It’s a pretty great thing when an artist takes their ‘thing’ and branches out, expanding it into a multidimensional [thing]. It’s even better when the artist can show us the process behind it, involving the viewer and creating a community around their art-making process.
Tom Lee-Richards is all over this. His clip for his brand new single The Wearing Kind is a conceptual gem; a multidimensional project that incorporates his music with film, dance and choreography in a very communal way – and it’s kinda special.
The Wearing Kind Project has intrigued Melbourne folk for the past few months. Now Tom Lee-Richards has all the answers as he premieres his brand new clip for The Wearing Kind.
The video examines a little piece of marketing genius. At the start of the year, Tom Lee-Richards began promoting his new single under the title of ‘The Wearing King Project’, where Tom would perform in various street locations around Melbourne, not alone, but seemingly as a conductor for a group of dancers, his music acting as their stimulus.
Speaking of how the concept first came to mind Tom says “The song is about the tension created when disconnecting from people we are uncomfortable with. The way we relate to each other in a busy street is pretty funny and I thought it would be cool to capture the way the public reacts to a random wall “.
Let’s start with the track itself. The Wearing Kind is Lee-Richard’s first single. His voice is like a hybrid of Erlend Øye (aka The Whitest Boy Alive) and Antony Hegarty (of Antony and The Johnsons): rich and masculine yet soft, and delicate. He performs with just his guitar, a soft plucked Stratocaster, enveloped in warm instrumentation; subtle synths and thudding folk-inspired percussion. It’s all very therapeutic, slow and jazzy – and it seems like a video that focused on dancing was the only option to go for.
A few months ago a teaser popped up on YouTube. It follows the process around the creation of the clip; the choreography of the dancers by Gregory Larenzutti, a Brazilian choreographer who is part of the Chunky Move dance company, and Lee-Richards himself, strumming his guitar in dance studios and alleyways around Melbourne.
Reflecting on the process Tom says “Gregory is an extremely talented, driven character who interpreted my song and concept with true vision. The project was equally stressful and exciting dealing with the ever-changing scenarios of safety management and ownership in public space but we had incredible moments every time. Not only was it amazing to see my song interpreted through dance in front of me, but also the personality that each dancer put into it.”
The production is big, especially by today’s music video production standards, with lighting structures and props being utilised for full effect. Beautifully shot, it shows Lee-Richards, clad in a beige shirt and maroon pants, his scruffy beard and long hair bathed in afternoon sunlight, playing alone in public spaces around the Melbourne CBD. The dancers slowly curl and prance around him, often holding blurred window frames in front of their bodies and faces, as curious bystanders look on.