ABOVE: SARAH AUMENT AND WILL SHORE. PHOTO COURTESY OF KATE OWEN.
As this time of year’s fickle weather agrees to settle on a wintry cold, Brooklyn-based band Tomboy brings on the chills in a different way. In their new video for “Moths,” premiered below, black-and-white visuals show Will Shore and Sarah Aument illuminated by stark lights in an otherwise murky and sinister cellar, or perhaps abandoned warehouse. Moving their bodies in stiff, robotic gestures, the two appear to struggle in finding comfort both within themselves and their surroundings. The song and visuals emphasize experimental tribal percussion, summoning a harmless feeling of anxiety through its rhythmic irregularity. Elastic synths ebb and flow likes daunting waves, interweaving with Aument’s unpredictable and Björk-like vocals.
“The song is about anxiety and a desire to be ‘normal.’ Eventually, the remedy for the anxiety comes from self-acceptance,” Aument explains. “There were a few specific months when my anxiety would wake me up extremely early in the morning. I didn’t have a screen on my window, so I would crack the top part and moths, among other things, would find their way into my apartment. As moths do, they would all crowd around a light,” she continues. “Looking retrospectively, I realized that a lot of my anxiety was based around ‘otherness,’ kind of like being a moth that didn’t want to crowd around a light. So, I took that and ran with it.”
Filmed in Brooklyn’s Nash Metalware this past May, the contrasting nature of a black-and-white aesthetic seemed perfect for the visuals according to the video’s director, Maria Burns. “The video is a story about becoming, about tapping into the dark and finding your way towards the light, and black-and-white seemed to be a better choice to evoke this feeling,” she says. “The message was easier to transmit via the interplay of darkness and light versus color.”
When developing the video’s thematic aesthetics, Burns found inspiration in not only Amuent’s lyrics, but also Jean Cocteau’s The Difficulty of Being. “His imagery triggered a creative sensation and helped me to portray the message of an inner struggle of a young human being on the path to his or her own honest self-fulfillment,” the artist explains. “On the one hand, [the stylist and I] try to underline a conceptual choice, but ultimately Will and Sarah breathe their own personalities, and this needed to be considered.”
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