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July 25, 2014

We Are Shining: Hot Love

Going Rogue on the Streets of London With Model-of-the-Moment Adwoa Aboah

Freckled beauty Adwoa Aboah loses herself to the beat-scattered, gospel blues of We Are Shining in their video for new single "Hot Love," directed by Simon Cahn. The London-based outfit made up of Morgan Zarate and Acyde, garnered attention with an early release on Young Turks (as The Shining), while their recent collaboration with breakout singer-songwriter Eliza Doolittle, “Killing,” made waves with a flinch-inducing viral video capturing a dancer seemingly unaware of throwing knives narrowly missing her head. "There's a lot of experimental Afro, Latin and European music from the late 1960s to 1980s," Zarate and Acyde say of their current playlists. "In terms of production it's about putting yourself in another world and getting the music to sound like that place." Following a cosmic mix tape, Devileyes, today's ecstatic video by the Parisian filmmaker comes ahead of their debut album out later this year on Marathon Artists. Its free-spirited protagonist Aboah, who has fronted campaigns for H&M and Henry Holland and is the daughter of Camilla Lowther and Charles Aboah, makes the ultimate muse. "I wanted her to be almost like Juliette Binoche in Lovers on the Bridge, which isn’t an easy thing to pull off," says Cahn.

"Hot Love" is released on Marathon Artists on September 8.

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Anna Calvi: Memory

The Mercury-Nominated Artist Delves Into the Mindbending Roots of Her Music

“Memories always change,” says Anglo-Italian singer-songwriter Anna Calvi of the inspiration behind her second album, One Breath. “The fact that they fade is sad but healing, and something I wanted to explore.” Swiss filmmaker Karim Huu Do’s lyrical short unpicks Calvi’s beginnings as a musician as she visits the wine-soaked haunts and rural edgelands of Clermont-Ferrand during her recent spate of concerts in France. “I enjoy touring, taking my guitar around and playing to people every night,” says Calvi on the eve of a European jaunt that starts with a Dublin show on February 1. “It feels like a trade, which I like.” The ferocious intensity of the London-born singer’s voice and guitar and the boldness of her Spanish matador-inspired stage style has attracted the attention of Gucci’s Frida Giannini, who designed outfits for her 2011 American tour, and Karl Lagerfeld, who photographed her for Maison Michel’s fall/winter campaign in the same year. Her role of rock pin-up and fashion muse contrasts with her decidedly more introspective everyday persona. “Music gives me a space in which I can be more courageous,” she says of the discrepancy. “There are not that many places in life where you can find a similar kind of strength and fearlessness.” 

Anna Calvi's One Breath is available now on Domino. 

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Emilíana Torrini: Tookah

The Elfin Icelandic Singer Gets a CGI Makeover by Shynola

The computer-generated portrait of ethereal singer-songwriter Emilíana Torrini floats and multiplies in the experimental video for her standout track “Tookah”, directed by pioneering British visual artist trio Shynola, aka Richard Kenworthy, Chris Harding and Jason Groves. “I loved the idea of being a creepy mermaid singing and luring the viewer into the dark,” muses Torrini, who has been nominated for four honors at this February’s Icelandic Music Awards. “To be honest if they said the idea was me playing a unicorn dancing on a rainbow, along with some gummy bears, I would have done it. I’m just glad it wasn't that.” “Tookah” comes from the album of the same name; the word was invented by Torrini to describe a subtle kind of emotional state or inner inspiration. “Happiness and love were things that always hijacked me but Tookah is something gentler, like a whisper,” she says. “It is gentle and breezy and peaceful with bags of humor.” NOWNESS spoke to Shynola, who have made videos for U.N.K.L.E, Blur and Radiohead and recently short film Dr. Easy for Warp, about this latest collaboration.

What was your inspiration behind Emilíana’s siren-like floating head?
We’re fascinated by the idea of the ‘uncanny valley’ [when a computer generated image looks like a person, but not quite]. There’s something unsettling about it, yet you cannot take your eyes off it. This led us to cast Emilíana as some sort of mysterious CGI siren. Our hope is that you think it is both pretty and weird at the same time.

Did you take your visual cues from the music?
That’s always the guiding force behind every music video we make. It’s our job to make visuals that intertwine with the music, hopefully in unexpected ways. Quite often you see music videos where you could replace the sound to no discernible difference. To us that is a failure.

What’s it like working with Emilíana?
Singers often have a twinkle in their eye that’s hard to define and Emilíana certainly has that. A singing CGI model of their own head would freak most people out. She was more amazed than repulsed, thankfully.

Tookah is out now on Rough Trade.

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