premiere: this creepy slowthai video references cult horror classics
North Nights take influence from The Shining and Blair Witch while also confronting Theresa May. We heart slowthai!
Photography Rosie Matheson
Anytime a video from Northampton’s slowthai lands on the internets, you know it’s worth a watch. Initially grabbing our attention with his simply shot but captivating short Jiggle, back in 2016, thai’s reliably mesmerising visuals are the perfect companion for his intricate storytelling that belies a fragility full of political intent. ‘Feeling great, nothing great about Britain,’ he notes on Jiggle, while the brilliantly intense RIP, taken from his 2017 EP I Wish I Knew, contains posits like, ‘Diligent militant… one shot I’m a feminist... I don’t want to spend my life inside 23 hours, you can’t breathe sunlight.’
The video for the 23-year-old’s latest release, North Nights, produced by longtime collaborator Kwes Darko, is another entrancing offering. “North Nights is a song based around the feelings I have towards my ends, Northampton,” says slowthai via email. “It’s my view on growing up, changing and going to sleep to forget about the jarring regime and routine I had as a yout. This is me trying to escape a shitty life [and move] on to a new chapter cause slowthai is now a lover, doin up #slayyyyyyyyyyyyyy.” True to his oeuvre, amidst the musings of being banned by the local cab company, thai is also compelled to take on our esteemed Prime Minister. ‘Theresa May wanna be like Branson, making P from airplane traffic,’ thai repeats on the track.
"Around the time I was writing North Nights there was a lot of pressure being put on the Prime Minister regarding the ongoing airstrikes in Syria,” explains thai of the lyric. “Her refusal to answer questions regarding the condemnation of the United States’ engagement with the Assad regime was proof that politics is just business and being a successful politician in the eyes of the establishment is more important than the lives of innocent civilians. But it also goes hand in hand with Brexit, as Theresa May (aka the government) will be making money from visa applications and all that shit, and Branson makes £ from flights -- same difference."
The compelling video, directed by THE REST, references classic cinematic moments from Blair Witch, The Shining, Clockwork Orange and La Haine. “We’ve grown up with slowthai so we share a similar love for cinema, which helped in coming up with the initial ideas for this video,” offered THE REST. “We spent a long evening watching some of our favourite films and picking out characters that we felt reflected slowthai, and decided to pay homage to them, whilst also referencing scenes from particular movies and adding our own style to them.”
Press play on North Nights and take a creepy trip through film history.