James Kelly is the frontman of cerebral black metal group Altar Of Plagues, who recently debuted his new electronic project WIFE. We've already seen the ritualistic video for 'Bodies' in which he caresses antlers and gorges on a fresh peach, and today Dazed Digital premieres 'Trials', the second video from his forthcoming Stoic EP (Left Blank). Kelly used his own footage of sea anemones to create the video's vaguely menacing ambiance, as Stephen Lordan sings and bellows "A trial is not an act of…/ The guilt is not an act of…" amongst rumbling bass and warm synth static. It all bodes incredibly well for his debut album, to be released in 2013 by the esteemed Tri Angle Records. We caught up with Kelly to find out more about the mesmerising video.
Dazed Digital: How did you first conceptualise the video? James Kelly: It came together quite naturally. I tend to record a lot of videos, which I then archive. When I decided to create a visual accompaniment to the music, I knew instinctively which material would fit.
DD: Did you make this yourself or with collaborators? James Kelly: I made it on my own, whereas the 'Bodies' video was a collaborative effort with Stephen Lordan (artist/musician) and Patrick O' Mahony (producer/director) . Some of the footage in 'Trials' is a few years old now. In my final year of university I studied the feeding biology of a particular species of sea anemone. I kept a tank of about 80 of these creatures which I collected from the coast. The experiments involved a lot filming and I wound up having all this footage that I really liked but could never find an appropriate use for.
DD: Was your intention to make a companion piece to the song? James Kelly: When actually compiling the footage, yes it was. But without sounding too arsey, I consider this as more of a visual collage than a video piece with an explicit purpose. The collage does form a narrative, but when using footage that was not recorded to purpose (such as the footage for 'Bodies') the results are more difficult to dictate, which for me makes the process more interesting.
DD: Did you aim to present nature in a quasi-threatening way? James Kelly: That aspect is unintentional, but also inherent to some of the footage. There is something violent about the behaviour of the sea anemones I recorded, despite their sedentary nature.