Music Goes Lock-Down

By Anthony Cheng

New York is widely known in popular culture as the city that never sleeps. Similarly, fashion brand director, producer, and photographer, Alessandro Massarini, never let this music project of his befall into a state of sleep itself during this COVID crisis. Even when music industry goes ‘lock-down’ it is still always open.

Prêt-à-Porter Music is making its debut with a concept album titled Chaøs (release date TBC) with Massarini as the director and ROY INC., a London-based artist, performed the title track “Chaøs”. He is also featured in another track on the album titled “Fashion”. Chaøs premiered on the runways of fashion capitals, London and Milan. As Governments enforced social distancing measures, Creatives in film directing came up with innovative ways to keep the cogs of artistic productivity rotating.

Screenshot of ROY INC. from the music video "Chaos".

Firstly, friends of Massarini, a small but progressive, LGBT production team lent their support in materialising “Chaøs” production. The team lived in various parts of London and, following the storyboard drawn up Massarini, ROY INC. and the team ventured around the emptied streets. They shot the entire music video on iPhone 11 Pros. Meanwhile, Massarini, quarantined in Milan, filmed other prop scenes in his own loft. The shooting process spanned over a three- to four-week period.

Scenic picture of London Bridge.

Massarini, ROY INC. and the team assembled the music video on a day-by-day basis. The environment, the result of national social distancing, provided an unprecedented eerie atmosphere, especially at globally recognised British attractions: Tower Bridge, Liverpool Street Station, Hackney, Tottenham Cemetery, Piccadilly Circus, London Eye, Covent Garden. The streets were almost devoid of anything living. Taking advantage of this unlikely situation veered the video towards a comparison with video-art; to capture, subsequently, an unlikely urban scenic situation that we will possibly never witness again.

The rapid development of distant communication technology provided the director the opportunity to be uninterrupted by the pandemic (originally planned to be filmed in Milan). Remote directing was the answer that swerved around the logistical issue of travel. Once the storyboard was completed, it was sent to the production team to be distantly directed, figuring out how best to film the scenes effectively without compromising artistic quality. The director, in normal circumstances, would be physically present with ROY INC. and the production team to guide his creative philosophy face-to-face; but, rather, it was explained through online (Facetime) and phone conversations.

ROY INC. in front of make-up mirror.
ROY INC. in front of make-up mirror.

“There was no chance to get any make-up artist, so ROY INC. had to manage to do it by himself”, says Massarini. This is the present reality of Creatives: taking on new roles and challenges towards your Art that you never thought about doing previously. “I was [laying] on my sofa in Milan with a lovely glass of red wine [in] one hand and holding my phone [in] the other, meanwhile, ROY was standing in front of his bathroom mirror with a black kajal [in] his right hand!”.

Massarini wrote the lyrics for ROY INC. two years ago but it was high time for them, again, to surface. One of the lines from the song “Let me out of my cage, give me more space” seemed to Massarini a perfect statement for the current lock-down mentality of the entire world. The lyrics and the current multi-national psychological state inspired a philosophy of transparency and realism: “No filter, no fiction. Just naked truth.”

Through a black cab service, Jerry Selwyn Boston assisted with outfits from Dolce & Gabbana that were delivered to ROY INC.’s location; Italian Musicians Sergio Pescara, Gianni Cicogna, Paolo Filippi and Massimo Numa composed the music. It enjoined synths and real instruments to create the sound palette of “Chaøs”.

ROY INC. taking the elevator in the London Underground.

In short, “Chaøs” is not only a song to be listened but rather to be viewed as a documentary; it encapsulates drama and the underlying collective artistic temperament of persistence, innovation, determination and communication.

It is a documentary of a multi-talented ensemble. By sheer will of optimism, they moulded pandemic tragedy into digital musical magic.

Find the music here and follow ROY INC. on Instagram @ROY.INC or his website royinc.co.uk

Find Prêt-à-Porter’s Youtube Channel here

If you enjoyed Music Goes Lockdown, read our Unconventional Lock-Down To-Do List!

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