Featured photo by Pooneh Ghana
Origins is a recurring new music feature in which an artist charts the influence of their latest hit single.
Growing up in a suburban town can be so mundane it’s actually rather creepy. So much “normality” has to crack somewhere, and it usually does so in utterly terrifying and distressing ways. In their new video for the Popular Manipulations track “Violet”, The Districts shine the light on those cracks in a way that’s as uncomfortable as it is droll.
Directed by Kris Merc, the video focuses on a guy who’s just one member of a typical single-parent household. Around him sit his steak-ruining mother and disinterested sister, leaving him to feel trapped between the spurious and the uninteresting. Seeking an escape, he calls upon a mysterious figure who takes him to the house of an overweight man who’s somewhere between a late-stage Elvis impersonator and a mall Santa Claus. And a mid-afternoon weekday dancer at a strip club. Take a look above to see what we mean.
To bring some clarity to the inspiration behind the “Violet” video, The Districts’ drummer Braden Lawrence shared a new Origins “playlist” with Consequence of Sound. From the comedic work of Tim and Eric to Gregory Crewdson’s photography, the Philadelphia rockers internalized a lot of outside sources to create their “Violet” vision. See what they had to say about their influences below.
Eric Wareham’s “HAM” from Rubberhead:
This video simply put is just insane and hilarious. It doesn’t really make any sense but makes you feel extremely slimy afterward. In a lot of Tim and Eric’s work in general the use of food being overly disgusting and in excess is something that I’ve always found gross and funny and also relatable because who doesn’t feel like a disgusting slob every once in a while? This video along with Tim and Eric’s Bedtime Stories are big inspirations. I love the way their work can make you laugh uncontrollably and can also leave you somewhat paralyzed with a deep sense of fear by the end.
The Residents’ “Perfect Love” from One Minute Movies:
This is a band that I’ve never really gotten too into, but is the kind of band your more freaky friends will talk about after you eat at Qdoba after high school. I recently went down a rabbit hole of their videos and this one really stuck in my brain. An elderly man in a dark room watching television is so gloomy and normal, and this video kind of started as the basis of the idea while I was writing it out. Also the ending of this video is so amazing, the single picture on the wall he cradles after being sucked onto the wall is freaking gold.
Gregory Crewdson, photographer:
Probably about a year ago, my girlfriend showed me the Gregory Crewdson documentary Brief Encounters, which I thought was great. His attention to detail and color are all so beautiful. Most of his work is mysterious and takes place in rural small towns and very intimate situations. I grew up in a pretty small and safe town, where major crime was basically nonexistent except for a few extremely terrible things. Walking around in small towns always has seemed very eerie to me. It’s so quiet and feels like an old man is watching you with the lights out as he maintains his collection of porcelain dolls as you walk by rows of dark houses. Gregory Crewdson takes that small town loneliness and eeriness and makes it very beautiful.
Thee Oh Sees – “Toe Cutter – Thumb Buster”:
This video is one of my favorites. I love how it’s more of a short film, and that the story pushes the song along as this guy keeps killing witnesses that saw him try and hide a body. The ending of the video ties it all together so well and ultimately makes this video hilarious even though it’s about a guy murdering people. This video is shot and edited so well and is perfect for this great tune.
Trump eats steak with ketchup:
With our political state in the shape that it is, it can be extremely hard to find optimism when everything surrounding us points to doom/a doubtful comfortable future. This being said, simple moments like finding out that our president eats his burnt steak with ketchup is too funny to not see this whole crazy world as a very sad hilarious joke that will soon most likely implode in one way or another. Anxiety and dread are very hard and tricky issues to deal with. Like the character in this video, we went out on a limb to do something that doesn’t quite make sense, but at the end of the day makes us feel much better.