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At a New York Occasions printing plant in Faculty Level, Queens, the soundtrack is often the speedy thwap, thwap, thwap of clean paper turning into the subsequent version. However one night time in February, because of a well-known Beatle and the singer Dominic Fike, issues bought somewhat extra musical.
“Have you ever,” Mr. Fike sings in a music video shot on the plant, “learn the paper?” The track is a canopy of Paul McCartney’s “The Kiss of Venus,” and Mr. Fike is proven on the plant taking within the 14 miles of conveyor belts ferrying copies of The Occasions throughout him.
With the presses rolling and assembled copies crusing overhead, he glances on the dizzying exercise and sings, in verses he added to the observe, about individuals’s variations on points and the media. “What’s your tackle it?” he asks.
The 78-year-old former Beatle himself makes a cameo on the finish of the video, seated on a bench exterior London. He whistles the tune because the digicam zooms in on the copy of The New York Occasions Worldwide difficulty he’s perusing. Mr. McCartney slowly lowers the paper to disclose huge eyes and a shock of grey hair. Then he raises his eyebrows and grins.
“Paul whistled that completely the primary time,” Jack Begert, who directed the video, mentioned. “He’s elite.”
Mr. Begert added that the picture of Mr. McCartney enthusiastically poring over a replica of the paper underscores that he, finally, is the supply of the music. “Though Dom reimagined that track, on the finish of the day, it’s a Paul McCartney track,” Mr. Begert mentioned.
Final 12 months, Mr. McCartney wrote and recorded “The Kiss of Venus,” a clean acoustic ballad, for his latest solo album “McCartney III.” Mr. Fike’s reimagined model — an R&B pop earworm — is a part of the album “McCartney III Imagined,” out Friday, which options A-listers masking “McCartney III” tracks.
So how did The New York Occasions rating a starring position in Mr. Fike’s video?
Mr. Begert mentioned that he thought-about “The Kiss of Venus” a mirrored image of the stop-and-go power of recent life — and that when the time got here to conceptualize a video, his first thought was New York. “It’s nonetheless and delightful, but additionally loopy,” he mentioned.
The video’s artistic director, Reed Bennett, instructed the Occasions printing plant. “I used to be like, ‘That’s good,’” Mr. Begert mentioned. “I wished to hyperlink again to the theme of 1 individual feeling small but additionally like they’ve a extremely vital place within the universe.”
The cavernous, 550,000-square-foot plant — concerning the measurement of 11 and a half soccer fields — prints copies of The Occasions every night time, together with copies of Newsday and USA Right now.
The presses are typically quiet through the day, however at night time, the seven cerulean blue behemoths — every a number of tales tall — roar to life. “It will get your adrenaline pumping,” Nick D’Andrea, the vice chairman of manufacturing on the Faculty Level plant, mentioned. “You get that pleasure as they begin as much as get the paper out.”
The late version of the paper goes to press at about 10:15 p.m., so a video crew of eight confirmed up somewhat earlier than then on a Friday night time in February to scout potential photographs, Mr. Begert mentioned. After that, the strain was on: They’d a couple of hours — max — till the presses shut down for the night time.
“We simply knew we needed to transfer as shortly as doable to get all of the completely different photographs we wished,” Sam Canter, the manager producer of the video, mentioned.
As soon as they started capturing, Mr. Fike marveled on the organized chaos occurring round him.
“I don’t know what I anticipated, however it was surreal,” he mentioned in an interview. “It felt just like the North Pole, like Santa’s elf manufacturing facility on the night of Christmas.”
This isn’t the plant’s first on-screen look. It bought round two minutes of time in a scene in “The Bourne Legacy” — which took three days to shoot — and has been featured in episodes of “30 Rock,” “Elementary” and a few commercials.
Mr. D’Andrea, who has labored at Occasions manufacturing amenities for 46 years, mentioned guests have been typically bowled over by the plant’s crew of laser-driven robots, which glide round changing rolls of paper on the presses.
“Persons are at all times like, ‘I didn’t know you possibly can try this,’” he mentioned.
However Mr. Fike had the alternative response. “I used to be shocked by all the unique equipment and the way outdated it was,” he mentioned. “Every little thing that ever occurred was printed there, recorded and written down.” Perhaps not fairly the whole lot, however nonetheless loads of historical past. Mr. Fike mentioned he was notably taken with a web page (printed at a unique plant) exhibiting the 1969 moon touchdown.
Though Mr. Fike isn’t an avid information shopper, the expertise of seeing the presses and sensing a few of the historical past there might need had an affect on him. “I’m not a information man. However I like the NYT and I’m going to start out studying the information,” the 25-year-old singer mentioned. “That’s what individuals do once they become old.”
Properly, maybe, however studying the information may also help maintain you younger, too. Simply ask a 78-year-old whistler.