We at PopMatters have been keeping a keen eye on British electronic duo Model Man. Their stunning recent EP City Songs Pt 1 was a heartfelt, often profoundly beautiful collection of songs that wove layers of intricate electronics over piano led compositions to stunning effect. Now, the band are releasing a video for the track “Running”.
“Running” evokes mid-’90s classic house with gleaming piano notes and snippets of vocal samples all supported by a synth riff that binds the whole thing together, giving it a taut, rhythmic pulse. With each piano note acting as a breath of fresh, cool wind, slowly but surely pushing the clouds away, the sun soon breaks through as the track sails away on a wave of euphoric synths and strutting beats.
The video for the track was filmed by the band in Delhi, and features a hub for local performers and artists called “The Colony”. The video captures the lives of the magicians, acrobats, singers, dancers, musicians, and puppeteers that all live as a tight-knit group and are well known for adding color, life, and joy to the local area. What’s more, “The Colony” works to keep alive traditional Indian traditions by passing their knowledge from generation to generation. For Model Man (aka brothers Rob and Mark Brandon) its uniqueness was something they were keen to capture, as they explain in the Q+A below.
Can you tell us a bit about the video?
We were shown an article and thought it’d be a cool place to explore.
How did you hear about “The Colony”?
There are a few documentaries about it, but nothing recent. The media doesn’t cover it all that much. Best to check up in person.
Did you have an idea of what you wanted the video to be before making it?
It just had to be about this colony that refuses to stop running. Also it was just us out there. We didn’t have a big film crew or permissions. Just us and whatever cameras we could get our hands on. It’s a real documentary.
The performers and artists in the video are all exceptional talented, what was it like seeing them up close?
It was just nice to see them having such a great time doing it. That enjoyment is infectious. If you go watch a band play live and they look bored, it’s easy to get sucked into that. These guys really love what they do.
Did you pick up any tricks from them?
Maybe not any ‘tricks’, but we did pick up musically. Part of the exploration is about picking up melodies, rhythms, scales from all over.
What did you take away from the experience?
That there really is no excuse for creativity. People will make art under any circumstances. Also, go to India if you need a suit. They make good ones.
Apart from music, have you got a “party piece”?
You’d have to invite us to a party to find out.
How quickly did the songs for the EP come together?
The city songs concept came about quite quickly. Once we had travelled around collecting foley samples from the different places the songs came together.
Are you instinctual, spontaneous writers or do you prefer to meticulously plan out how parts are going to sound?
Both. Everyone is precious about different things but we don’t want to waste too much time being meticulous. You lose a lot of character that way.
Musically, what were the touchstones for you guys when making the EP?
The production in electronic music in the late ’90s/early ’00s that sounded so expansive. Aphex Twin and warp had some amazing stuff around that time. We listen to a lot of that still.
What’s your relationship like with the songs on the record now you’ve lived with them for so long?
Some of the songs we haven’t lived with for too long. But once it’s out, it’s out. Listening back will only annoy us. We’d constantly be updating ourselves like Jeff Lynn.
Is there anything you’d change about them?
Everything probably. It’s not worth opening that door.
What lessons have you learnt to take into the making of the next EP/album?
You learn what you’d want to do differently on the marketing side of things. We’ve got so many songs that we could bullshit our way into any concept/change in direction. On the music production side of things we don’t do much talking.
What’s next for you guys?
Releasing our next EP. And working out the best way to play it live.