“I wanted to explore a trashy, playful, US motel aesthetic, like Patricia Arquette in True Romance,” says London-born Natasha Khan, better known as Mercury nominated singer-songwriter Bat For Lashes, of shooting YMC-styled fashion film Under the Indigo Moon in LA. The sepia-coated, sun-kissed road trip was shot on 16mm and sees the baroque-pop chanteuse driving along the snaking Sunset Boulevard with her LA-based buddy, former Devendra Banhart drummer Gregory Rogove. Khan was raised on a diet of Kate Bush and Tori Amos, whose soft-focus influence courses through the short’s soundtrack that was created over an afternoon in a Cali studio with Beck. “I have loved Beck for years,” she says. “We started working together about three years ago; I stayed with him for three weeks, and we jammed out and generated a lot of material. He’s got loads of weird dulcimers, amazing drum machines and really obscure instruments that make wonderful sounds.” The clip was produced by Lana Del Rey collaborator Neil Krug and heralds Khan’s foray into filmmaking, a hobby she plans to turn into a long-term pursuit.
Would you ever consider making a full-length film?
Natasha Khan: I’m writing a screenplay for a short for FilmFour. It’s a really dark, gritty, family based drama, with hints of magic realism. We’re going into pre-production soon with a view to make it into a feature-length film in the next couple of years. I’ve got some things up my sleeve with my producer Dan Carey, so I want it to be a music and visual collaboration. I’m going to illustration classes at the moment, and I’ve got a huge desire to tell stories through film and paintings rather than just music, so Bat For Lashes is on hold for the meanwhile.
Are there any lynchpin directors you can pinpoint as influential?
NK: Funnily enough, David Lynch was a lynchpin! In my early 20s, I was obsessed with Eraserhead, Wild At Heart, The Elephant Man, Twin Peaks and Blue Velvet. I used to go to midnight screenings in Brighton, seeing films by Roman Polanski, Gregg Araki, Ingmar Bergman, Lars Von Trier... I could go on forever.
In terms of music, who are the artists that you look up to?
NK: I’ve always loved how artists like Patti Smith and PJ Harvey explore popular portrayals of the female form. When I was a teenager, I saw a picture of PJ in a big, padded bra that she wasn’t filling out, I know that she was trying to present something outside of the norm: a nakedness not meant for the male gaze.