Calling all Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds fans! The musician is releasing a definitive 18 track best of package to celebrate his work over the past decade and even dropped a video for new single “We’re On Our Way Now” to celebrate. Paying homage to French New Wave cinema and starring The Crown’s Matt Smith and Gala Gordon, expect plenty of sordid deeds, romance and broken fourth walls (Fleabag eat your heart out).
While more from this chic aesthetic world may well be on the horizon, in the meantime you can scroll below to read more about the video’s creation from co-directors Dan Cadan and Scully, Gala Gordon, Matt Smith and Noel Gallagher himself.
What does 10 years of Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds represent to you?
Noel Gallagher: Creative freedom and peace of mind.
Dan Cadan: 10 years of NGHB represents yet another decade of my unashamed worship at the altar of Noel Gallagher (NG). If he can maintain his musical ability for just two more years, he’ll have achieved that rare and much sought after 3 decade milestone of Cadan adulation. What more incentive does he need?
Scully: 10 years of NGHFB has been really good fun , the first NGHFB gig was in Dublin and was the day Manchester City beat Manchester United 6-1. It’s a bit like being in an episode of The Monkees joining a conga that starts in Dublin and goes right round the world while blowing one of those kazoo things where the feather pops out at the end, and your football team gets better and better every season. The stuff of dreams — that’s how it felt to me. Everybody else works very hard I can assure you of that.
Gala Gordon and Matt Smith star in the video for “We’re On Our Way Now” — why did they feel like a good fit for the project?
DC: Gala appeared in our last vid for “Blue Moon Rising” and there was no question that she was the actress for this one. If Gala was to play a character who would evoke Jean Seberg, she was going to need a co-star who could bring the cool, tough, swagger of Jean-Paul Belmondo. There’s no one more capable at that than Mr Matt Smith. They nailed it, whilst bringing their own modern take to their characters, which was necessary as the video is set today.
Tell us some of the themes of “We’re On Our Way Now” as a song?
NG: it’s a song about not getting to say goodbye and the frustration of things left unsaid.
Gala Gordon: Love, loss and adventure.
The video for “We’re On Our Way Now” is inspired by French New Wave cinema — why does that feel like a good aesthetic match to the themes of the song?
GG: “We’re On Our Way Now” is an homage to the birth of French New Wave Cinema, in particular A Bout De Souffle. The aesthetic works very well for the music as it combines the effortlessly cool, cinematic era whilst portraying a tragic story of two lovers who are sadly doomed. We also used the device of breaking the fourth wall, by looking down the camera lens which brings a real intimacy.
DC: It was Scully’s genius idea to pay homage to French New Wave cinema. He cut together a brilliant vid using footage from the Jean-Luc Godard game-changer, A Bout De Souffle, to show how it would work. Everyone was convinced and so we set about writing a treatment that would pay homage to the movement, paying particular attention to that film and another Godard classic, Band A Part. Renowned for rejecting convention and tradition, French New Wave has a timeless aesthetic that boldly favours experimentation and an iconoclastic spirit. NG embodies all of the above, so it’s the perfect fit.
S: The French New wave seemed an obvious choice to me, there’s a beautiful aesthetic to those movies so I thought to try and capture a little bit of that would be nice.
Tell us about the on-set experience of making the video.
Matt Smith: The on-set experience was chuffing brilliant. Shot in black and white, [directors] Dan and Scully are great and Noel rocks up at 3pm to bring the magic.
GG: I’ve really enjoyed filming several music videos for NGHFB over the last two years. It was great to re-partner with director Dan Cadan. Dan and I previously shot “Blue Moon Rising”, where I acted opposite Jack O’Connell. This time, it was wonderful to play with the journey mine and Matt Smith’s characters go on, as they rely on one another at the most crucial of times.
DC: I can’t be part of shoot that isn’t a joy. There’s really no excuse for a shoot to be anything other than a joy, as long as everyone is doing their job. And working with Scully — this is our fifth collaboration — is beyond a joy. His knowledge of film and culture, coupled with his boundless creativity, is inspirational and we work so well together. Annoyingly he’s as good in front of the camera as he is behind it. Scully reprises his role from “Blue Moon Rising”, as do Noel and Rob Parker. Noel always knows exactly what he’s doing and rarely needs direction, but we at least pretend to direct him by pointing at stuff and hoping that he nods, and Rob is unaware of how great an actor he is…or he’s well aware and is playing me for a mug.
S: The on-set experience was great, a good vibe from start to finish. Dan and I get on very well and find the whole process very enjoyable from the original conception right to the end product. The crew were great and in an ideal world we would have the same people every time. A big “thank you” to them all.
What are some of your favourite shots from the video?
MS: The shots with the motor driving over Tower Bridge, took all my Top Gear excellence.
DC: I love the shot from above when Matt climbs the stairs. Matt looking through the window, then ducking into the shadows when the police car lights illuminate him. Gala’s close ups, when she performs directly to camera.
S: One of my favourite shots in the video is of Matt on the bed surrounded by the cash from a previous robbery. I showed that to my mate and he picked up on that bit too. I’ve known Matt for a while now and must say it was a pleasure to watch somebody who is good at what they do actually doing it. He’s a nice guy and after knowing him for so long to work with him was great .
To Gala and Matt — what was it like appearing in a music video? How does it differ from your other acting projects?
MS: I enjoyed the fact it was a music video because there’s a sort of off the cuff quality…and it’s fucking Noel Gallagher’s video, so that in itself was a massive thing. It didn’t differ apart from the fact I had no clue what was going on, which I like.
GG: When acting in a music video, there is a real sense of freedom, the short form of storytelling allows you to be very playful.
What emotions and ideas do you hope the project inspires in the wider world upon its release?
MS: Not my business but the tunes are fucking great.
What have you taken away from working on this project?
GG: I love the collaborative process on music videos across all departments: styling, makeup, acting. There is a real sense of camaraderie which is what I will take with me.
MS: Doing a music video with the greatest songwriter me and my mates have ever seen, bar none, that’s a decent day at the office. I thank you NG.
DC: The same thing I have taken from every one our NGHFB projects, that I’m a lucky fucker to work with Noel, Scully, [production company] The Graft, Ignition and every single crew member involved in these shoots.
S: That every single person on it is doing a job and without any single one of them it’s not going to be as good in the end, so it’s important that everybody feels a part of it and is treated with respect and courteousness. I would like to think that anybody ever involved with anything we do leaves feeling good.
Check out the video for We’re On Our Way Now via the player above or on YouTube.