Photo: Nichole Fusca

Rush Week Explores Unconventional Stories and Moving Sounds with “Feelings” (premiere)

Philadelphia duo delivers single from their debut album and the song gets a cinematic-minded adaptation.

“Feelings” is the new single from Rush Week, the duo consisting of Rachel K. Haines and James Benjamin Thomas. To celebrate its release, the pair has teamed with director Juanma Carrillo for the accompanying music video. The man behind the camera says he had a specific vision in mind once he heard the song. “The song took me straight to American indie films from the ’90s, Gus Van Sant and Larry Clark. Clark’s photography, his ‘Tulsa’ series has always been a reference for me, but in this case, I didn’t want the characters to end badly. They’re just lost but also in love,” Carrillo offers. “The song has positive energy that called for love and adolescence to prevail over everything else. Without forgetting that it was 2018, I decided to look for a group of young actors who listen to different music and who love each in a different way.”

Viewers will note that the stories are far from run-of-the-mill and the director once more discusses his narrative intentions. “I gathered different stories,” he says, “from the point of view of special characters, a teenage werewolf who never experienced love until he met a loner who is full of love, a group of boys and a girl for whom gender does not exist in the traditional sense. I wanted to explore fears and doubts, but from an optimistic point of view, without focusing on the darkness that adolescence entails. And even though there are references to the here and now, even to ways of dancing, I didn’t want the technology to be present. That’s why, in a lot of scenes, you can’t tell whether it’s 2018 or 1994.”

With the music influenced by a range of styles, including soul and R&B, as well as the luxurious sounds of Roxy Music and Talk Talk or the more contemporary settings of St. Vincent or Tennis, Haines, and Thomas move the listeners throughout this deeply emotional track. Thomas says that what now sounds so effortless proved much more labor-intensive than one might imagine.

“The song went through many different permutations before we came to what you hear now,” he recalls. “Production-wise and compositionally it was quite difficult to come up with the general aesthetic that it eventually became. Trying to capture an intangible feeling in a powerful way is quite difficult to do in a song. We wanted to have a tune with a current drum beat but an early ’90s R&B chord progression underneath it that would lend itself to a dynamic melody, that sounds familiar but still new and exciting.”

Rush Week’s debut LP, Feels, is out 6 April via Elefant Records.