Yeah Yeah Yeahs are the first band to have filmed a music video atop New York’s Empire State Building. As The New York Times reports, the band was given permission to film the video for “Despair” back in April. The shoot took place in the middle of the night, utilizing a small crew of two dozen and a helicopter for aerial shots.
Anthony E. Malkin, operator of the Empire State Building, approved the band’s request to film. “The way I look at it is, why hadn’t this been done before?” he told The New York Times. “Credit to them for having the gumption to ask.”
Malkin said other bands had previously sought to film at the building, but did not meet production requirements. “We did review the lyrics, we understood what the song was about, we understand the treatment. It had to be appropriate for the building, and it was.”
According to The Times, the video begins with the band converging on the building before traveling up to the observation deck, where they perform “Despair” live. According to director Patrick Daughters, the idea was to capture “the end of an epic night out in New York City.”
Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Karen O. said of the shoot:
“It’s definitely not just another cool day in the life of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. It was definitely an iconic moment. It’s hard to do something like that and not to feel like it’s symbolic – it’s like the American dream for us, singing your song on top of the Empire State Building, feeling like: man, where were we 10 years ago, when we were sitting around in some punk rock dive bar, thinking about what to name our band, and New York City, and now here we are at the top. It really felt dreamlike.”
The video will premiere this Monday, June 24th on Noisey. Watch a teaser trailer below.