Scott Coffey put together a pretty excellent (highly NSFW) video for Handsome Furs’ “What About Us.” Coffey, who’s clearly drawn to couplings, previously directed Wolf Parade’s cosmonaut romance “Yulia” and the Furs’ zombified “I’m Confused” videos. He’s also an actor who appeared in Mullhulland Drive and Inland Empire, etc. Make sense: You get a cinematic, strange, grubby, apocalyptic feel in this clip, one that features a number of beautiful shots and colors, an eerie atmosphere, male/female nudity, dry humping, and some humping of the wetter sort. We asked Coffey a few questions about it so you could get a sense of the concepts before diving into the world he concocted. Here:

STEREOGUM: How does the video tie into Sound Kapital’s cover art? Did you have anything to do with that photo?

SCOTT COFFEY: I conceived the cover photograph. With the exception of the wonderful Chinese water park shots, the photo art was conceived by me during our video shoot — the cover shot, the back cover of the Furs in the car with the creeping hand, the freeway and night shots where all taken as I made the video. Alexei and Dan chose that great shot of the naked woman on the car for the cover, but I didn’t now that was going to be the cover when I shot it. I liked the idea of the album art and video being integrated. I like the idea of a unified vibe and theme for the album art and video. Sort of like the modern version of a 1970′s concept album.

STEREOGUM: Where did you shoot the clip?

SC: It was all shot in Portland, Oregon in the cold and rain. But that’s good for nipple boners.

STEREOGUM: What’s the video’s overall concept? It’s suggestive, but mysterious. Is the plot specific to “What About Us” or the album as a whole?

SC: I love this record. There is an amazing haunting and yearning quality to all the Handsome Furs songs, but they’re hopeful and full of heart at the same time. Dan Boeckner’s voice, to me, is full of mourn and yearning for freedom. So I was thinking about the entire record a lot when I was making the video. This song seemed to really sum up the themes of the record. Now what do we do in a ruined world? We can fuck and dance, but what do we do when we’re all danced and fucked out? Hold onto each other! Maybe that’s how we can start to save ourselves. I’m not a hippie, I swear. But I think the record is dripping in empathy and questioning freedom and feeling … and I hope I captured some of that in the video. I wanted it to feel narrative but work with the logic of a dream.

STEREOGUM: It’s interesting: Because videos don’t need to rely on MTV at this point, folks can really push concepts further and further without worrying about airplay.

SC: I’m totally fascinated with this. Censorship seems especially arcane and absurd. We’re surrounded by this constant orgy of commercial logos and draconian copyright laws, but a naked body is dirty and somehow threatening and offensive — that’s obscene. We’re a nation of prudes conversely wallowing in pornography. I wanted to make the diametric opposite of porn. What is that? Intimacy. I think. Real feeling. We live in a world where that seems transgressive now. That’s really, ultimately, what this video and record is about to me. That’s fucked. Let’s fuck.

OK.

Sound Kapital is out via Sub Pop.

Comments (5)
  1. The turnaround in the song, about halfway through, is so damn good.

  2. Wow. Now THAT’S a video. I love it. Wonder if the whole record is as good as this song.

  3. Some parts of the video (especially where the girl in the fur is looking at a photograph of herself in the same outift) did very Lynch which is no coincidence after reading the interview. The interview itself, albeit short, is refreshing.

    His two points are pretty spot-on and give the video some meaningful context.
    “Now what do we do in a ruined world? We can fuck and dance, but what do we do when we’re all danced and fucked out?”

    “We’re a nation of prudes conversely wallowing in pornography. I wanted to make the diametric opposite of porn. What is that? Intimacy. I think.”

    Some solid yearning in Dan’s vocals too. I’m diggin’

  4. It’s a pretty damn good video. It’s more impressive than the overall album. Check out our Handsome Furs – Sound Kapital Review.

  5. Not that any of what the director wanted was in the song to boot, but it sounds like your typical indie artist thing to say, that he was standing outside of the mainstream and this work is about true feelings and authenticity, when the video itself looks like a fashion commercial. And greenlit shots of mouths and people fucking isn’t intimacy either.

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