Plasticine Tronald Dump creates consumerist hell in Kill the Noise music video
Music: a plasticine character called Tronald Dump wreaks havoc on a once-happy model town in director Chris Ullens' video to accompany a track by Kill the Noise.
London-based Belgian director Chris Ullens created the stop-motion animation for the track Kill it 4 the Kids by Kill the Noise, a stage persona of New York producer Jake Stanczak.
"The label wanted some sarcastic look on society and were happy for me to go wild and to use stop-motion animation, so I went for it," Ullens told Dezeen.
At the beginning of the video, fridge-magnet letters tell the viewer that "Kill the Noise has a little story to tell you about the world!"
It cuts to scenes of Happyville: a quaint urban setting made from cardboard and inhabited by 36 grey plasticine people.
Residents joyfully go about life until an ominous black vehicle rolls into town, with a license plate that reads "Tronald Dump".
Out gets a blonde toupéed figure with dollar signs in his eyes, who proceeds to construct a giant skyscraper in the centre of town.
From his lofty position on top of the tower, Dump uses a cannon to shoot giant billboards into the streets below.
"I briefed the art direction team about the type of buildings and town I needed for my scenarios and they went on from there to research and came up with this wonderful town," said Ullens.
"We have all that around us in London – the fast foods, the dirty supermarkets and all the rest – so they went on a few walks around London to take pictures and get inspired," he explained.
"And they looked up what's out there in America and at the way the grimness would translate the best."
The messages on the billboards include "your life sucks", "money is god" and "get rich or die", while some banners feature lyrics from the track.
"I did brief my art direction team – Sets Appeal – about what I wanted these billboards and slogans to say but, with the fact that I'm French-speaking to start with, I think my slogans were quite weak and not very funny," said Ullens.
"They had the idea to go back to a movie like They Live and to look at all the worst of the advertising world today, which turned out to be an endless source of inspiration," he said.
Brainwashed by the signs, the citizens of Happyville go on a spending spree as quaint boutiques are transformed into cheap corporate chain stores.
A small cafe is demolished to make room for fast-food restaurant McFatty, supplied by a pen full of cows that are funnelled onto a conveyor belt and squished into burgers by a giant masher. One of the residents also ends up getting minced.
After eating a giant McFatty's cheeseburger, the remaining greedy Happyvillers explode into piles of orange plasticine.
"I wanted the video to be visually entertaining because that's the point of a music video," said Ullens.
"I hope people will laugh and if at the end I managed to make people think a little about the way things are going on our planet today, then great," he added. "I haven't been very subtle with it!"
Ullens and his team had just a month to produce the stop-motion video, working with director of photography Jamie Durand, animator Tine Kluth and editor Rebecca Luff.
"I loved being given the opportunity of criticising nowadays society," said Ullens. "I had to cut out loads of ideas I had to make it all fit in the track, and because I only had so much time to work on it."
"The label (OWSLA) was great at being open to me and the artist speaking together and brainstorming, which brought the finishing touch to the project: have Tronald Dump as the character that was going to start the chain reaction."
Kill it 4 the Kids features on Kill the Noise's album Occult Classic, released by record label OWSLA on 9 October 2015.