The Artist Explains: Tom Woodward - 'Beautiful Shadows' (Video)
Australian psych folk/indie artist Tom Woodward gives us humour, depth, eccentricity and a whole lot of insight into the creative process behind 'Beautiful Shadows' single and video.
'Beautiful Shadows' is born from spacious and atmospheric arrangements, where Tom Woodward's rich, ethereal vocals channel an old-soul worldliness, transforming bleakness into something incredibly beautiful.
Tom Woodward Explains:Where was the video filmed/ what footage was involved in the making of the video?
Most of the footage was taken at Bambi Valentine's house. Bambi's an oddball emcee-type character
who resides in Canberra, Australia, which has a very strange little scene going on of sort-of avant-garde hip-hop meets grotesque erotica. This seems incongruous for the song 'Beautiful Shadows'.
Originally,a local film curator, Alice Taylor, organised a shoot for something entirely different. A bunch of us all got dressed up and threw sporadic ideas around. It was a bit of a party. This dude Konrad Lenz happened to be filming behind the scenes. Later on, I took that behind-the-scenes footage and threw it in a blender with this old archive footage of a bridge collapsing and quite by spontaneous accident found that my song 'Beautiful Shadows' added a creepy poignancy to it.
How does the video compliment the song?
There was nothing intentional about any of the footage I used. It was all spontaneous shots of people fucking around behind the scenes for a different shoot. But when people are off-guard, relaxed, not performing, they're often at their most interesting, and a simple unplanned shadow passing across an unblinking eye can reveal mysteries a lot more interesting than a plotted, planned, story-boarded,
piece-by-piece, well put-together shoot. The song itself is in some ways about this state of mind - the unexpected glimmers of mysterious beauty that are revealed in the un-self-conscious moments. The relevance of dark dreams and the true nature that flows behind daily disguises.
Any behind the scenes stories?
Bambi had her gas cut off that week and it was the middle of winter in Canberra. Which, is rather cold. People die on their way home from the pub kind-of cold. Of course, Alice had me wearing nothing but these tiny cut-off denim shorts while she did take after take of me standing in a laundry strumming a pink ukulele. I started shivering, got so cold Bambi lent me a fur rug and then the police turned up because there'd been a burglary and I opened the door in full make up and a fur rug. For a brief rock & roll moment I felt like Marianne Faithful in the Redlands drug raid of 1967, but nobody got arrested and the police left without any casualties.
Also, the vid is made up of behind-the-scenes footage that wasn't intended to be used. The guy who shot those bits, Konrad Lenz, has an eye for capturing people's vulnerabilities. The long shot of Bambi doing a slow contemplative catwalk strut down her tiny corridor was just us fucking around, but Konrad seems to capture things most people don't notice. Just a look in the eyes or a turn of the head. I don't think Alice will ever use the footage of me in the cut-offs or the fur rug.
Tell us about the ideas/ themes/ imagery used?
The song thematically evokes the yin & yang personal / societal struggle between the good and the bad, the darkness and light, the demons and angels -- all that archetypal stuff. The old footage of the bridge collapsing is almost apocalyptic, but it's strangely comforting because it's old -- and old footage means humanity survived long enough to be able to look at footage and call it old.
Plus, crumbling structures made from human effort, especially bridges, which are supposed to mean progress, communication and connection, runs sweetly parallel with the internal breakdown / struggle of the song's narrative.
What is the message you hope people take away from watching the vid?
Life, history and interpersonal relationships are darkly complicated, but in that darkness is
something very human and very special. Or maybe just that old footage means we survived long
enough to call something old.
Interview Feature by Karla Harris
'Beautiful Shadows' is the titular track taken from Tom Woodward's new album, which is out now and available for purchase over at Bandcamp.