In 1967, tens of thousands of young people flocked to San Francisco, California in a countercultural phenomenon culminating in the "Summer of Love." Labeled "hippies" and "flower children," these masses looked to shrug off society's conservative values, lured by the idea of drug, artistic, and sexual experimentation. Local newspaper the San Francisco Oracle described this flower-crowned utopia as a "renaissance of compassion, awareness, and love, and the revelation of unity for all mankind."
Fifty years later, the California city has become somewhat of a second home to Hamburg-Berlin house duo Session Victim, aka Hauke Freer and Matthias Reiling. The self-proclaimed "part hippies at heart" visited while writing their 2014 album, See You When You Get There, and returned there to complete their latest full-length, Listen To Your Heart. Instead of finishing it, Freer tells THUMP that their various record-hunting digs inspired them to write new music. The result was a sample-heavy collection of tracks that radiates the laid-back, sunshine-filled soul of the city in its heyday.
Today, Session Victim are sharing the video for "Shadows," a bright, warm house number swelling with strings. Directed by visual artist Vasilisa Forbes, it similarly conveys an uplifting feeling through its nostalgia-inducing appearance, courtesy of 8mm film. Inspired by the 60s and 70s, it features a cast of people diverse both in ethnicity and age as they spread love, be it through holding hands, hugging, or frolicking in a field of flowers. Says Freer, "I think [Forbes] succeeded in transporting a positive vibe and the need to embrace life."
Watch the video above, and read a short Q&A below about the making of Listen To Your Heart.
THUMP: What was your inspiration behind this new album?
Hauke Freer: The creation process for this LP was the most relaxed and pleasant for us so far. With the first one, we had to prove that we were worthy of writing an album; the follow-up was under the pressure to reassure we are able to progress. Now for the third, we simply had more confidence to rely on the fact that we write the best music when we just let go. The magic happens for us in the studio when we do not try to create something in particular, but rather let the music and samples play us.
What role did the city of San Francisco play in the making of Listen To Your Heart?
HF: Lots of lucky coincidences made it possible for us to spend four weeks in the Room G studios in 2014, where we started to write the album See You When You Get There. We knew we wanted to go back there, this time to finish the LP. But instead of giving songs the final touch as we'd planned, again we ended up buying stacks of sampling records and writing new music. After many visits over the years we have a group of friends and feel like the city is our second home.
The music video for "Shadows" similarly has a 60s-esque, Summer of Love vibe to it. Was that intentional? What else can you tell us about this video?
HF: The director Vasilisa Forbes presented us her ideas about the shoot she was planning. We, being partly hippies at heart, suggested to give it a 60s/70s look, and definitely wanted to avoid a too-polished look. Vas did a great job by shooting most on 8mm film and finding a very nice, varied cast.
As for the song, the video really leaves a lot of room for your own interpretation. I think she succeeded in transporting a positive vibe and the need to embrace life.
According to the press release, "Shadows" is a "prime ode to days spent combing through bargain bins." How would you describe your digging/sample-hunting process?
Matthias Reiling: 99 percent of our samples are taken from records, so of course our digging and hunting process starts at the record store —mostly in the cheapo crates, the ones on the floor below the good ones, in the back room, the ones outside the shop… After that, we take our "game" to the record players, one of us makes coffee (or, depending on the time of the day, pours the scotch), we set the Akai or Ableton to rec mode and start listening and dancing.
Listen To Your Heart is out now on Delusions Of Grandeur.