Portsmouth gets starring role in US band’s new music video

One of the scenes shot in Portsmouth Guildhall
One of the scenes shot in Portsmouth Guildhall
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THEY’RE A New York hip hop/rock band – but their latest video features the Guildhall and other scenes in Portsmouth.

The band, Mercury and the Architects, have never been to the city, but the video for their new single Machine has been directed by Portsmouth resident Rob Ulitski.

He found the song online on freemusicarchive.org and offered to create a video for it. Lead singer TJ Mercury said yes and so the shoot happened at the end of last month.

Rob, who directed and shot the video himself, said: ‘I really wanted to direct an ambitious project, but couldn’t find the right artist in Portsmouth and came across the song Machine.

‘They’re trying to spread a global message and by filming the video in Portsmouth we’re already reaching a wider audience.’

Rob has been working professionally for three years making music videos, but this project is unlike anything he’s ever done before.

Rob' Ulitski from Portsmouth

Rob' Ulitski from Portsmouth

He said: ‘The band really took a leap of faith and it paid off. It’s a great track and TJ’s really happy with the video.’

As there was a small budget, Rob did most of the work himself. But for the scene filmed in the Guildhall, he had five crew and more than 30 actors. With only a month to get everything together it was a very tight schedule with Rob and TJ going back and forth with ideas.

‘We chose to edit the performance section in black and white as we wanted the focus to be on what TJ was singing,’ said Rob.

Rob would now love to work with Kimbra, a New Zealand-born artist who lives in New York, and Icelandic performer Björk.

He explained: ‘They’re both such creative artists, I always feel closer and more understanding towards female artists’ music.’

For others keen to pursue a career in film or media, Rob said: ‘Don’t let people knock you down. You need to have a thick skin to deal with rejection. Just make films whatever budget you have – you can film footage on your phone.’

Rob always knew he wanted to go into film, saying: ‘I was 12 when the spark happened that made me realise I wanted to do this. It’s opened up new doors for me for things I never thought would happen.’