“Sea Shanty” is one of my favourite Opposite Sex songs from the forthcoming album. When I first heard them play this live I loved it straight away. Who plays waltzes these days? All the elements just sounded so strange and exotic yet familiar in a European kind of way. It’s the sort of song I can imagine Slapp Happy playing in a Berlin cellar bar in 1973. Deceptively light and like a child’s story, yet, beneath the surface there’s some darkness, uncertainty and fear at its heart (like many Opposite Sex songs). Sure it’s an imaginary story about living under the sea with a merman. But it’s also a song about loss, loneliness, abduction, drowning, starving, being an outsider… then companionship, adventure… and maybe either resolution or regret. Who knows?
So here’s our zero budget video we made up on the spot.
You are meant to have story-boards for video shoots. We didn’t. What made it all work was Lucy’s performance miming to the song with nothing more than a piece of kelp as a prop. And also Tim’s willingness to wear liberal quantities of green face paint, a surf hood adorned with gaffer tape fins and a lump of kelp on his back.
Afterwards we decided that an underwater world needed fish. Green-screening stop motion animation provided some of them. It’s very time-consuming. Then Lucy had the brilliant idea of moving the fish in real time…
Finally we wanted Fergus to be involved, even though he was a thousand miles away. Thanks to his friend Daniel Phillips who lent him his old wetsuit and took a couple of hundred stills of Fergus, I was able to animate him into the underwater world as well.