Isolation is an interesting concept to explore in music videos. It’s a concept that artists have visited time and again. Radiohead did it really well for Just. That’s probably not what you’d first think of with that clip, but look a little deeper and you’ll see it there. But it’s not 1997 anymore, and watching a guy lie on the pavement while Thom Yorke drawls over the track doesn’t cut it anymore. It’s 2015, and what we have now is a sad blue dog floating through the dark abyss of space in Zefereli‘s clip for Withdrawals.
In space, no one can can hear you introspect. Witness the saddest dog ever go where no canine has gone before in the clip for Withdrawals from Zefereli.
For those who aren’t aware, Zefereli is none other than Alistair Richardson, frontman for Brisbane indie-rock band The Cairos. Richardson has always displayed a strong pop sensibility in his melodies and lyrics during his time with his band, and it’s something he brings to his solo project with gusto. While The Cairos gravitate to a pretty straight forward sun kissed indie-rock sensibility, Zefereli sees Richardson take a more whimsical approach to music.
It feels like it’s coming from a more relaxed place, a place where his ideas are not bound to genre or any expectations. Speaking of his solo project Richardson says “I feel like there’s has always been an abundance of extra songs laying around that somehow didn’t seem to fit or align in the past. And since I was about 15, I’ve been making songs alone, on the computer, in studios. Being in a band is a totally different end of the spectrum, you play by different rules, I really just wanted to see what would happen if I played by my own rules“.
Withdrawals is the latest single from his debut EP of the same name. Starring in the animated clip is perhaps the saddest pooch you’ll ever lay eyes on. He feels a little blue (literally) as he is confined to the couch all day watching other dogs on television doing what dogs do best. It’s a bit of a surreal experience. After all, isn’t that why we humans indulge in television, to escape whatever anger, frustrations or loneliness for a little while and imagine we’re someone else instead? Dogs are very empathic creatures after all (this clip wouldn’t work with a cat) and to see Blue’s eyes bulge with depression is actually quite sad.
Richardson wasn’t alone in making the clip, enlisting the help of Anasiou Canaris and Ben Russell. “My friend Anasiou Canaris (Owner / Operator of Visual Valley) who edited the first alien video suggested we work with an illustrator friend of his Ben Russell (at Branch Collective) he says. “I had the idea of a lonely blue Zefereli dog watching TV finding himself in space in search of a blue planet to which he could belong, and then together we nutted out the story. Those guys had such a short turnaround and what they produced was awesome!”
He dreams of the moon, itself a place enveloped in solitude, but still one to him that is better than his neglected life on Earth. The clip is pretty cleanly animated, the style reminiscent of the cartoons Nickelodeon used to air, like Angry Beavers and Rocco’s Modern Life. As Blue floats through space with such longing in his eyes you can’t help but feel sorry for him, his lonely journey aptly bringing the themes of the song to life.
Zefereli will be hitting the road this month touring with Gang of Youths which is kicking off this week, as well as playing Sounds of the Suburbs in Cronulla and Memory Lane in Port Macquarie.