Sento is the final single from Melbourne based ethereal pop duo Time For Dreams’ recent LP Life of the Inhabitant. To celebrate this we have decided to delve back into the cinematic and sonic universe and revisit the clips that have been produced for Life of the Inhabitant, mostly all created while Melbourne was in lockdown of one variety or another. We also caught up with Time For Dreamer Amanda Roff to discuss some of the details, ideas and inspirations behind the clips.
Cyclic Defrost: Sento, the final clip in the series, is both moving and meditative, tell me about working with Maurice Sarah.
Amanda Roff: Maurice Sarah is my favourite artist on instagram. I’m torn always between disgust for contributing to the corporate fiefdom of big tech, and laziness / total apathy, so I, like Maurice, find insta the most convenient way to store/share images at the moment. Maurice has an incredible eye, and takes delight in the irony and absurdity of daily life, the grimness and beauty of the suburbs, the poetry of the mundane. The clip has his signature muted colour palette and eye for patterns.
Cyclic Defrost: Can you tell me a little about your visual approach for the clips you have made for the new album?
Amanda Roff: The first clip (New Conflict Dream) is the only one in which I appear, and it’s the only realist or narrative type clip. That one was shot by Eva Lazzaro and features her and my brother Dom’s household cat, Fortnite (who plays himself). I approached Eva with the idea and we worked on that one together. I got a huge (for me) APRA payment of $40 and bought a long black polyester wig to go as Paul Stanley from KISS to my cousin’s Halloween themed wedding. The outfit ended up so good it seemed mad not to use it for a clip. Eva who is a relentless director filmed me surreptitiously through my cousin’s wedding and at the karaoke bar afterwards. Sadly the camera had been packed away when I finally fell over after having worn the 12 centimetre platform boots for about 17 hours. The other three clips, 4 including Sento were more of a commission approach where we chose artists whose work we thought would suit the tracks.
Cyclic Defrost: Visually the band has a very strong style, were the clips designed to fit into that aesthetic or was it less defined?
Amanda Roff: Sara Retallick has made a clip for us before (I Love that Tiger / My Operator) and did live video projections for us at Meredith so we have a history with her of shared aesthetic collaboration. With Lichen, we already loved her aesthetic from her photography, but more than that we were drawn to her process. The song Death to All Actors is about death and organic disintegration, disease, the materiality of existence, so it made sense to approach someone who does temporal, durational work with bio-matter, making lush close up pictures of decay and chemical change. As I said before, we love Maurice Sarah’s aesthetic and relate to his love of line and shape in the urban environment. Mariana’s clip for A World of Your Own was the only wildcard, but I think with the totally overt, pathetic, romantic, nostalgic vibe of that song she was almost forced to respond with something fragmentary and dream-like. A cool part about that clip was that she inadvertently filmed it in my spiritual home Athens and Tom’s Berlin so there was some real aesthetic synchronicity happening there.
Cyclic Defrost: With the exception of New Conflict, there is a deep natural element within the clips. Was this accidental?
Amanda Roff: The album was very much inspired by imaginary landscapes so that was definitely part of our brief to the artists. But with the exception of Eva and Mariana’s clips the other 3 were made during and in-between the 6 lockdowns of the last few years. The safest way to make the clips was with a director and a non-human subject due to the pandemic. This really fit with the album which is set in a post-human, dystopian, plague-ridden, extinction ravaged world (i.e. this one).
Cyclic Defrost: Time For Dreams music is very cinematic, does this help or hinder the music video making process?
Amanda Roff: That’s a good question and I’d say it’s a bit of both. Unfortunately we couldn’t get Wong Kar Wai to make one long film clip for the entire album. But I think the visual scenes created by all the artists who we collaborated with add something to the larger project. The cover art by Richard Lewer, the photography by Ross Coulter and all the videos extend the visual aspect of the album in exciting ways. That’s the joy of collaborating. Having your work reflected back to you in colour choice, in the rhythm of editing, in all the little decisions made by the film-makers is really satisfying. But the cinema that is created internally by listening to the music is something else entirely. Someone I was speaking to recently who is an artist and writer told me she deliberately hasn’t watched any of the clips because she is enjoying her own very strong internal vision of the record and doesn’t want to change or dilute it. So um yeah. Both!
Time For Dreams’ Life of the Inhabitant is available on It Records on all current formats from here.