The new music video for Haunt The Woods to accompany their single Elephant sets out the stall of the Cornwall four-piece. The stunning visuals along with the ear-wriggling, soul stirring Haunt The Woods sound shouts an eloquent “Oi!” with a grabbing ethereal insistence. All while putting Cornwall and the South West centre-stage.
“What we didn’t want was a narrative,” video director Billy Abbott told D&CFilm.
Cue an abstract visual journey that aims to represent the evocative sounds of Haunt The Woods themselves.
“The challenge was to create something visually striking and represent the band performing in a video for the first time,” said Billy.
Urban and forest settings
The concept saw Billy and his crew shooting throughout the South West, combing urban and forest settings, with key sections being filmed in Plymouth’s Royal William Yard, Melville building
“It was very important for the locations to be in the South West,” said Billy. “Haunt The Woods are from Cornwall and that sense of place is key to them. And finding those settings across Devon and Cornwall allowed us to be ambitious and mobile, reacting quickly to availability and problem solving along the way.
But it’s also the way the band interacts with those environments that Billy was looking at. The natural fluidity of the quartet performing in contrast to the striped pillars at Royal William Yard is a perfect example of the key elements of the vision for the Elephant video.
The colour palette was also part of the considerations.
Billy cites the likes of Darren Aronofsky, Bradford Young and Denis Villeneuve as notional touchstones in terms of potential influences.
And creating that visual sense was made easier, according to Billy, by working with two stunning art directors: Will Clarke and Lo Hayes.
‘From early on in the process the idea required a carefully considered texture and colour palette, Lo and Will’s art direction elevated everything beautifully,’ said Billy.
Even in the editing process, Billy fought the urge to impose a narrative on the music film.
A video is an essential accompaniment to any band’s repertoire in this multi-multi media-ed world. And getting that right look and feel is essential.
A music video aesthetic
“We’re in such a visually rich world, music videos establish and evoke an aesthetic for emerging bands and artists,” said Billy.
The video comes at a time when HTW (that’s Haunt The Woods, to you) are breaking into the next level in their musical career. The band are set to headline at the Pavilions with the launch of their next album. With the contemporary indie/folk trio Wildwood Kin, long time friends of the band, also playing on the night.
This step, aided and abetted by their visual sensibilities, builds on the massive and growing support the band have nurtured through their live performances on the circuit.
It’s a responsibility director Billy has risen to. That combo of rural and urban, and a sense of the other while being heel-grindingly down to earth is part of their appeal, and seems central to the video’s sensibilities.
When describing their previous single Beautiful Catastrophe, South West music blogger Listen With Monger called Haunt The Woods simply superb, saying ‘there’s something more here, something on another level that makes this stand out like a shining beacon of hope.’
Hope? Watch the video for Elephant and see what you think: it’s a richly textured treat for your eyes and ears.