Origins is a recurring new music feature that finds artists talking about the myriad influences behind their latest song. Today, Katherine Blamire and Jessica Davies of the Smoke Fairies break down their new video for “Disconnect”.
Smoke Fairies are no strangers to magic. By drawing inspiration from mysteries of reality and fiction, Katherine Blamire and Jessica Davies found an escape from their day-to-day anxieties, be it feelings of isolation, insomnia, or unease. The English rockers have wielded those powers for their upcoming sixth studio album, Darkness Brings the Wonders Home, due out January 31st, 2020 via Year Seven Records.
“Times of darkness are when people are often the most imaginative,” says Davies of the album’s title. “It helps you to see all the wonders of the world you hadn’t noticed before — the things you’ve been blind to because you’ve been on autopilot for so long.”
Produced by Phil Ek (Fleet Foxes, The Shins), the new album finds Blamire and Davies revisiting the intimacy and earthy folk that made up their earlier works, particularly 2011’s Through Low Light and Trees. “So many of the songs are about these feelings of disconnection,” says Blamire, “but the irony is that Jessica and I have each other, and that means so much more than any of the other relationships that come and go.”
That feeling fuels new single “Disconnect” with lyrics that get right down to it: “Lost in your own world/ You’re looking for no one/ What the hell’s wrong with you?/ Teach me to disconnect/ I want to do it too.” Yet they’re also quite cerebral: “I was a plain sheet/ You knocked black ink/ and watched it run/ Forming strange shapes/ I saw a goose/ You saw gun/You can think what you like/ But it won’t make it come alive.”
Take a listen to the track below via its Annick Wolfers-directed music video.
For more on “Disconnect”, both Katherine Blamire and Jessica Davies have broken down the Origins of the video and its accompanying visuals.
Jessica Davies: I wanted to write something about meaningless encounters that seem hard to avoid. I’ve been on either side of them. It can leave you feeling foolish when you desire something more from someone and its just never going to happen and it can leave you open to be called out for being cold and messed up when you’re the disconnected one.
Katherine Blamire: Disconnection is one key theme in the whole album. We were writing a lot about that sense that modern connections feel like they’ve become surface level and interactions meaningless. We were both kind of writing about the same themes and it was only at the end that it became clear there were these common threads running through.
Blamire: At that time we’d been listening to a lot of music with rock swagger and big riffs. Coming up with the right riff is always my favorite moment in the recording of a song, it’s like the rocket fuel that has to create the right sense of urgency to bring a song to life. If Jessica has written the main part of the song I kind of see my role as searching for that sound.
The Upside Down Everyday
Blamire: The video was a really simple idea encapsulating how your everyday domestic world gets turned upside down when someone gets inside your head — how your normal world goes slightly askew and there is a sense of strangeness to everything you normally go about doing. My favorite scene is Jessica pouring a cup of tea and then flipping upside down out of the kitchen hatch.
Davies: We shot the video in our house. By the end of the shoot so much stuff had been moved around that things kept getting smashed and broken. The worst moment of the day happened when we had to move the cat litter tray, I backed into it and all the used cat litter tipped down the back of my legs into my boots. We flung our heads around so much i think I might have given myself whiplash.
Blamire: We are enjoying working with director Annick Wolfers. She has a great way of creating dark off-kilter worlds in her videos. She also directed the video for “Out of the Woods”, which had us running through the woods covered in fake blood (and a bit of real blood by the end of the day). Her videos are really moody but there is always a sense of the ridiculous to them too. Nothing is ever too serious but the darkness still shines through.