When Nick Talbot spoke to Young Knives for tQ in 2013 about their difficult path to musical independence, the band were coming off the back of Sick Octave, a record that Talbot described as “a brilliant and bewildering roar of conviction from a band reaching a creative zenith”.
Now, two years on, the band have released a film to accompany ‘Something Awful’, the album’s dark, hallucinated centrepiece, which they recently put out as the lead track on a Record Store Day EP. True to their convictions on the pointlessness of standard industry self-promotion, the video is a fading, disintegrating work of visual art to complement a song that lead singer Henry Dartnall says was inspired by his late grandfather’s changing mental state in his final years: “The song ‘Something Awful’ was inspired in part by the last few years of my grandfather’s life; he died of Alzheimer’s disease in 2010. I was really struck by how minds, which we like to think define who we are, are totally unstable. It’s not a fun subject but we knew we could make it fun. The film is an imagining of a deteriorating mind, like an old VHS tape that’s been recorded on too many times. I have memories that I don’t know actually happened or if I dreamt them or if they are just something I saw on TV. I’m sure I’ve even got memories that are someone else’s I have visualised and stored as my own. So I kind of imagined what that state of confusion would be like if it was amplified. I guess the main character’s ‘self’ is uncertain to him so it has to be uncertain to the viewer too as we are watching it from his perspective. He imagines himself in scenarios that are a mixture of reality and TV and flights of fancy and probably nightmares. In moments of seeming clarity he imagines he can transform himself into the superhuman, a metamorphosis, maybe he can. I liked the ambiguity of leaving clues in the film but not making it explicit what was actually happening, in fact we didn’t really decide what was happening, so I keep getting new meanings for different bits a month after finishing the edit.” Watch the video above.