Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij just announced his departure from the band, and Ezra Koenig and Chris Tomson are off campaigning for Bernie Sanders. Meanwhile, bassist Chris Baio is off on his own. He’s been making twinkly dance music under his last name for a few years, and last year, he released The Names, his first full-length. Today, he’s got a new video for the title track, which he directed himself, filming it in London, where he lives now. Baio says that the video serves, “in a roundabout way,” as a David Bowie tribute. It’s a crisp, sparkly, enjoyable video, and it shows Baio spending a cloudy day wandering through the city, wearing a white dinner jacket and carrying a human skull. Check it out and read some words about it from Baio below.
Last fall the image of a man walking around in a dinner jacket while holding a medical skull popped into my head. Why? Beats me! Your mind can take you to weird places. I’d wanted to take a stab at directing a music video for a while and thought “The Names” would be my chance.
I’ve lived in London for the past two and a half years and one thing I love about it is the green space. There’s so much of it. Crystal Palace Park in south London is the weirdest park I’ve ever been to with its huge dinosaur and gorilla statues. I thought it’d be the sort of place a man in a dinner jacket with a medical skull would hang out.
We also filmed in The George Tavern, a great pub in Shadwell. They told me Nick Cave’s performed there. I think that’s pretty cool!
On New Years Day, while I was nursing my hangover, I watched David Bowie’s Serious Moonlight tour film. In the performance of “Cracked Actor” he holds a skull that starts singing along. I had already finished editing this video but was really thrilled by the coincidence. In a roundabout way “The Names” is my tribute to David Bowie, my favorite artist of all time.
The Names is out now on Glassnote.