We’re big fans of British singer-songwriter Keaton Henson. Not only are his lyrics thoughtful and poetic, his delivery is so subtle and beautiful, his emotion seems to stir yours with every listen. Already an artist with an armful of thoughtful and interesting music videos that function more as short films, his latest, “Lying to You”, is a collaboration with photographer Autumn de Wilde. An ode to the teenage girl, it stars de Wilde’s enigmatic daughter, Arrow, as she traverses suburban streets dotted with cat topiaries and errant Winnebagos in such a way as to make you remember the pangs of adolescent loneliness. We were so taken with it, we recently spoke to de Wilde to find out more about her inspiration and process for the video.
“I’m obsessed with fallen glory,” de Wilde said. “Places that once were cookie cutter but starting to disintegrate. There’s an unfinished perfection that I like.” Director of photography, Matthew Lloyd, chose Pacoima, California, a neighborhood full of languid decay, stereotypical suburban houses, and random, carefully carved hedges. Arrow is the sole focus, though, and we follow her every footfall as she delicately lip syncs along with Henson’s lyrics. “We were tearing through the neighborhood following Arrow’s stride,” de Wilde said, “The reason why we cast a teenage girl was because if it wasn’t going to be Keaton [in the video] we wanted it to be something very left field. I’ve never directed Arrow in anything, so I didn’t want her to feel too much pressure, but she didn’t. She really flew away with it.”
Inspired partly by The Langley School Music Project, a collection of 1970′s recordings of pop songs sung by a children’s chorus (specifically the song “Desperado” sung by a lone, sweet-voiced girl), as well as the time when teens transition into adults, the video also stars Arrow’s denim jacket festooned with vintage pins and a tampon dipped in glitter. “I love the combination of old fashioned girlie and badass,” said de Wilde. “I grew up watching Kristy McNichol, Tatum O’Neal, and Jodie Foster, all these tough teenagers who also had a little bit of a girlie thing going on. Little Darlings, Foxes, and even Candleshoe—those movies are a big influence.”
We think you’ll find your own influences, too, as the subject matter is something we can all relate to. Though there’s no specific story, the intention is clear, and even though there isn’t an ending, that adds to the depth and emotion of the song. As Henson and de Wilde decreed, “We wanted to leave it a mystery.”