VICE New Zealand is stoked today to premiere the Frances Carter-directed music video for Ary Jansen’s soul-crushing goth choral paean to the virtue of persistence, ‘Don’t Worry’, a highlight from his late-2018 debut solo EP Cut Off.
Shot in a variety of suitably and iconically bleak Auckland locations – Newton’s Old Folks Association Hall, St Leonard’s Beach and the white-lit, uncanny valley of Stonefields – the video presents an uneasy tableau that plays subtly but intensely against the song’s sardonic platitudes. While both the song and Cut Off as a whole are stark and profoundly personal works, according to Jansen the genesis of the video’s concept and execution was largely Carter’s doing. “It was pretty much all Frances,” he told VICE NZ, “She’d been travelling in Europe, then came back to New Zealand and had a bunch of spare time, and I think she put out a shoutout being like 'if anyone wants a cheap music video, now’s the time.' So I hit her up, she ran through a bunch of ideas with me and I was keen for all of them, and we just shot it in one day.”
With Jansen speaking plainly and with deliberate impassivity as his words track karaoke-style at the bottom of the frame, the effect is something like a micro-level musical entry in Jenny Holzer’s iconic Truisms series – equal parts funereal, ethereal and cosmically defiant. Both the song and video feel like potent and powerful refusals to acquiesce to the world’s ever-encroaching bleakness.
“[Don’t Worry] was kind of written about everyone I know and everyone I love being really depressed and feeling really isolated despite the fact that we all feel pretty much exactly the same; trying to find some kind of respite from those feelings without denying that they’re there.”