premiere: light, darkness, sex & death permeate punk rockers pleasure venom’s visceral video for “these days”
By Nathan Leigh
August 3, 2018
Pleasure Venom frontwoman Audrey Campbell is known as much for her singing as for her music videos, so it’s no surprise that the latest single from the band is ambitious as all getout. It’s a dual format video for “These Days,” first as a traditional video and second in 360 degree stereoscopic VR. The traditional format finds the band performing in an empty field with gas cans burning, interspersed with riot footage and vintage Soul Train dance clips. It’s a jarring series of contrasts, that heightens the tension at the heart of Pleasure Venom’s music. Flash cuts highlight the tension between celebration and rage.
The VR version is a profound technical achievement, though it scales back the ambitious imagery and editing by nature of the format. With a camera placed in the middle of the field, band members swirl around you. You control the camera as Campbell moves throughout the rest of the band. It’s visceral in a different way than the heightened editing of the traditional version; instead of being presented with a series of radical contrasts, you’re in charge of your experience. Though I wasn’t able to view it on a VR device (the only phones I will use are made by Nokia, are indestructible, and come with snake. End of story.), even on a laptop screen there’s something unexpectedly exciting about playing the role of camera person in a video. It’s immersive in a way that’s entirely unique.
For Audrey Campbell, those contrasts are the heart of the song: “When I wrote the song, I was feeling very great and very shit at the same time. I wanted to play with that paranoiac state visually and see what happened. At the time I was falling for someone, which always feels amazing, yet I was also coming out of a pretty dark time and situation. I consider it a study on light and dark, sex and death. Fire and more fire. Beautiful and ugly shit. The contrast of isolating ourselves and putting on your finest coat to dance on a car and just let loose and push through the bullshit, but the feeling of sugarcoating things should be evident. It’s a lot more colorful and fun to look at than anything I’ve done so far, yet my politics always tend to seep through. I’m hoping the tiki torch in the beginning will not go over everyone’s heads. That “Alt-Right” march was so ridiculous. Can’t believe this is what we have come to.”
Check out the traditional cut above and the VR version below.
Photo by Victoria Renard
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