Belle & Sebastian Exclusively Premiere “I’ll Be Your Pilot”
TIDAL is pleased to present the premiere of Belle & Sebastian’s new video for “I’ll Be Your Pilot,” off of the band’s forthcoming suite of EPs titled How to Solve Our Human Problems.
EP number one arrives this Friday, December 8, with the next dropping on January 19 (featuring “I’ll Be Your Pilot”). It all wraps up on February 17 with the coming of the final chapter.
To celebrate the release of the gorgeous yet simple new video, TIDAL spoke with front man Stuart Murdoch about the song, the EP project and his own “human problems.”
How involved were you and the band in conceptualizing ‘I’ll Be Your Pilot’?
To be honest, I changed my mind about this one at the last minute. I wanted to do something that was really intimate and personal. I was playing the song and I was watching Andy Warhol’s The Screen Tests [for inspiration]. Back to the ’60s in The Factory, Andy Warhol used to invite people that he thought had interesting faces. He used to just put them in front of the camera, and just start the camera rolling. He let them do whatever they wanted to do, and it was interesting because sometimes they would do very little, and sometimes you would get an emotional response.
I just like that notion. I thought it was good for the song. I always wanted to see the song being reflected on the faces of the people in the video.
You wrote that song, in a sense, for your son?
Yes, I had. I guess I wrote it just about a year and a half ago, and it was the first song that we recorded for this project. My wife used to kid me on, because she said, ‘Why don’t you ever write songs about us? You’re always writing songs about these mysterious misfits and people you don’t know and people you just see around.’ Obviously, having your first kid’s a pretty moving experience so I turned my attention to my boy, and I came up with this song.
And it was based on The Little Prince?
Yes. That was partly the inspiration. I hadn’t read The Little Prince in a long time but I remember there was a pilot that crashed in the Sahara Desert. You weren’t quite sure if he was hallucinating, but the character of the Little Prince comes to him and starts speaking to him. With my boy, sometimes, I just felt like the pilot that crashed his plane because sometimes, your life’s quite disastrous with stressful things happening and then when you come home, your kid is a real comfort to you.
What kind of books do you read to him aside from that? What kind of world are you hoping to create for him through music and literature?
I haven’t read The Little Prince to him; I’ll probably wait until he’s a little bit older. Tonight, when I get home, I’m thinking about sitting and watching the ‘70s version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with him for the first time.
I know you’ve done narrative projects in the past. Would you ever write a book, like a children’s book?
Well, I’m not so sure about a kid’s book but it’s a funny one because actually, somebody did ask me to write a novel for young adults. At first, I was a little bit curious as to why they’d ask me. But maybe some time in the future.
You have to have discipline to write for young people, and maybe that would be a good thing. Your thoughts would have to be very clear, and I know that they don’t like to be joked around too much. You’ve got to be straight with kids, which is quite nice, too.
Overall, in terms of the project, I’m interested in the format of the three EPs. How do you see that unfolding? Are they kind of chapters of the same story? How are they connected?
Very much. We were kind of fast and loose this time; we didn’t record as an album. We didn’t record with a specific producer, we just sort of recorded it ourselves, and we recorded it in Glasgow. We were kind of sporadic about it, and so it didn’t really feel like an album. The idea, actually, was to make a bunch of great singles.
But it felt like they were pretty much connected. We sort of connected them together with this name, and I was very happy to do the artwork and make the artwork work … to be concurrent.
Where did the name come from? That’s such an interesting conceit.
It’s got a lovely rhythm to it, and it seems to me, anyway, it was kind of an artless, kind of naïve question to ask. Like it’s kind of curious — how to solve our human problems as if they’re separate from the problems of the rest of the world.
It’s the title of a Buddhist book that I’ve been studying along with a bunch of people in a class that I go to — the teacher’s always reading from How to Solve Our Human Problems, and I just thought it was a great title. And I think my mind has been severely changed in the past three and four years from going to these classes.
What’s your biggest human problem, do you think?
There are so many… Well, maybe the lack of courage. That would be a good one. I think courage is such a fine thing. It doesn’t have to be plunging into an icy river to rescue a child; it’s, I guess, everyday courage to just carry on regardless and unflinching, like so many people do.
And how do you solve that, personally?
Well, it could be a matter of faith, but then faith is a tricky thing because it doesn’t seem to come easy. How do you earn faith? It just seems to be something you’ve been given or not: whether you have faith in life, or bigger things. I think meditation will, and should, help. If you’re patient, you’ll find your courage somehow.
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