From the UK to Southeast Asia, singer-songwriter and versatile recording artist Steve J. Allen releases an incredibly contemplative and conceptual music video for his recent single, "Other World."
Although Allen is most known for his punk rock capabilities due to his rocking single, "Wreck The Place," he showcased a different side of himself with vast emotion and expression on his latest album, 'Contrast.' Exploring even further, Steve J. Allen takes us on a heartfelt and emotional acoustic journey with his latest single, "Other World."
Co-directed by Steve J. Allen, Marwah Ghazi, and Aqib Malik, the music video for "Other World" showcases the tale of our reflective protagonist who's troubled by the rate at which time passes him by. Steve J. Allen plays a charismatic and whimsical storyteller who guides his friend through troubled times until the ghosts of his past are far behind.
Elaborating on the music video for "Other World," we're met with scenes of a dark apartment riddled in clocks, calendars, statues, and frantically scribbled chalkboards. As the protagonist reaches for his medication to help him cope with the difficult time, Steve J. Allen makes his whimsical appearance to playfully console his friend when he's down and out.
This music video seems to pay homage to time's mysterious ways, especially through scenes of Allen holding onto a statue that triggers countless memories or other scenes of the protagonist staring at his calendar and clocks with an unsettling glare. As he opens the curtains and lets the light shine in, the video ends on an optimistic note that encourages viewers to keep hope for a better day.
Experience the conceptual and thoughtful music video for Steve J. Allen's single, "Other World," now available on YouTube.
Welcome to BuzzMusic Steve J Allen. We're super drawn into the vibe and concept of time and reflection on your music video for "Other World." What inspired you to create it?
Serendipity. A friend heard the song for the first time at the lockdown start and said, you should make a video, so I thought, ok.
What was your experience working alongside your co-directors? How did they help execute the idea you had in mind?
Marwah and Aqib are both genuine, awesome people, and super creative. I first approached Marwah about a video a few months before, and we discussed it but didn't do anything about it straight away, and then when the spark came to make the video some months later, finally. I approached Aqib to help organize things and bounce ideas to get the ball rolling. We met up, got some rough ideas, and sat with it. It was so fun.
Then one morning, I woke at 3 am with the idea to use this office space that we'd spent time in. It was one of the offices of Mindvalley in Malaysia. It's a super cool place with a great vibe. And when I contacted the office manager to ask if we could shoot there, he said it was recently closed, everything had been packed away and would be empty by the weekend. So I asked to look anyway and found the whole place packed in boxes ready to go into storage. We caught it just in time. We just got to use the space as long as we came in on Saturday. So we did.
I brought a load of random and weird trinkets from home in a suitcase, and when we got in there, we searched through the taped-up boxes for anything that we thought was fun to use. We literally just played around and pretty much made the whole thing up that day, we bounced a few ideas about it days before, and we filmed it all in a few hours in the afternoon.
All the clocks were there scattered in the room, it seemed like a good idea to use them, and then it became more fun and dreamlike. Initially, there wasn't a deliberate idea to use the clocks, but we thought, what if I tormented the protagonist with the clocks. It turned out to become a big theme of the video.
The notion of time and the set seemed to be just right for the song and fell into place nicely. I didn't even notice it said, 'now it's your time at the end of the song either until later. In a nutshell, we had fun, didn't take anything too seriously, pieced the story together, and the whole thing came to life. Marwah's beautiful eye for cinematography, with the lighting, etc., was so great. I didn't know what to expect, but I had complete trust in her making what was already a good set look even more cool and enticing. And I want to mention here too about co-writing the song with Matt Hardouin, which of course, led to the video. Unfortunately, due to location and situation, he couldn't be a part of the video, but I would have loved to have him work with us on that too. We also wrote and recorded that song together in one day (just seven years before the video).
Why did you choose to steer away from your usual punk-inspired sound and travel down the acoustic road with your recent creations? We love it, by the way!
When I first began singing, I had a more raspy voice. I belted out in a more shouty way, partly because I didn't know how to sing. I was trying to hit the notes I imagined. Over time, I sang more and practiced more, and my voice became more natural, so that, coupled with an ever-changing outlook on life, has made a difference to the overall sound, I guess. I generally create with whatever I have at my disposal, so I don't overthink the steps I take. It just so happens that I play acoustic guitar because it is convenient. I can play the acoustic, solo, or in a band. Then the rest of the music often comes with finding what feels right based on what instruments we have around.
Can you share what it's like working with Sheffield's Studio III? How did you connect with them?
I love working with Tommy and everything to do with Studio 3. I met Tommy in Gottingen, Germany, crossing paths with Sheffield friends and the great band 'Outroads' when we were both on tour.
Tommy was organizing the gig. We all hung out, did some drunken rock climbing, and had fun. Then a year or so later, we met again in Sheffield as he'd since moved here. When I recorded my first album, Wreck The Place, I recorded it myself but wanted it mastered externally. He'd just shown me the new Outroads album they had just finished in his studio. I loved the album and decided to ask him to master mine for me. The process was easy and fun. After, Wreck the place was released on his previous label Labels. That whole process was fun and collaborative, and I decided to release my next album working with him in his studio from scratch. We worked together on Contrast.
It's great to have him play bass on some tracks and bounce ideas about production, etc. The communication process we had mixing the tracks halfway across the world over emails was always fun and fast. We'd always find a middle ground that we are both happy with. I trust him as a musician and producer and like his love for analog work and the way he wants to keep things as organic and natural as possible.
What's next for you?
Musically, I want to produce another album, with again more variety, musicians, and styles. I want to tour again with a new band. To play with some other genres and types of instruments and collaborate with more female vocalists. I was thinking of spending some time with Matt H from the Anchor and Other World to create a joint album, perhaps together, which would be fun and experimental.