The Britpop Legend Directs an Aquatic Dance in the Dark for Serafina Steer
A synchronized underwater ballet unfolds in this Jarvis Cocker-helmed video for harpist and singer Serafina Steer’s ethereal new single, “Night Before Mutiny”. Recorded in twilight at London Fields Lido, the surreal visuals show a doomed flotilla of paper boats hovering on the surface of the outdoor pool’s misty waters, as swimmers Asha Randall and Olivia Federici, both members of the UK’s Olympic team and known as Aquabatix, slow-dance to Steer’s lament, sung over the sounds of a harp, a string quartet and a Victorian wind machine. Legendary Pulp frontman and solo artist Cocker both conceived of the video and produced Steer’s upcoming third album, The Moths Are Real. Marking his music production debut, he also appears on the record alongside a stellar cast of musicians including Polar Bear drummer Seb Rochford, Pulp bassist Steve Mackey and The Flying Lizards keyboardist David Cunningham. Steer’s melancholic compositions and stories evoke the tall tales and tragedies of a distant place and time. “There’s a song about a whore called Serafina, an old sea shanty,” Steer explains of the inspiration behind “Night Before Mutiny”. “It’s a bawdy song, from the point of view of this sailor, and it’s quite rude about her.”
The Moths Are Real will be released by Stolen Recordings on January 14, 2013. “Night Before Mutiny” will launch this Monday, November 12, at ATP Presents at the Sebright Arms, London.
The Pop Veteran and the Budding Songstress Discuss Their Debut Project
To produce her upcoming third album, The Moths Are Real, singer and harpist Serafina Steer enlisted the help of Jarvis Cocker—a collaboration so fruitful that he stepped in to direct the otherworldly, synchronized swimming-inspired video for her single, "Night Before Mutiny". Here they talk about Coltrane and YouTube, on the occasion of the film’s exclusive NOWNESS premiere.
Serafina Steer: When I asked you to produce my record, I’d heard that Alice Coltrane, in meditation, asked Stravinsky and John Coltrane whether she could arrange some of their music, and they said yes. I was thinking about her a lot and thought, ‘I’ll ask Jarvis.’
Jarvis Cocker: I never thought I would produce a record. I thought it would be one of my definitions of hell: having to listen to somebody else’s music over and over again!
SS: Did you regret it?
JC: Well, what I liked was that your songs didn’t follow a conventional structure, whereas I’m very conventional when I write songs. I didn’t want to trample all over that. I suppose the role of the producer is quite nebulous—and my definition would be in some way helping to put your ideas into action. I just thought that I could help define them in some way.
SS: You spoke about the “landscape” of the record once.
JC: I was considering drawing a picture—but I can’t draw. I used to make Pulp’s videos back in the olden days, because I went to Central Saint Martins’ Fine Art and Film course. When Warp Records in Sheffield started out I made some for them, basically because I was cheap. I also made a video for a group called Slipstream, but luckily that one isn’t even on YouTube so I can’t get too embarrassed about it.
SS: I bet we can find it!
The Rising Chinese Designer Shares His Visual Diary of London Collections: Men
Taking in fittings and model castings, backstage show-day chaos, and the wonders of Soho and Shoreditch nightlife, celebrated young Chinese designer Xander Zhou documents his intimate experience of debuting at the inaugural London Collections: Men. Exhibiting his minimalist take on menswear in the capital for the first time, the Beijing-based aesthete moved into the illustrious St. Martins Lane Hotel a month before fashion week and set up a temporary studio in the West End to finish the preparations. The designer has shown 11 collections in China, launched his eponymous label in 2007 and has dressed leading celebrities like actresses Zhou Xun, Fan Bingbing, actor Chen Kun and Edison Chen. Zhou closed the Friday evening of London Collections: Men with Fleurdelism—his spring/summer collection of deconstructed silk suits and paneled satin T-shirts, inspired by boy scouts and lilies. “Design is an international language; it doesn’t matter where you’re from, it matters what you do,” he explains. “My generation’s background is very complicated—I was born in China, I studied in the Netherlands, I came back to China again. I travel a lot so I’ve seen many things, and I think this generation of Chinese young people is more confident to share its ideas with the world.”
Check out Facebook for our exclusive Q&A with Xander Zhou on Boy Scouts, futuristic fabric and the inspiration behind his collection.