Icy Swedish electronic band Múm have shared a video for “Slow Down,” a track off of their 2013 album Smilewound. The video is an experimental, impressionistic look at the opposing forces of “elemental man” and “elemental woman,” which is what directors F.D. Cristian and Elma Dögg Steingrímsdóttir call the two main characters that appear. “Essentially what we ended up with was a man and a woman each caught in a netherworld, each seeking warmth, surrounding an urban interior scene of people who are a little bored, distracted and maybe looking for some meaning in stories and music,” they explained to The Reykjavík Grapevine. Watch below.
The concept for the video evolved from a photo shoot the band did in Hólavallagarður, and we thought we would try to build a sort of otherworldly feel out of it. We had initially thought to base it on a ghost murder story theme from Morðin á Sjöundá, but laying all of that into a five minute sequence was too much of a play-act.
The main idea that emerged from our initial discussion at Fríkirkjan was that Samuli (the drummer) should be naked and covered in dirt, and we had to shoot him alone since he was flying to Finland the following day. So we shot what we called the ‘elemental man’ scenes with him on that cold November day in the graveyard, we did it quietly and kept him out of sight for the most part, as we wanted to be ultra-cautious in order to respect the surroundings.
We decided impromptu to shoot the ‘elemental woman’ (Gyða) out at Nesjavallaleið the following day, and we hadn’t appreciated just how bitter cold it was going to be out there. And the urban scenes were shot at the prototypical home of a Reykjavík City council member. Essentially what we ended up with was a man and a woman each caught in a netherworld, each seeking warmth, surrounding an urban interior scene of people who are a little bored, distracted and maybe looking for some meaning in stories and music.
Our directors have mostly film backgrounds and built in lots of layers of obscure literary and film allusions (Vertigo, Persona, the books, etc). But like life, in the end it’s just kind of random, has only the meaning you ascribe to it, and it all gets washed away in the end.
-F.D. Cristian and Elma Dögg Steingrímsdóttir
Smilewound is out now via Moor Music.