Desert Sessions have collaborated with New York Film Academy alumni for videos of songs “If You Run” and “Move Together.” The videos are made to reflect the music and lyrics into their own vision as Italian filmmaker Gabriele Fabbro created the video for “If You Run” and Jonathan Samukange working on “Move Together.”
The collaborations come as part of Josh Homme’s initiative to move Desert Sessions into working with visual artists. Both filmmakers came from the New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus, where Homme’s would meet with students.
Fabbro explored themes of violence inspired by deadly attacks on European journalists in “If You Run,” told through the eyes of one woman. It begins with a couple carrying an old radio as they jump over a creek. The camera pans to the main character peeling a pomegranate with a knife as she watches the couple, following the couple as she sees the man reach for a dagger. Trees rustle as she finds herself lost in a forest, the soundtrack growing more eerie and creating a feeling of anxiety.
“I used to read a lot of news about murders, especially on European newspapers,” Fabbro said in a statement. “I remember one in particular that happened in a cornfield. That article came to mind while hearing ‘If You Run.’ With this music video I want to touch themes such as ‘femicide,’ ‘chase for justice,’ ‘innocent curiosity vs violence.’ But on top, I want to play with an existential fear. The fear of being powerless. Every tool in the video, from the shakiness of the handheld shots to the distorted sound of the radio, serves to exaggerate this fear.”
Fabbro reflects the eeriness and anxiety of the track with his imagery, the track growing more haunting as it moves forward. His protagonist stumbles upon an abandoned building as the guitar builds feedback, the high pitched string at the end landing her face-to-face with a killer.
Filmed in his home country of Zimbabwe, Samukange gave a psychedelic take on the traditional story of Adam and Eve. Samukange enlisted an entire village to help with its creation, using the natural landscape to add depth.
“I wanted to create a seamless balance between computer graphics and reality,” Samukange said in a statement. “I want my audience to escape into a time capsule, following the tragic love story of Adam and Eve. This idea is completely nuts, but it is also grounded in reality with themes of love, togetherness, collaboration, betrayal and even brainwashing.”
Eve plucks the apple as she eyes Adam, both dancing around the tree together. Red eyes and chains, the villagers walking as zombies while they stare at their phone screens, dancing in unison alongside lyrics “we like to move together.” When the louder guitar riffs are introduced the screen flashes to men screaming as they hold their heads. The villagers dance with paint along their bodies, Homme’s voice whispering as Eve moves in slow motion in front of a fire, her and Adam circling around each other. When the track becomes more psychedelic, Samukange reflects that with kaleidoscope movements and colorful flashes.
“If You Run” also had an official music video released back in February, where Homme drives through the desert and picks up Libby Grace. The video is washed in red and yellow light, and a near-complete contrast to Fabbro’s haunting take. Desert Sessions 11 & 12 had been the project’s first release in over 16 years, Hommes collaborating with Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, Stella Mozgawa and more along with introducing Libby Grace.
Photo credit: Raymond Flotat