Matt Sweeney & Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy shared a new video for their song “Resist the Urge” just ahead of the release of their second album Superwolves this Friday, April 29. It’s the fourth single they’ve revealed in advance of the record following “Make Worry For Me,” “Hall of Death” and “My Blue Suit.”
“Resist the Urge” is a song about living on after death through memories. Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy aka Will Oldham begins, “If i should die before I wake/Resist the urge, resist the urge/To cry or falter for my sake/I didn’t die, I didn’t die.” It’s a very old-school-styled folk song with the two of them harmonizing for most of it and just guitar picking and upright bass underneath.
An accompanying music video shows professional skateboarder Kevin ‘Spanky’ Long in a video collage version of a skate vid. Waves, birds, clouds and Oldham’s mustache are superimposed onto Long’s surroundings as he pulls off various skate tricks. It was co-directed by Long and photographer Atiba Jefferson, but Long was also the one responsible for the lighthearted effects edited all throughout.
Jefferson had a lot to say about the video’s process, “When I was talking to Matt, Will and Dan [Koretzky, Drag City label co-founder] about video concepts and cool ideas for this new record, I knew I had to involve Spanky because we’re both longtime Superwolf fans. I have directed a couple music videos involving skateboarding, but I always wanted to see a full video part with just one skater, and once I got asked to work on a video for this record, I knew that Kevin ‘Spanky’ Long was perfect, in more ways than one. If you follow Spanky on Instagram you will see one of the most visually creative artists I have ever seen. His way of cutting out, resizing, moving and manipulating photos and videos is amazing, but also he is an amazing pro skater so the combo was perfect. I asked a lot of Spanky: I wanted him to star, direct, edit, film and do all of the artwork! It was a tall ask but I know his love for Matt and Will would shine thru.”
He continues, “This video was made in the pandemic so it was just me and him going out and shooting together. We shot around LA for 14 days over 4 months. I wanted to shoot the skating on a Canon R5 at 24p giving it a film look. We also shot scenic stuff on Super-8 to give it that film look, then we had Cleigh Reed color it so it all flows. It was great to work so closely with Spanky’s vision but still have him in front of the camera. This collaboration of directing together was great because we are 2 different generations of skateboarders, but both coming from the pro skater’s perspective.”
Long added, “This was just a great excuse to make a skate video with a best friend for my favorite band. I ran the high def footage and super8 film into my iPhone where I painstakingly cut frame-by-frame, with relatively low-fi digital tools, to execute the stop-motion animation and digital collage elements. It was, in the end, the only way to achieve this look we were after. And we weaved in the layers of sea and sky to meet the big themes in ‘Resist the Urge.’ COVID restrictions made things tricky to get Matt and Will in there, but we revel in limitations.”
Superwolves will be Oldham and Sweeney’s second album together following their 2005 album Superwolf. The two of them also shared a previously unreleased song this year from the first time they worked together on their last album. Oldham has remained prolific as Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, having released 18 albums and collaborations since the duo last worked together. Sweeney was much more active in the ‘90s and ‘00s, but recently put out an EP of music that he and David Ferguson recorded for the Red Dead Redemption 2 video game OST.