Hitchhiking in the name of love

Real-life couple hits the road in 'Balance' video

October 11, 2011|By Wesley Case

Late one night this past summer, the Brooklyn, N.Y., video director Jay Buim received an email from William Cashion of Future Islands. In it, Cashion asked Buim, a friend of the band for years, whether he'd be interested in directing a video for the song "Balance." Having directed the "Tin Man" clip from the group's last album, Buim said yes, an easy decision.

He lay in his bed, listening to the song on repeat for hours. Buim was sad the summer was ending and knew the song matched the feeling perfectly. He envisioned an aimless couple hoping to stretch out the last warm days of the season.

"I thought of hitchhiking and [the couple] trying to keep the summer going for as long as they could," he says.

The end result is a beautiful journey between real-life couple Elbee Thrie and Danii Phae, two fellow Brooklynites who spend the video holding a cardboard sign that reads "BEACH," playing flashlight tag, feeding each other candy, napping and looking generally in love. As lead singer Sam Herring sings, "I'd do anything for you," the couple smiles in a truck-bed, their hair blowing in the wind.

"I didn't want tattooed hipsters going on a hitchhiking adventure," Buim says. "I just wanted young love. The idea of hitchhiking seems much more plausible then."

Buim says he didn't have to give the couple — Thrie, a musician and Calvin Klein model, and Phae, a New York City street fashionista — much direction. The clip, which doesn't show Future Islands at all, was filmed in three days all over New Jersey.

With planning, shooting and editing, the director spent "two intense weeks" facing the normal pressures of doing good work plus the added anxiety of making it for his friends. He didn't have to worry: Buim later received a voicemail from Cashion saying the band thought the video was "really beautiful."

"No one's making money from this," Buim says. "You have to do it because you love it. I couldn't think of another group of guys I'd rather spend my time working on something for."

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