Tyler Daniel Bean describes his first music video’s concept succinctly: “When you try to make a video about what happens when depression takes over the house and you decide the best way to show it is by dancing around in your underwear for 9 hours and then cutting it down to the length of a song.”
Like certain David Lynch films, the video for “Willow II” gives a series of everyday scenes – a man making coffee, eating breakfast, aforementioned underwear dancing – an ominous tone once you notice the protagonist’s empty stare. He appears to be living in a picturesque forest-cabin setting without noticing or engaging. As the images progressively get less mundane – his bandmates begin rocking out around him, most notably – his blank gaze remains the same.
Like the record it comes from, On Days Soon To Pass (one of our favorite albums of 2016), the “Willow II” video explores Bean’s struggles with depression. In this case, the video concept came from a metaphor he learned in therapy:
The video is based on the first exercise I worked on with my first therapist about fifteen years ago. He told me to create a house in my mind, and to make a room in the house to store my depression. I was supposed to lock the door and lose the key. At least that’s how I remember it now. Therapists tell me now that I probably was told to do that, given the timeframe, but my brain has a way of distorting reality and memories to fit with a narrative, a habit this record attempts to find a way to break through—to see things more as they are or were. Anyway, I think this exercise was meant to show me that every emotion has a place in my home, about how things can exist in the background without persistently overpowering the experience of life, but at the time, I took it as a willful ignorance; If I stuffed everything away, I never had to deal with it.
This video is about what happens when the door breaks down, and depression enters the entire house. It’s meant to explore one of the record’s questions: How do I see the phrase “There’s a life outside my body calling for me. Today I want to take it seriously” as a phrase of preservation as opposed to annihilation.
The whole thing builds to a dramatic and ambiguous ending that, frankly, I encourage you to watch for yourself before you read on. When asked about it, he writes, “The end of this video, given the context of what it’s about, is meant to suggest that by jumping into the water (breaking the plane as a sort of metaphorical death), I have the ability to reengage with the world, to jump back into life (if you will). Maybe that’s a statement about faith, or about rebirth to some degree, but it’s meant to express that I can’t find what I need in my head anymore.”
It all sounds very heavy – and it is – but as we noted in our writeup on the album, the music itself rocks. This song especially is unrelentingly loud majesty that builds to a huge post-rock climax. Watch the video for “Willow II” below and pick up Bean’s latest album On Days Soon To Pass at Bandcamp.