Talkboy Put on a Happy Face in New Video for "Hollow Sphere" (premiere)
The wonderfully simple concept in Talkboy's "Hollow Sphere" sees someone trying to hide their anxieties behind a smile.
As the song from Bye Bye Birdie goes, "Gray skies are gonna clear up / Put on a happy face / Brush off the clouds and cheer up / Put on a happy face." However, it isn't always that easy. A smile can often be hard to find.
That's the message behind the video for the latest release from their Over & Under EP, "Hollow Sphere", from Leeds sextet Talkboy. The video opens with a woman desperately trying to raise a smile to hide the angst behind the eyes. Finding it increasingly difficult, she literally puts on a fake one in the form of a bright red plastic smile that fits (probably quite uncomfortably) in the mouth. At a dinner party, she meets another guest wearing the same mouthpiece. It's a delightfully simple concept as two people, struggling to hide their anxiety, meet, and finally seem to find happiness. Together, their smiles no longer need to be faked as they dance and laugh together.
The video perfectly mirrors the message of the song. Beginning with lilting acoustic guitar chords, light electronics, and Calum Juniper's warm, reassuring voice, the band explore the idea that there is joy to be found even at the most hopeless times. It's the group at their rawest and most emotionally astute while still retaining their distinctive indie sound with eruptions of guitar, infectious, sprightly melodies, and sophisticated harmonies.
As the video ends with its euphoric, Arcade Fire-esque outro, Juniper sings, "Darkness fades away eventually somehow" as the woman looks on, the fake smile still locked in place. The delightful ambiguity of the ending suggests she may have to wait a little longer to find someone to help rediscover her smile.
Here, director Jolyon White tells us a little bit more about the making of the video.
"Fake smiles, weird dancing, and a smoke machine.
"It is pretty awesome when you find a band who are pushing to make interesting stories with their music videos. They weren't even fussed about being in it - they just wanted what was best for the idea.
When they sent me the song, I must have listened to it a couple of hundred times. The lyrics are pretty poignant about going 'to a darker place to see some light again'. So I knew I needed something simple and powerful to do the song justice. The idea of putting a fake smile on just felt so right for this. I remember seeing a photo of Melania Trump looking miserable while standing next to Donald, and she quickly put on the most fake smile you've ever seen when she realized the cameras were on her. It was perfect.
"So, after searching the web, I found these plastic smiles, and I ordered them straight away. When they arrived, they didn't really look like smiles, so I spent ages putting them on my cooking hob wearing oven gloves trying to mold them more into smiles. They ended up looking better but still pretty weird. The burns on my hands probably weren't worth it. I think Millie (the main female actor) definitely felt the aftermath of my dodgy plastic molding as she had a few cuts and ulcers in her mouth the day after. (Sorry Millie).
"The shoot was great fun. The band all get stuck in helping out. The crew was just the cinematographer Dom and me, so it's always nice having lots of hands on deck. We set off the smoke alarm with the smoke machine, and they had to evacuate the whole building. Security turned up and told us we couldn't go back in, and we wouldn't be able to carry on. Eventually, one of the security guards gave us some shower caps to stick over the fire alarms so we could carry on, but at one point, I was thinking we wouldn't have the dance sequence, which would mean we wouldn't have a music video. It wouldn't be an experience if there weren't a few heart attack moments."