PREMIERE: Hemm’s ‘Skin’ clip captures the anxiety of an ending relationship
A couple of days back, we covered a track by Melbourne duo HEMM, made up of Juice Webster & Robert Downie. The track is called ‘Skin’, and we pinned it as ‘refined, restrained and intimate’ which you can feel right from the track’s onset.
Immediately, you’re propelled into this carefully constructed soundscape that has been so meticulously put together, it’s instantly reminiscent of sounds from James Blake. In the same way Blake does, Hemm use vocoded vocals not as a specific vocal line, but as the track’s actual instruments. It’s not until the end of the track where there’s a distinguishable addition of other instruments, and it’s beautiful the way they’ve affected the vocals to sound instrumental rather than human.
Today, we’re premiering the clip to accompany this track and I can honestly say, it’s the perfect addition to this track.
There’s a sense of anxiety captured in the clip with its unsteady camera, manipulation of speed to make the figures seem twitchy and the fading in and out of focus. Where the track captures a sense of voyeurism, looking in on this relationship that’s slowly falling apart, the clip does the same, capturing this intimacy through voyeurism.
The colour palette of the clip is quite uniform and not at all distracting, keeping our attention on the characters and the camera’s movements.
Of the clip, Hemm say:
“The video was filmed in one take. We didn’t want clothes or styling to be a factor. We wanted stark walls. We wanted the only focus to be on us, two people, clinging to one another.
It was important to us that the clip reflected the song’s vulnerability and quiet, momentary desperation. We start out quite neat and at the end it looks as though we have been through something.
Towards the end, the song laments the wasted time of being in that in-between state, acknowledging that no one is worse off, or better off. You’ve both just been through this _thing_. It’s a kind of, “peace out, this is it, I’m done.” Moving through those initial feelings of pain and vulnerability to acceptance.”
Words by CAITLIN MEDCALF