The experimental pop band discuss their ‘Beyond Black Suns’ video, directed by Angelo Pennetta and featuring Taiwanese pop singer Scintii
Strobe lights, smoke, a pink neon room, clay masks, and a drum kit that rises out of a pyramid of flowers are some of the images that appear in These New Puritans’ new video. “Beyond Black Suns” appeared on the experimental pop band’s fourth album, Inside the Rose, released earlier this year, and features the voice of Taiwanese vocalist Scintii. It is, in the words of These New Puritans’ Jack Barnett, a song that’s “against apathy”. “It’s optimism in the age of the bored, in a personal way, trying to fight and float above the general onslaught of shit that is 2019,” he adds. “Every syllable of Scintii’s vocal was recorded individually, separately, to give it a strange momentum, like she’s in another world.”
“Songs are like spells sometimes,” says Scintii, real name Stella Chung. “I’m not sure what the song means to These New Puritans personally, but in a strange way, I feel that my part resonates with some changes in real life since my first encounter with it. It was really unexpected when the band first reached out to me. It was a great experience recording with them, sending the song back and forth and later touring Europe with them and now the video. It’s something I feel very lucky to be part of.”
“Working with Stella was massive,” says George Barnett, Jack’s partner in These New Puritans and his twin brother, of working with Scintii. “I think she’s gonna be 2020’s Britney Spears. Everything she does is directly from her bloodstream – it’s intimate, fragile, and intensely brilliant. The purity and fragility in her voice is more real than most singers. Everything sounds like it’s being sung for the first time. In the pub, after we filmed the video, she played us a new song that I think is going to blow up.”
Its music video, which carries a seizure warning, was directed by fashion photographer and filmmaker Angelo Pennetta. “His approach is no bullshit, no pretence, just direct beautiful imagery,” says George. “He has such conviction.”
“We’ve always wanted to build a pyramid of flowers for a drumkit, but we’ve only just got the right connections in the flower world,” says Jack.
“We worked with a great line-up,” adds George. “The sets were extraordinary. Jabez Bartlett made a one-third-size dystopian flooding model village, a pink neon room that fills with smoke and a pyramid of flowers. It’s something I had experimented with in our live performance, but it was taken to the next level – it half felt like we were making the next Les Amants du Pont-Neuf. We are all wearing Hedi Slimane’s Celine; it’s nice to be back in his armour for this video.”
Speaking to Dazed in a profile earlier this year, Jack Barnett described Inside the Rose as an album that embraces the extremes of These New Puritans’ music. “The stuff that’s pop is more accessible and the stuff that’s more strange or experimental is even more like that, but they coexist at the same time,” he said.
These New Puritans will play a one-off show, which they’re calling “The Blue Door”, at London’s Barbican on February 23 next year. The band will premiere new music and perform reinterpretations of their back catalogue with an expanded line-up, industrial stage design, and video art from George and Angelo Pennetta, as well as frequent collaborators Harley Weir and Daniel Askill.
Watch the video for “Beyond Black Suns” below.
Angelo Pennetta is represented by Art Partner