«Smack My Bitch Up» video: Jonas Akerlund interview

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The stunning «Smack My Bitch Up» video got its MTV premiere Sunday, December 7th 1997 at midnight during «120 Minutes» — that happened exactly 24 years ago! That’s why we decided to compile two nice interviews with Jonas Åkerlund, the director of the video, where he told a bunch of curious details about the shooting process…

Even if you haven’t heard the name ​Jonas Åkerlund before now, you’ve definitely seen some of his work. The longhaired former Bathory drummer is now one of the most iconic music video directors of our time, having made a couple of mainstream classics like U2’s «Beautiful Day» or «My Favourite Game» by The Cardigans. Before all of that though, he got his big break with the controversial video for «​Smack My Bitch Up» by The Prodigy. Apparently, the idea for the first-person POV video, where a woman does a bunch of drugs, goes out and gets wasted, and then brings a pretty lady home to get frisky with, was based on a night out that Åkerlund had in Copenhagen. So what went down that particular evening? A few years ago the director had a few talks, where he shared the story of how it came to fruition. Questions by Danika Maia & Stephen Hill.

Hey Jonas, how’s it going?
Hey, I’m freezing my balls off over here in LA, but it’s good. Thank God you’re speaking English, I was afraid that this would be in Danish and I’m totally shit at it.

When was the last time you were over here in Copenhagen?
I’ve gone every summer since I was young, actually; been in and out of the city my whole life. Now it’s a little different though, I mostly just take the kids to Tivoli and have some nice dinner.

So it was a little crazier in your youth?
Oh yeah, it used to be the place to go and get wasted and smuggle beer and alcohol back to Sweden because it was a lot cheaper. We used to get a private boat, before the bridge to Sweden was built, and just sail it over. But it’s not illegal to bring booze back anymore, so that thrill is gone. Copenhagen was the place to go and see uncensored movies, too, because it’s always been a lot more open over there. I remember seeing Evil Dead 2 there back in the day.

Rumor has it that the «Smack My Bitch Up» video was inspired by a crazy night out in Copenhagen, can you tell us about that night?
​I actually don’t remember much of that night at all. Not because we were too wasted or anything, but because it was a seriously long time ago. I think it’s better if I start from the beginning of the whole thing, is that ok?

Jonas’s storyboards for «Smack My Bitch Up», which he made by following a couple around getting wasted in Stockholm. Piece #1

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