Bill Fay – “This World” Video (Stereogum Premiere)

Last week, the British singer-songwriter Bill Fay broke a 40-year silence and released his new album Life Is People. Califone frontman Tim Rutili directed the video for Fay’s Jeff Tweedy duet “This World,” and in the clip, we see the faces of different people — one of whom is Jesus Lizard frontman David Yow — with different scenes projected on them. Watch the video and read what Rutili has to say about it below.

Here’s what Rutili writes:

I loved Bill Fay’s music the very first time I heard it. The timeless sounds, words and melodies always rang true for me. It is totally humanistic music. Compassionate, comforting, beautiful and necessary.

When I heard “Life is People” for the first time it immediately stuck to me like songs that had always been there. It hit me in the same way Bill’s older records hit me.

You can only get away with this kind of clarity in music if you’ve truly experienced life. John Lennon’s Plastic Ono band record still hits me in the same way. It’s naked and true music that is so personal that it’s a little scary and at the same time universal- Totally humanistic music.

Thinking about making images for this music triggered faces and memory. It made me want to stare into a stranger’s eyes.

We started by shooting super8 film and edited the images into 4 reels-
earth-(traffic, the news, grass, buildings, mountains),
air-(clouds and flight),
water-(beaches and tides)
fire-(fireworks at a carnival)

Next, we invited a few friends and posted an add on craigslist saying we were shooting a video and needed people to sit for portraits. About 40 people showed up. mostly strangers. We didn’t let anyone hear the song.

We brought the people into a white room one at a time and had them sit in a chair for 5 to 10 minutes while we shot HD video of the super 8 film projected onto their faces. I asked some people questions about their first very first memory from childhood. I heard great stories and it helped people to relax in front of the camera.

Some of it looks like memory to me. Some of the people look like they’re looking into a mirror. Some of the people look like they’re dreaming. It was a great experience.

Life Is People is out now on Dead Oceans.