After smoke clears - the crusher

Tackling the taboo of male depression, director Charli Whatley’s music video for the metal band After Smoke Clears, breaks conventions and might make you see the genre in a new light. Made with support from Odelay Films.


I came on board with the director, Charli Whatley, when she showed me her genre-snapping response to the band’s song The Crusher. I loved the idea of taking a hoarsely screaming metal song and combining it with a visual story of men at their most vulnerable and damaged told through contemporary dance.

Early on in pre-production, we brought in upcoming star DoP Alasdair Boyce, and together we made a plan for how to create the muted and poetic images Charli wanted for the film.

Two dancers with converse styles of movement were cast - contemporary ballet dancer Ola Wosika and krump dancer and choreographer Theophillus ‘Godson’ Oloyade. They, with After Smoke Clears band member and lead singer, Nick Hurford, were to inhabit and express three separate manifestations of depression.

As we were contending with such a small budget, the sets were planned to be extremely minimal and abstract. The focus would be on the performances and getting the best images possible.

Logistically, the biggest challenge was how to ensure we didn’t flood the studio during the bathtub scene! But fortunately, we had an amazing art director, Emma Pearce, who ensured that Nick was the only person who got wet on set.

Though the film was created with a micro-budget of just £800, we were really lucky to have the production value boosted by huge favours from our industry connections. The film was shot with top-level camera and grip kit from ARRI with lighting from Warner Bros, Cloud and Horse Studios gave us a huge discount to hire one of their stages for the weekend, all supported and insured by Prudence Beecroft at Odelay Films. In post, long term collaborator of the director Matthew McKinnon turned around the nuanced and detailed edit and CHEAT gave us time with another of Charli’s previous collaborators, colourist Caroline Morin.

Through the band’s release on their facebook page, the video went out into the global metal community with wide praise and at the time of writing, over 70,000 views.

Ola Wosika as “Overwhelmed”

Ola Wosika as “Overwhelmed”

Nick Hurford as “Hopeless”

Nick Hurford as “Hopeless”

Theophillus “Godson” Oloyade as “Trapped”

Theophillus “Godson” Oloyade as “Trapped”



Overwhelmed: Ola Awosika

Trapped: Theophillus ‘Godson’ Oloyade

Hopeless: Nick Hurford


Vocals: Nick Hurford

Guitar/Backing Vocals: Daniele Fragiamore

Guitar: Alessandro Legname

Drums: David Cau

Bass: Aaron Dohnt


Writer / Director: Charli Whatley

Producer: Toby Anthonisz

Executive Producer: Prudence Beecroft

Director of Photography: Alasdair Boyce

1st Assistant Camera: Johann Valencia

2nd Assistant Camera: Eliot Morris

Gaffers: Matt Dickinson & Nella Resler

Production Design: Amina Winkler

Art Director: Emma Pearce

Runners: Andrew Michael & Stefana Apopei

BTS Stills Photographer: Luis Rodrigues



Editor: Matthew McKinnon

Colourist: Caroline Morin


Studio: Cloud & Horse Studios

Camera & Lenses: Arri Rental UK

Lighting: Warner Bros Lighting