Meet Canada: The Production Powerhouse Behind Music Videos For Tame Impala, Beck, El Guincho & More

Meet Canada, the director’s collective behind your favorite music videos for Tame Impala, Phoenix, El Guincho, Beck and so many more. The collective is based out of Barcelona and has also expanded to London.

This year, Canada won “Best Alternative Video” at the UK Music Video Awards for their production of “Up All Night” by Beck. In 2015, Canada was nominated for “Best Director” at the MTV Music Video Awards for Tame Impala’s “The Less I Know The Better.” Their shorts tend to have female protagonists, a heavy dose of comedy, mixed with psychedelic imagery and an engaging plot. I interviewed one of the founders Lope Serrano to find out more about what inspires these thrilling videos.

Q: How did Canada become a director’s collective?

LS: We started as a group of three friends who decided to join our forces in order to create something more powerful. CANADA was the concept we found to name this will of empowerment. Then, when we reached some notoriety, CANADA grew up and become also a production house where other directors could live together. So it began as a name for three director friends and then it become a production company. But CANADA is still our nickname as a directors and founders of the company (me and Nicolás Méndez, Luis Cerveró left the project in 2013).

Q: I’ve noticed you mainly use girls as the protagonist in your music videos, like the girl playing the knight and shining armor in the “Up All Night Video” by Beck, why is that?

LS: I don’t know. I guess that when you’re thinking of something new, when you’re writing something from scratch, it’s funnier to take it where you are not used to be than to replicate exactly your place on the earth. So, to focus on a woman it’s part of this embodiment exercise in the creative process. On the contrary, woman are tough without being muscular, and this is a beauty that you can not find on men. 

Q: Can you talk more about having female protagonists and how you think that it’s important than having male protagonists? Do you think younger girls will watch your videos and feel inner strength and power?

LS: I don’t like to think in terms of what is better or not when dealing with a female character or male character. Female and male are not absolute categories. Each context and condition asks for a specific character, no matter if it`s a male or a female. We are all humans here.

Q: Are you inspired by magical realism? There are a lot of magical-realism influences in your videos that remind me of “The House of Spirits” by Isabel Allende.

LS: Not as a formula. I do believe that reality is a subjective construction and it feels fun creating short circuits between what it’s logical and what it’s not, but i don’t feel myself especially close to what is broadly known as magical realism.

Q: I’ve noticed you use a lot of humor in your videos, how do you use humor to convey your message?

LS: Humor is the more efficient way you can fight against skepticism. And the second best way to seduce.

Q: What feelings do you want viewers to feel after watching your videos?

LS: Heat in the blood.

Q: Where do you find inspiration? Who are your influences?

LS: Life. The worst way to find an idea is to pretend to capture it as a butterfly. You open your computer, you look on tumblr and then you are lost; it looks like everything is there and it’s only a matter of connecting one dot with the next one BUT IT’S NOT. Screens are just mirrors. You’ll only find your own reflection at the end. It’s an exhausting illusion. And what you collect it’s already dead because it’s already done. An idea is something that does not look like an idea. An idea is a piece of something that only your brain is able to turn into a mechanism. Life is the gear. Walking, swimming, eating, biking. That’s what activates everything else. And reading. Open a book. But not on a screen. Obviously, I use internet a lot. Obviously I found inspiration from other things that I see on the internet and OBVIOUSLY I’m not original. I don’t feel guilty about that at all. I think that creativity is, finally, a matter of editing, of putting your insights into all the right places and other images are, without a doubt, precious insights. But an idea is something different. An idea is not a butterfly. An idea is the superior purpose that has made this butterfly so beautiful and desirable. I don’t know why, but images are better if they don’t come directly from other images, if they are the result of a mental process. Images need to be mental catepillars firstly. I guess it’s something related to alchemy and the spiritual need of processing. That’s why I think that inspiration comes from three-dimensional real life and not from a flat gratifying self-service.

Q: What does your creative process look like?

LS: A painful mental chaos that eventually wins the battle over reality because of the existence of a deadline.

Q: What advice would you give someone who is in a writer’s block or feels stuck because they feel like everything has already been done before?

LS: Well, again, the purpose of doing something beautiful and remarkable per se it’s enough for me. It does not matter if something has already done before. The process is personal and  not transferable. The (creative) process is the reason, not the final thing.

Q: So you started off as a directors’ collective, how did that expand into a record label?

LS: Well, by creating a record label our goal was to establish a permanent connection with younger and uninhibited artists. And it’s our protection money for the cause.

Q: Who would you love to create a video for? Any dream projects?

LS: I would love to work with Kelly Lee Owens. And I would really love to make a long feature film.