Depending on how you look at it, The Twilight Sad's latest video is either deeply disturbing or painfully hilarious. Director Craig Murray's take on the Scottish band's new song "Another Bed" is a beautifully shot, nearly monochromatic tale of a lonely video-store clerk and his bizarre search for friends.
Though the video, particularly the ending, is up for interpretation, "Another Bed" is clearly a walk through the darker corridors of The Twilight Sad's collective imagination. The cut, from the band's upcoming album No One Can Ever Know, is just one of several songs on the record exploring loneliness, fear, isolation and death.
"Another Bed" director Craig Murray says he tried an unusual process to help visualize the song.
"The way I considered this film was to gain ideas from five different sources. I asked these sources to listen to the song and return to me four words or themes that they visualized. I then elaborated upon these. I thought this process would honor the band's original wishes of interpretation and ambiguity, but I wanted to leave the end result open to interpretations, too.
"When photography was first invented, it was thought that it gave the people it captured immortality; taking their souls, giving them everlasting life. I thought I'd continue this theme using the dying format of VHS with the story of a video-shop worker (he actually works in that shop and is the singer known as Stuart Warwick). I'd never seen the job position used in a film like this. Kinda strange, really, considering that he has all your details.
"Serial killers like to be caught. They like to leave clues. As the loner plays out his fantasies of having friends over to his bare and lifeless apartment, he films them, making stop-motion films using the format of VHS to record them in motion and interacting with him. He then puts these films on the shelves of his shop for the public to access (I had the idea of there being many recordings, and with some the scent of the incident still remained). But since VHS is not in demand anymore, his crimes sit amongst Hollywood films and lifestyles undiscovered and forgotten."
The Twilight Sad singer James Graham says "Another Bed," like the rest of No One Can Ever Know, is an intentional departure for the band.
"When we were writing these songs, we didn't want to fall into the trap of repeating ourselves. We wanted to develop on what we have previously done and not regurgitate it. After demoing the album, it seemed to work well having a sparse, slightly militant arrangement, which was probably more of a challenge, trying to keep in mind the 'less is more' mentality.
"At the time I had been listening to a lot of music along the lines of Siouxsie and the Banshees, Gang of Four, PiL, Cabaret Voltaire, Magazine, early Mute Records releases, Conny Plank and Martin Hannett productions, etc., which by coincidence was in the same vein of a mixtape that [producer] Andrew Weatherall had given us to explain how he thought the record should sound. To get out of our comfort zones, we moved to London for a month and experimented with analog synths and drum machines that we borrowed from [musician] Ben Hillier, and had Weatherall on board to to bounce ideas off.
"'Another Bed' was probably the first song we wrote for the album, but we were never too sure of it, to the point we nearly left it off the record. That was one of the benefits of having Weatherall there when we were mixing; he assured us that this was actually a really strong track, which I'm glad he did. It's probably the closest thing we've ever had to a proper single."
No One Can Ever Know is the third full-length album from The Twilight Sad, and is due out Feb. 6.