Mississippi-born Mikky Ekko (real name: John Sudduth) grew up with country in his blood, and it shows in every mournful turn of his debut single, 'Pull Me Down'. An elegy to a "Virgo" who has his heart, it's a song about the irresistible dragging effect that love can have. With production from Clams Casino (A$AP Rocky, Tri Angle), the track becomes something quite extraordinary when layered with his signature looped samples and distant-sounding elysium beats. Today, Dazed Digital exclusively premieres the mesmerising video for 'Pull Me Down' directed by Davy Evans, who recently made visuals for each track on The XX's album 'Coexist'. In the abstract clip, a spore-like landscape unfurls itself, at times it resembling oil on water, amphibious creatures, and then jutting volcanic landscapes. Ultimately though, it defies interpretation. We caught up with Mikky to find out more about the extraordinary clip.
Dazed Digital: How was the video initially conceptualised and made?
Mikky Ekko: I saw Davy Evans' work on The XX's 'Angels' and I immediately reached out. I felt his ability to create intense and magnified microcosms was really important for 'Pull Me Down'. Initially I wanted him to create a world based on the sound of the track. Clams and I did a ton of sampling and sound manipulation in 'Pull Me Down' and I felt the emotion was more important than the literal instrumentation. Likewise, I felt Davy and I should capture the feelings and make them worlds. I think I left it at something like "I'd love more scene changes than what I've seen of The XX videos, and I'd love to go in and out of a few worlds representing the different sonic scenes and feelings." He got exactly what I meant.
DD: Was it important to you to make the video abstract?
Mikky Ekko: I remember thinking that personifying the song felt like a mistake. I really wanted to downplay the sexuality of the song and move it into a reflective place, bringing the chemistry to life in its own series of worlds. I wanted to see the internal chaos and peace, loneliness and violence, and I think Davy did an amazing job of capturing those feelings which gives the song an immersive visual quality.
DD: Who's the Virgo that the song talks about?
Mikky Ekko: My wife! She's a babe and my best friend and we've been through some really crazy times together. We're both pretty wild, and I think being wild allows each of us to see past most of the abrasive crap and get to know the person behind the drama. For me, saying "Virgo" makes the song more personal, and hopefully more people connect with it because of that. I mean, doesn't every great woman deserve a shout out? I say yes.
DD: You're supporting Jessie Ware on tour in March. What's your favourite song of hers?
Mikky Ekko: It's tough for me to pin down any one tune. The production on her album definitely suits my taste, which probably makes it tougher to nail down a fave. At the end, though, the one I keep going back to is 'No To Love'. I love song titles that lead me on, and that "ahh alright…" moment when the lyric flips. I think the vocal production in this one is stellar, too. The song feels tough and empowering, but gentle. It's rare you get that in a song. I love that she keeps love feeling mysterious.
Follow Owen Myers on Twitter here: @Owen_Myers