Lee DeWyze‘s “Castles” is a song about the past. Keenly written with reflective guitar tones and meditative rhythms that feel redolent of childlike innocence, it offers listeners a window back to memories and feelings thought long gone. It’s the titular song from DeWyze’s forthcoming Castles EP, releasing on 25 October. Speaking with PopMatters, he explains the process behind its development and why it felt sensible to name the album after it as opposed to the other tracks present; “Night and Day” and “We Were Alive”.
“I’ve noticed over the past two weeks that, after I’ve listened to it more and more, I’ve found that everything is very self-reflective. Even the way the song feels takes you to a nostalgic place,” says DeWyze. “When I listen to it, it’s almost like turning on an old movie reel and looking back on life. It all feels very aware. ‘Night and Day’ is the present, ‘We Were Alive’ is the future, and ‘Castles’ is the past. It felt like the appropriate song to name the EP after.”
“I wanted people to feel emotional watching it, but also to enjoy it for what it is. A big inspiration came from talking with my wife one day about being at her grandmother’s house and her telling me about how they’d be playing in the trees. It made me think that ‘When you’re a kid, it’s not a treehouse. It’s a castle.”
For the song’s music video, DeWyze reached out to Seen Film’s Stefano Bertelli and Riccardo Orlandi to create it. With DeWyze’s assistance in art direction, Seen Film developed a wistful stop-motion paper-craft world to communicate “Castles” in visual form. DeWyze recalls, “I kind-of put a look-book together. I got colors that I liked, feelings that I liked, and imagery that I liked and put them all together for Seen Film to look over. A good inspiration for it was Where the Wild Things Are. I wanted that feeling of being comfortably uncomfortable.”
“The goal of the video and the song is to take you to childhood moments and relieve them emotionally. Seen Film did such an amazing job capturing what ‘Castles’ is that it’s kind of unbelievable. From the beginning, I wanted something that I would make people feel a certain way. When I saw it for the first time, I was blown away.”
“‘Castles’ is a bittersweet thing. When people grow older, I think they know that the truth is that they can never feel exactly how they felt in these memories again. That feeling that your worries were so small and the world was so big and exciting. It still is, but when you’re younger, it feels like the world cares so much about it. When you get older, you realize that you’re not the only fish in the pond and that it’s up to you to get by. I think everyone longs to have those feelings again. They long to feel that naive and free-spirited again—where, for some reason, everything seems to be okay in the end.”