Io Echo: Stalemate

Benjamin Millepied’s Hallucinatory Super 8 Video for the LA Duo’s Aching Track

Leopold Ross and Ioanna Gika, AKA Io Echo, are the stars of director Benjamin Millepied’s kaleidoscopic short for their song of lament “Stalemate.” Inspired by the discovery of an old collection of Native American “ghost” photographs, Millepied struck upon a loose storyline in which the spectral Ross and Gika are constantly crossing, passing and missing one another. Shot entirely on Super 8, the video merges sequences shot in downtown LA with footage from a recent road trip Millepied took to Utah, giving it the offbeat air of a Jim Jarmusch road movie. “It’s my first trippy Californian video,” says the French filmmaker, who now resides in Hollywood with his wife, actress Natalie Portman, and their young son. “The Utah landscape was so spectacular and otherworldly. When I listened to the song––which I love––it just fit visually.” “Stalemate” is taken from the Laurel Canyon-based duo’s forthcoming debut album, Ministry of Love. “It chronicles a relationship that has reached an impasse,” explains the band’s multi-instrumentalist Ross. “It’s about intimacy and distance. The footage has this detached feel that really fits the theme.” Here Ross sheds some light on his musical life.

What was on the stereo when you were growing up?
Leopold Ross:
My older brother’s mid-Eighties hardcore rap: Digital Underground, Public Enemy and NWA. At ten, I discovered Nirvana, picked up a guitar and that took me through my teenage years.

Favorite new band?
Gatekeeper. Their new album Exo sounds like the soundtrack to a John Carpenter film. 

Best LA music venue?
LR: The Troubadour. Guns N’ Roses’ first ever US show was there, which appeals to me as a music nerd. 

The best thing about working with Ioanna?
LR: She always strives to make something the best it can be. It’s really good to have someone that bright around. 

Io Echo’s creative process in a nutshell?
LR: PG Tips.  

Collaboration fantasy?
LR: Sly and Robbie, or Lee Scratch Perry. He’s such an incredible freak, just hanging out him would be great. 

What’s in your rider?
LR: Maker’s Mark.

Click here for another video collaboration by Io Echo and Benjamin Millepied, plus a chat with Ioanna Gika.

Vote for your favorite film from this double bill on the NOWNESS Facebook page.  

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