The Breeders and Richard Ayoade Premiere “Spacewoman”
Kim Deal has some thoughts on the Breeders’ new music video for their song “Spacewoman.”
“I’ve been jotting down some notes this morning and I laid out what I believe the video means — and I didn’t smoke a joint!” she announces on a call with TIDAL and the video’s director, actor-writer-director-comedian Richard Ayoade. Ayoade is all too happy to hear said thoughts.
“I think it’s a sci-fi thriller — sort of the soul of a Harlan Ellison,” Deal says, referring to the recently deceased speculative fiction writer. “In everything he did, it’s always a disappointment for humanity, isn’t it? Humanity isn’t worthy to save, really. There’s always a tinge of: ‘Yeah, it’s really sad for the humans, but then they’re kind of not that cool anyway, so whatever really befalls them they sort of deserve.’”
“Spacewoman” comes off the Breeders’ first record in 10 years, All Nerve, which came out in March via 4AD. TIDAL partnered with the band to fund the video, which is premiering exclusively today on TIDAL.
The video certainly boasts more than a touch of doom: it depicts Deal, clad in a kind of HAZMAT space suit, dashing through a wooded landscape that Ayoade reveals is an abandoned fort in Kent, England. She runs past a crippled Jim Macpherson, still trying to drum as he crawls on the ground, and Josephine Wiggs, hanging from a tree, impaled by her bass. Finally, Deal finds her sister and band mate, Kelly Deal, standing on the edge of a cliff, staring into a ring of light with her guitar in hand.
“Kelly is physically still intact, but mentally, she’s gone,” Deal says. “She’s staring at the abyss. What is it? Is it another dimension? Whatever it is has taken over her mind.”
Ayoade, for his part, is cagey about the meaning of the video. “I liked the idea of having someone in a space outfit walking around something that looks quite natural and not terribly spacey. So there’s some dissonance,” he says. “And then it’s, ‘OK, why is she in the middle of this wood?’ I like things that are futuristic but are set in a quite ordinary location.”
The result is an eerie, gorgeous short story of a music video — the slickest Deal says the band has ever done. Ayoade says that it was shot on 35mm film and features special effects by Framestore, of Guardians of the Galaxy (and myriad other films) fame. He tapped his own industry connections for the production, and brought years of experience as a director and performer into the mix — he’s also directed videos for the likes of the Arctic Monkeys and Vampire Weekend.
“I’ve done music videos through the ‘90s when music videos were music videos and I don’t think I’ve ever worked on a set that had such high caliber, real movie people on set,” Deal says. “That was exciting.”
Although Ayoade hadn’t made a music video in around 10 years (if you take a look at his credits, he’s been a bit busy), he was happy to work with Deal and Co. on “Spacewoman.” He’s been a fan of the Breeders since he was around 13, when he traveled from his home in Ipswich to London to get the band’s first album, Pod, when it came out in 1990.
“It was almost frightening as a record, in a way,” he recalls. “I had never heard anything like it. It seemed so individual. It’s pretty hard to do a cover of a Beatles song that’s better than the Beatles, but I’d say [the Breeders’ ‘Happiness is a Warm Gun’] is better than the Beatles’.”
According to Ayoade, he loves everything that the Breeders have done, which now includes, fortuitously, this incredible video. Take a look below:
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