A short listing of issues Carly Rae Jepsen followers in all probability didn’t look forward to finding within the music video for the Canadian pop star’s bubbly new single “Party For One,” which dropped Thursday (Nov. 1): Dildos. Instagram sensation Bread Face. Spaghetti in a bath.
But bizarre is great for Bardia Zeinali, the music video director and fellow Canadian who Jepsen tapped for the track’s dreamlike visible celebrating independence — her first solo launch in over a yr. “I put a remedy collectively based mostly off of a unfastened artistic [Jepsen] despatched that was, 'We wish to see folks in their very own atmosphere,'” he says. “We had a name, and it developed from there.”
Zeinali, who relies in New York, first turned heads with the wildly humorous track and video mashups he now posts to 90 thousand Instagram followers (assume, a Snuggie ad-turned-club-banger). And recently, he’s taken his eye for the surreal to the music world. After assembly one such Instagram follower, pop singer Troye Sivan, at this yr’s Met Gala — the place he was capturing mini video clips of SZA, Rihanna and extra — Zeinali directed the music movies for 2 songs off Sivan’s Bloom: a excessive style, Leigh Bowery-inspired visible for the title monitor, and a High School Musical-esque narrative for “Dance To This,” co-starring Ariana Grande.
With “Party For One,” his third lead director credit score on a music video, Zeinali mined rom-coms like Bridget Jones’s Diary and Legally Blonde to create hyper-personal worlds throughout the rooms of a resort, the place a various vary of characters observe self-love by dancing of their underwear, unpacking intercourse toys and — sure — consuming spaghetti within the bathtub. “We had an thought for an older lady who behind closed doorways has this alternate life,” he explains of 1 character. “Exploring what she engages with when she’s absolutely snug in her occasion for one.”
Below, the 29-year-old director explains how labored with Jepsen to carry the idea to life (and what precisely was the cope with all these product placements).
Let’s begin originally. How did you get entangled?
I do know Michelle An, [head of music video & creative content] at Interscope. She hit me up in July  and was like, “Would you be considering writing a remedy for this Carly Rae track that’s popping out?” I used to be like, “in fact!” [Jepsen’s 2015 LP] Emotion was a defining album in my life. “Warm Blood” continues to be probably the greatest songs of all time.
Did you get any kind of route from Carly at that time?
They gave me a rundown on how Carly visualized it. It was a play off of rom-com cliches, like Bridget Jones’s Diary, and Carly needed to have the journey that you just undergo in your alone time. I began watching rom-coms, determining, “what are these cliches, and the way will we flip them on their head?” She appreciated the concept of getting everybody separate, and discovering an excuse for everybody to satisfy at one level.
How did you resolve on the setting, and the situations happening in every room — like consuming spaghetti within the bathtub?
Initially, [the setting] began out as an condominium. But a resort felt like the kind of place the place you’re by yourself, and it’s liberating to a sure diploma. You’re touring, and also you’re out of your consolation zone, sharing partitions with strangers who’re doing the identical factor.
Carly and I had a whole lot of conversations about completely different situations — these folks within the video, what their journey can be. We knew we needed to do a bath scene. We had been like, “What are you able to eat in a bathtub that’s sort of gross, that’s not unhappy or attractive?” And then we had been like, “Pasta and meatballs!”
She has a really distinct imaginative and prescient and is nice at staying centered on what it must have — and it’s extra of a sense. She’s extra like, “I would like it to really feel this fashion,” versus, “I would like it to look this fashion,” or “I would like it to be edited this fashion.” It’s extra of a response. It’s extra emotional for her. She’s extraordinarily genuine.
We see a number of acquainted faces within the music video. Can you discuss them?
Obviously, [dancer] Mark [Kanemura], who’s sort of an icon at this level. Carly actually needed him within the video. So, we had been like, “How will we carry Mark in?” I like the Cinderella story of Mark and Carly’s relationship. He did this factor on the Internet, it went viral, it caught her consideration. I like that story of what you may obtain on the Internet.
And in fact, Bread Face. How did you get her concerned, and what does her cameo add to the intro?
I’m obsessed together with her. I despatched her a DM on Instagram, and fortunately she was following me so she noticed it. And she was like, “Oh my God. Yes, in fact!” She epitomizes what it means to be completely uninhibited, no matter the way it’s perceived or what it’ll imply to another person, or whether or not it’s proper or flawed, or if it’s uncomfortable. Right off the bat, she lets the viewer know, that is the sort of shit that’s gonna occur. It’s gonna get bizarre, and also you’re gonna prefer it, and also you’re gonna have a celebration for one.
What had been a few of your references? The first shot of Carly gave me main Margot Tenenbaum vibes.
It was! That was our reference for styling — positively Margot. One of my references was Legally Blonde, when Elle Woods is watching a film proper after her boyfriend breaks up together with her. And basic rom-coms, like Bridget Jones’s Diary.
Now, there’s clearly an enormous branding presence within the video —
Calvin Klein was not a sponsor! [Laughs.] Reading among the feedback on YouTube, I believe anyone requested like, “Is this a Calvin Klein advert?” It was so not intentional. It was what we gravitated towards for [Jepsen] as a result of we needed to do boy briefs. I imply, Calvin Klein makes one of the best briefs. That’s simply the best way it’s. It simply so occurred that Mark’s briefs had been additionally Calvin Klein.
Fair. What about Absolut and Postmates?
You know, clearly that is mandatory. This is what it is advisable do with a view to make the challenge. But I believe as a artistic and as an artist, it’s one thing that it’s best to method as a problem that’s thrilling to tackle and a great way to problem your self.
Coming from my background in style and dealing in additional fashion-branded and commercial-type work, it’s an thrilling problem to determine the way to place a product organically right into a situation that doesn’t take away from the narrative. Postmates initially needed a sure search for the uniform and the packaging, however they had been tremendous versatile, and so they allowed us to sort of reimagine what Postmates appears like on this world that we created.
The video additionally appears to recommend a extra mature, grown-up picture of Carly — I’m pondering particularly of the underwear, the intercourse toys, and so forth. Was that picture intentional, or explicitly mentioned between you?
It wasn’t one thing that we actually did deliberately. I believe it’s one thing that simply occurred by nature. It’s the place she’s at, in all probability, in her profession and her life. I don’t assume that it’s not for a youthful viewers, nevertheless it positively speaks to an older [audience].
The forged options characters of all ages, races, sexual orientations and so forth. What had been your conversations with Carly about casting like?
Carly’s message may be very wide-reaching. One factor that I actually liked about her, and that I realized about her, is she’s very a lot towards tokenism, and he or she’s actually particular about what her message is. When we had been speaking about casting and stuff, she needed to watch out about not having folks be stereotyped. I actually love, respect and admire that. That’s one thing that I’m all the time making an attempt to realize. She not solely does that, but in addition does it outwardly and says it out loud and may be very vocal: This is the best way that it must be, and I don’t wish to make folks really feel this fashion, and that’s not my message, and that is what my message is.
She has a platform and he or she’s accountable with it. She clearly may be very a lot an icon to the LGBT neighborhood. I believe that she will get that she must be cautious and shield and be sure that everybody feels protected. Which I like and respect, and I believe that’s one thing that lots of people can study from.
Who can be your dream collaborator in your subsequent challenge?
Robyn, hands-down. Really Robyn and Lorde, however Robyn for certain. The Honey album, it’s a masterpiece. I listened to “Honey” the second it dropped. I’m an enormous fan of craft, and he or she injects coronary heart and soul into dance music, one thing that’s digital. I believe Carly does that so properly with pop music, too — she makes soulful pop, and that’s why there’s such an emotional response to her music, and I believe that’s why folks love her and take heed to her music. It makes them really feel.
Here’s a wild card. What does Carly odor like?
Smell like? Oh my god. [Laughs.] Sweet? Something candy. But additionally like Canada — recent and good and candy and like puppies.