first independent short film Ziggy’s Will screened at Festival de Cannes, Manchester International Film Festival, HollyShorts, Santa Monica International Film Festival, and Gig Harbor Film Festival in 2018.
Sharp’s debut feature-length film Wired Shut was released on Amazon Prime in 2021 across North America and the UK from 101 Films. He continues to write and direct films, music videos, and commercials.
My name is Alexander Sharp, and I‘m a film director from Vancouver, BC. My feature film, Wired Shut, was released internationally on AppleTV, Amazon Prime, and DVD in 2021. I’ve also directed thirteen music videos and three commercials while developing my next feature.
I mean, “Salvation” is hands-down the best piece of rock music I’ve gotten to do, and it must be heard by the masses, so it was mostly a fun ride to be apart of. Josh and Trevor are so insanely talented, and they had full trust in me, which was such a blessing because artists often have one idea of how they want to present themselves, and then I’ve got another idea of how they should present themselves. That can always be tricky to navigate. “Creative differences.” And, you know, as they should have because it’s their brand that I’m trying to mould, bisque fire, and glaze. But with Salvation, this was Josh and Trevor’s debut single as a new duo, so the attitude right out of the gate was no-holds-barred: “Sharpy, we want to see the craziest thing you can do with this.” So, we booked the cyclorama stage, we cast our dancer from The Smoke Show Burlesque here in Vancouver, we rented two RED 8K cinema cameras, a robot arm, a probe lens, a few sky panels, a bit of mylar, and we shot the thing for 14 hours. There are really only three ways to do music videos: pure performance, pure story, or a combination of the two. Working in film, story is number one, so as a change of pace, I’m a little magnetic to performance-based opportunities because literally, anything can happen. At that point, it really doesn’t need to make any sense. It just needs to be a good show.
The first thing I’m listening for is just good music of any genre. A music video only exists because the music does, so I mean, you can’t really get around that. It’s kind of like directing film scripts in that way: if the script is bad, there’s nothing the likes of Kubrick can do to make the movie good. Conversely, if the script is good, even the worst director in the world probably can’t completely screw it up. Frankly, I just try to make my life as easy as possible and choose great music. Then, it’s incredibly difficult for me to make a bad video. Even if I fail, the song is still fantastic. Some of my favourite songs of all time have lousy videos, but it doesn’t matter because the song is a hit. At the end of the day, the video is a tool to support the music in finding its audience. It’s important that is understood between artists and directors so that there can be some risk and experimentation when crafting a video because that’s the only way it’s going to be any fun and raise the bar.
I’m proud to say it’s my own sister, Natalie Sharp (as “Frankie Sharp”), who’s released four fabulous songs. I directed the video for her debut single, “Wait Is Over.” Nat is multi-faceted as an accomplished actress and as a singer/songwriter under her stage name, “Frankie Sharp.” Her voice is incredibly unique, and I’m not just saying this because she’s my sister. She is actually unreal.
Michelle Creber’s work is also fantastic. She was the first artist who I signed with for five music videos back-to-back, four of which were for her album, STORM: “Like It Never Happened,” “Let Me In,” “Electricity,” and “Welcome to Reality.” Our first video together was for her single, “Feels Like Summer.” Michelle’s work is intimate, emotional, and soaring. She’s truly talented at capturing and imparting feeling with her music, and she’s produced a lot of it. I have all of it downloaded on my phone, despite the diametrically opposing, epically blaring sound of “Salvation.”
Keep writing. Keep producing. If you truly love it, you won’t have a choice. The industry’s super secret tactic is to wear down ambition, so the more you stick around, the more they’ll just get used to you being here. Make it clear you aren’t going anywhere.
Connect with Alexander Sharp:
I’m Jenna, the founder and editor of Canadian Beats. I have had a strong love for Canadian music, which started many years ago. I have a passion for promoting these talented Canadian bands and artists, and that’s how Canadian Beats came to be.
Canadian Beats has grown to become more than media, and what a journey it’s been.
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