When the members of Simple Plan sat down to brainstorm concepts for a music video earlier this year, it was hard to ignore an idea staring directly at them from Ukrainian filmmaker Jensen Noen.
A few months earlier, the Montreal pop-punk group had befriended the Los Angeles director who was shooting their music videos for The antidote and Ruin my life. As they were planning a third for the single Wake me up (when this nightmare is over)Ukraine was sliding into a humanitarian crisis as Russia invaded the country.
Drummer Chuck Comeau said the band found themselves in conversations with Noen about the troubling circumstances in his homeland and ways to get something hopeful out of the war.
“It could be a really powerful music video,” Comeau said of the project, which was shown online Tuesday.
WATCH | The official music video for Wake Me Up (When This Nightmare’s Over):
“(We) started thinking, ‘Maybe we can use the song. Maybe we can use our platform. Maybe we can use our influence to have a positive impact.'”
Noen accepted. And shortly after, the director was talking about his contacts with the Ukrainian cast and crew in the Los Angeles area, looking for people who might be interested in volunteering their time to create a music video that would also serve fundraiser for UNICEF to help people at home.
At the end of March, a cast of Ukrainian actors had joined a small team to tell the story of a Ukrainian family – a father on the battlefield, a mother helping the wounded and exercising freedom of expression and children caught between two lights.
“An anti-war message”
Simple Plan appears in cut-scenes from the script, performing their song amidst the ruins of a devastated region.
“The idea for us was really to try to have an anti-war message,” Comeau said.
“We wanted to be very careful not to tell a story that’s not ours and not to do it in a way that might feel awkward. But I think having Jensen on board, and with him having that bond personal, it felt like it was the right thing to do now.”
It was very special to see all this talented Ukrainian team come together for this cause & create such a moving and emotional music video. We believe in the power of music and hope this video can have a positive impact and raise as much money as possible for the Ukrainian people.
Although filming took place in Los Angeles, post-production and visual effects were done by a team of artists based in Ukraine, which presented its own logistical challenges during the war. For a short time, they lost internet and couldn’t resend completed footage, which delayed the video’s release by a few days, Comeau said.
Now that Wake me up is onlinethe group encourages its fans to share it everywhere.
They say all money generated from YouTube views will be donated to the United Nations Children’s Fund, which is appealing for nearly US$949 million to support Ukrainian children and their families.
Simple Plan has announced its intention to continue supporting Ukraine in the months to come. Fifty cents off each ticket sold for the next Blame Canada Tour with Sum 41 will be donated to UNICEF through its Simple Plan Foundation, which focuses on causes supporting young people.