American dance pop outfit Hercules & Love Affair debut a pulsing and propulsive official music video for “Controller” – out now via Big Beat Records in the US. The track features The Horrors’ Faris Badwan on vocals, fusing starker post-punk stylings with Hercules & Love Affair leader Andy Butler’s disco-house heritage. Upon release, The FADER praised the “steamy” nature of the track, with Stereogum lauding it as a “needling, pounding, catchy-as-hell sex anthem.”
Released today, the video features direction from London artist Rei Nadal. Nadal has previously directed music videos for Primal Scream, Reptile Youth and Vaults, as well as fashion films for SHOWstudio (including “Girl,” which she codirected with Nick Knight). The result of her collaboration with Hercules & Love Affair is an edgy, voguish visual element which pairs frenetic wide shots of dominatrix imagery with striking close-ups of fluttering eyelids and lyricizing candy-red lips.
In outlining her vision, Nadal explains: “I felt attracted to the track straight away. It was the mix of the club feel with the obvious dark vibe that made the song complex to me and pushed me to create layers to the images, merging the explicit and the abstract, the spiritual and the vain. I was very impressed by Andy’s choice of collaborators and the themes in his music – he stays away from clichés and goes on to explore without losing what makes his sound so attractive. Andy is an original and I’m honoured to have worked with him.”
Of Nadal’s work on the video, Butler explains: “I was very excited to work with Rei after reading her treatment and seeing some of her work – one collaboration with Nick Knight called “Girl” evoked the day-glo death rock of Rubella Ballet or Strawberry Switchblade – a sort of doom and gloom turned on its head. I knew she would visually evoke the twist that Faris and I had achieved with “Controller.” I am really proud and pleased with what she delivered!”
As with Nadal, Butler is no stranger to the fashion space, boasting a long history of fashion-forward videos including Do You Feel The Same? – a collaboration with designer Bernhard Willhelm; I Try To Talk To You – an award winning partnership with ssense and David Wilson; My Offence – which generated a healthy dose of interest in fashion media; and Painted Eyes – picked up by Chanel.
“I’ve had some really humbling and special moments of intersection with fashion in my career,” Butler explains. “From writing music for established entities like Chanel, an institution whose visionary leader has such an enormous legacy, to being fortunate enough to have a legendary enfant terrible like Bernhard Willhelm direct the styling and costumery for “Do You Feel the Same?” But, it has been similarly rewarding working with individuals like Rei who are ‘experiencing lift off’ – asserting their developing yet powerful voices or visions. I cannot wait to see how things develop for this burgeoning talent.”
“Controller” is the first single off Hercules & Love Affair’s long-awaited fourth studio album, slated for a July release by Big Beat Records.
Check out the video below.