When Brooklyn duo Color War dropped their video for "Shapeshifting" at the tail-end of last year, it instantly rocketed to the top of my best videos of 2014 list. Not only was the song the bomb—a glacially cool cut of synth-pop—but director Crystal Moselle followed three teen ballerinas as they bent and danced and dipped all over the NYC city streets, capturing everything in glorious slo-mo. (Fun fact Moselle is also the director of the award-winning documentary The Wolfpack. Read all about that here.)
This is just some background really. What we have today is exciting for several reasons.
1. Color War's new track "Hallways" is excellent. With its boomy 80s smacks and Italo disco oscillations, singer Lindsay Mound's 2 AM croon weaves a spell of recollection: remember passing that person you liked in the school hallway? When one flicked glance and look away was enough to have you blushing in your Keds. Sigh. At least that's what I thought when I first heard it. But then, the more you listen, the more a different, more heartbreaking narrative emerges: about walking past your ex's house, the key you never gave back burning a hole in your pocket, daydreaming about encountering that lover again and falling into a tryst made breathless by the weight of history.
"And of course I kept my key / We had a home inside that house," she sings. Oof. If that doesn't hit you in the heart, I don't know what will.
2. But onto the accompanying video, premiering above. It's genesis came about in the best the-internet-brings-randoms-together story I've heard in ages. According to Billy J (the other half to Color War) it went down like this: a fan and director in Paris called Laure Atanasyan heard the song and shot a video in her bedroom and sent it over. Simple as that. It's sort of a one-step on from the "Shapeshifting" video—it's intimate and teenage and you feel just a little voyeuristic watching it, like you've stumbled on some found footage of Ally Sheedy back in her Breakfast Club post-makeover days.
Of course Lindsay and Billy loved it. Below is a little exchange to find out more about the mysterious Ms. Atanasyan.
Tell us a little about your background. Where did you grow up and how did it affect your visual point of view?
I grew up in Toulouse, south of France. There I was steeped in cold colors and landscapes with fog in winter. But I spent all my summer holidays in the French Riviera where light is really special, in orange tones. So to my mind, light, and colors are really important, they help a lot to transmit an emotion. This is also where I started to do videos around 15 years old with my friends, my brother and my sister.
How did you discover the song “Hallways" and why did you choose it as inspiration for your video?
About a year ago, a friend, Rémi, came to Paris and asked me to listen to the music of this band Color War, I would probably like it. When I listened to their first song, "Plate Tectonics," they fully conquered me. Last summer I traveled to The United States for the first time during one month to New York and California. There I was thinking about directing a music video. When I came back to France, I looked for a song to do this project and the pop sound of "Hallways" with its hypnotic voice was really in line with my state.
How did you conceptualize the idea for the video? Did you start with the song and build an idea, or did you have an idea already and found the appropriate song?
When I listened to the song it always affected me personally. And for me, the feeling is the most important thing for starting a creation. Then images come to me naturally and ideas as well. So one day, I was walking in the street, listening to "Hallways" and I thought about that girl, waiting for someone. Then I started to imagine everything that could happen inside her.
The video has a rare intimate quality that invites the viewer into a girl's hidden world, one that is relatable but seldom seen in public. Did you set out to achieve this vibe? Please talk about your process.
Yes, I wanted to show something that I know: girl intimacy, like it is in real life when we’re alone in our room.So the mirror was a major prop to show the confrontation to ourselves, and of course to build confidence with the actress was the main point.
Who is the girl in the bedroom? She reminds us a bit of Parker Posey. Were her actions improvised or mostly directed?
Marion Frizot, she’s an actress and also a good friend of mine. Yes she has an 80s style in the clip! We know each other but the experience was totally new. I talked to Marion about some feelings, and she showed me expressions of her thoughts. The beginning was difficult but quickly something happened. Marion understood, and she proposed ideas in accordance with the emotion that we were looking for and I encouraged her in certain directions. We worked together to catch these moments. She is a great actress, because with few directions she knows what to show to represent a mood. She has something really strong in her.
So there you have it. Thank you the internet! Thank you Color War, and thank you Laure Atanasyan.
Bonus! Listen to this darkly sexy remix of "Hallways" by Parisian duo Brenn & César and download it for free!
Color War - "Hallways"
Directed by LAURE ATANASYAN
Featuring MARION FRIZOT, GUILLAUME POYET
Cinematography and editing by LAURE ATANASYAN
Special thanks to HUGO CANELA, REMI CALMONT
Kim Taylor Bennett does have the keys to her old apartment but that's mostly because her landlord never asked for them back and she still has her subscription to NY Mag sent there because she's #badatlife. She's also on Twitter.