I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek at Agapanther’s new song and video clip ‘Vacant’. After watching the video I took a bit of a deep dive with Kyle around the song and video.
First off I love the song. ‘Vacant’ is such a simple yet powerful song and the film clip in its simplicity really accentuates the emotional journey behind the lyrics.
We’re glad you love it Suze! That means a hell of a lot to us, so thank you so much.
I get the feeling from the lyrics and the clip that ‘Vacant’ is based around dementia or trauma?
I guess ‘Vacant’ is based a bit around both. The lyrics touch on the important things that become lost when Alzheimer’s Disease affects one’s mind. Your memories disappear to a point where you lose your sense of personality, you lose the one’s you love and the experiences you’ve had. It’s one of the most heartbreaking things – obviously for the person affected, but it’s arguably just as traumatic for everyone looking in. There’s nothing that can be done to help, so it leaves you feeling pretty useless, and all you can do is try your best to care for them and put on a brave face whilst doing so.
The one thing that stood out to me was the owl ornament that appears in the clip. What is the significance of that?
The song is about mine and Dylan’s grandma, Rita. She loved to collect owl ornaments, amongst other decor such as tigers and elephants – it’s one of the things that I remember most vividly from when we visited her as a child. So the owl in the video is a metaphor as they always sat there on the shelf, still and empty, which is sadly what Alzheimer’s does to a person. The scene of the owl smashing is paired with the lyrics “trapped in an empty shell, with no escape,” which pretty much sums up the sad fate of our Grandma. It feels awful saying it but watching someone’s mental state drastically worsen over the course of half a decade leaves you with nothing but sympathy and sadness, and our entire family believe that her passing put her at ease and allowed her to rest. In other words, the owl smashing resembled her passing, she had finally escaped that empty shell that she was bound to for too many years.
Any reason why the bridge is shown at the beginning of the clip? Is it the tranquillity/calm of the water as in those moments of normality I guess that sometimes come out of dementia.
The bridge sets the scene. In 2005 my Grandparents were both admitted to Hamley Bridge Memorial Hospital. My Grandma looked after my Grandad for years, so they never spent too much time apart. He then passed away in that hospital and I think living without him took a very heavy toll on Grandma, so this is where her state began to worsen. The bridge in the video crosses over Light River and we used to see it whilst entering Hamley Bridge on our visits, so yeah, it really just sets the scene – especially as the video was filmed around a ten minute drive past Hamley Bridge. You’re right though. The intention of the first few shots is to resemble an eerie calmness, but more so in the sense that dementia can start quite subtle, but just like the changes in the moods of the song, it can also take a very harsh turn.
Filmed in a vacant deserted house, this is obviously significant to the song what made you chose to use that for the film clip?
As mentioned in the last question, the location has context as it’s near where the song’s events took place. And you’re spot on, it obviously does give off that instant resemblance of vacancy which relates to the song theme. So the metaphor of something that is unmaintained and vacant, along with the context of location made it the perfect spot for the shoot
The solo shots of you in a different room by yourselves, are they representative of your memories that are either lost/gone (Hence being in a room by yourself kind of locked away) or those random memories that occasionally will pop out?
The solo shots were actually a decision made on the day by our videographer, Caleb! So they didn’t hold any significance beyond breaking up the band shots in the open room. However, my first thought when I watched the video for the first time, was that some of those solo shots really give a sense of reflection and even grief – inevitable when dealing with a disease as unfair as Alzheimer’s. The way I turn my back, how Dylan and Coen hang their heads with lifeless expressions and the way that Harry stares through what is right in front of him whilst taking deep breaths – all remind me of body language related to grief and trauma.
Agapanther have put their heart and soul into ‘Vacant’ and it shows. Touching on a topic that a lot of us can relate to, it is a beautiful tribute to Kyle and Dylan’s grandma.
Watch the video here: