Billie Eilish goes behind the scenes of “Therefore I Am”

Five-time GRAMMY Award-winning artist Billie Eilish has partnered with Vevo for an exclusive behind the scenes look at her self-directed “Therefore I Am” music video in the latest installment of Vevo Footnotes.

Eilish reveals that after spending an entire day trying to come up with the perfect concept, the idea to film “Therefore I Am” at a mall came to her and her manager while waiting in line at a Starbucks drive-thru. The video was filmed in one night at the Glendale Galleria Mall in Los Angeles, a familiar stomping-ground for Eilish during her early teen years, using only her mother’s iPhone.

FOOTNOTES OUTLINE:

(00:16) Narration: The video of “Therefore I Am” was released in November 2020. 

(00:23) The song title plays on a famous quote “I think, therefore I am” by philosopher Rene Descartes.

(00:34) “Therefore I Am” was produced by Billie’s brother FINNEAS, who also co-wrote the song with her. 

(00:40) They recorded the track while quarantining, but the songwriting process began in January of 2020. 

(00:54) Billie Eilish: “We make songs a lot of different ways. Sometimes it starts with piano, guitar, ukulele, sometimes it starts with a melody or lyrics, sometimes it starts with a beat or whatever. 

(1:00) We just made it better over time. It was always this song, it always felt like this.” 

(1:12) Narration: Billie directed the video. 

(1:18) It’s not the first time she’s directed her own music video. 

(1:26) She also directed the visuals for “Everything I wanted” and “Xanny” 

(1:39) Billie didn’t bite into the pretzel in this shot because they’d been sitting out all day and were too stale to eat.

(1:44) The video was shot overnight at the Glendale Galleria mall in Los Angeles. 

(1:47) Billie and her manager came up with the idea at a Starbucks Drive-Thru 

(2:05) Billie Eilish: “We had spent the entire day before trying to figure out what the fuck the video should be for this song, and none of us could figure out anything at all. I usually have visuals that come straight to my head when I think about a song 

(2:08) but for some reason this song didn’t bring visuals to my brain, so we spent the entire day racking our brains like trying to think of anything. And then we were waiting for our Starbucks, and we were like, ‘What if it was at the mall?’” 

(2:38) Narration: This scene is Billie’s favorite moment.

(2:45) She’s wearing an outfit designed by Seoul-based label Skoot 

(3:01) “Therefore I Am” was shot entirely on Billie’s mom’s iPhone. 

(3:34) Billie scouted the mall a few times before the shoot. 

(3:45) Billie Eilish: “At the first scout we did at the mall, I just immediately knew the whole video. I walked everybody through each shot, each pause, each zoom in and each little bump in the camera work and we went from there. It was really fun.” 

(4:24) “The voice you hear yelling at Billie to leave is actually her own security guard.”

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Written by Steve Likoski

Academic Officer by day, writer for music websites by night.

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