‘Delivering softness, symbolism, and beauty, it’s a visual that perfectly reflects the musicality of the track.’
Bringing more than a touch of hypnotic and enticing musicality with their new single ‘Gravity’, it should come as little surprise that the same is true for the visuals that accompany the track. Generating such an atmosphere, one that causes you to mentally – and perhaps ironically – float around, there is something very special about what you are hearing. As LTD interviewer Tiegan Wright discovered earlier this month, there are very good reasons for this being the case – their love for fusing orchestral influences so seamlessly with folk ones being just one of many.
The fact is though, that this sense of seamlessly fusing influences is one that’s not just depicted in an equally beautiful manner within the video, but depicted in a way that enhances the story within the track. Of course, with this being the case you’d be forgiven for thinking this came about from a clear starting concept, but as I found out, it was quite different.
“The initial concept was pretty loose,” says the duo, “We were looking at dresses we had and remembered these really puffy, fluffy pink and white ones – kind of like marshmallows! We actually have quite a collection of amazing dresses so are basically our own costume department for our photoshoots and videos. After that, we developed the idea of having a really gaudy tea party, very pink, stylised, and sickly sweet. With the song being about toxic positivity – and this strange idea that if we hope and wish hard enough everything will be okay – the combination of makeup inspired by Sofia Coppola’s film “Marie Antionette” and solemn facial expressions highlight that even a pretty tea party with cake and champagne can’t fix the inner glumness.”
‘We consider our photos and videos as part of our own arts practice. They are a complement to the music and really important to us.’
While it’s true that what we see has a beautifully conceived inner meaning, one that goes much deeper than the organic way in which it came about, the quality of the delivery is one that feels completely considered. In fact, jump to any point and you’ll not only be met with a fuller sense of production than is the case, but that ever-present blurring of influences.
‘We are very inspired by cinema, particularly filmmakers like David Lynch with his surrealism and quirkiness, and we went to a Steiner/Waldorf school where you’re immersed in mythology from different cultures. Things such as these have deeply influenced us and the way we make art. We’re also inspired by painters of the Pre-Raphaelite era, Mabel is a Shakespeare nerd, and we are very into vintage fashion.’ Highlighting these perfectly, moments shot through glass globes, the time-shifting of footage, and horizontal mirroring ensure that you are never far from something that’s both curious and utterly enchanting.
Working to similar effect, in the colour palette being one of symbolic softness and muted tones, those aforementioned sickly sweet inferences reflect the musicality within what we hear. Key examples of this being how they relate to the ‘delicate, gentle sounds such as the fluttering harp’ and how the ever-present inclusion of a ‘vintage film filter’ makes it feel like you are viewing it nostalgically through a projection rather than a screen. Furthermore, in the duo explaining that ‘the soft sun-bleached slightly seventies look nods to an era of preposterously romantic clips where lovers run in slo-mo towards each other across faded fields of flowers’, you realise just how much they have actually achieved that feel.
However, while it is very much the case that the duo have become their ‘own production company’, and much of this was achieved by Mabel and Ivy, the filming itself was down to Cian Bennet. ‘It was a very last-minute decision to film this video – as we were in the midst of recording and about to release the track – but we felt sad that we hadn’t filmed a one. We called up our film-y friend, videographer, and location sound recordist Cian and he was up for a spontaneous shoot! We’ve actually worked with different people for our music videos, and have made quite a few with our friend Adalita who’s actually a rockstar here in Australia. We sometimes get our friends to act in the videos too which makes it ridiculously fun.”
Now, when you think about that word ‘spontaneous’, it’s highly likely that unplanned, off-the-cuff, and disorganised soon associate themselves. But there is a real art to making something that has that approach seem the complete opposite. And this is exactly what we have within the music video for Gravity. Never do you feel there is a lack of, well, anything. The costume, the setting, the cinematography, and the post-production are all completely perfect. In fact, even the truly spontaneous elements feel like they were always meant to be there.
‘There’s so much freedom when dreaming up a concept for a music video.’
“We filmed the video in one morning, getting up before dawn to catch the sunrise on film,” explain the duo, “Unfortunately it was extremely cloudy, but this actually lent itself to the pale washed-out colour palette we were going for. We also forgot to bring spoons to eat the pavlova with, so we had to eat with our hands!” In some ways, with the video already being filled with symbolism and metaphors, you could view this as one depicting the franticness to devour, rather than savour that goodness that lies within the meaning of the release. However, while this is up to interpretation, given previous videos it’s highly likely this sense of openness is something that is sure to continue.
“The video for our song “Treading Water” is probably our most complex video yet, and we filmed in a derelict tram on the most spectacular hill in the country a couple of hours from where we live in inner urban Melbourne. It’s got a whole lot of symbolism and metaphor in there, but really, we just want people to take what they want from it.” And as for future visuals? “We are currently in the middle of making the music video for our next single – this time it’s a film noir style clip with femme fatales and a cute heist.” Charm of Finches, we can’t wait.
Thanks Charm of Finches for chatting with Listen to Discover