Amenra: “A Mon Âme”
Willy Vanderperre Strips Bare the Belgian Rockers
“It was the first time really that we did something that was out of our hands,” says Colin H van Eeckhout, the lead vocalist of doom-metal band Amenra, of working with Willy Vanderperre on today’s arresting video for their 13-minute track. “Normally I’m all over anything we do, so it was quite scary for us to just let go and trust someone, blindly.” “A Mon Âme” marks the second music video outing of the fashion photographer, who’s stark, uncanny style has graced campaigns for the likes of Christian Dior, Jil Sander and Raf Simons. The fellow Belgian approached the band after seeing them play live in Paris, and wanted to distill the intensity and power of their performance. “For the video, I wanted to be almost on their skin, very close in a hypnotic way,” says Vanderperre. Below he talks to NOWNESS about his foray into music.
NOWNESS: What comes to mind when you listen to Amenra’s music?
Willy Vanderperre: The flat lands, my hometown, skin.
NOWNESS: What was the starting point for the video?
WV: Growing up in the same area of Belgium as the band members—no one captures the vibe and the spirit of South West Flanders in music as they do. The sound transports me back there instantly.
NOWNESS: What was it like working with These New Puritans for your first music video?
WV: What is great about These New Puritans is that they are a band not afraid of experimentation, they’re constantly evolving. When we worked together on the artwork for the brilliant Fields of Reed album, we decided to shoot a video together.
NOWNESS: Which artists are on constant rotation on your playlist?
WV: Amenra, Depeche Mode, Balthazar (another genius Belgian band) and Lubomyr Melnyk.
CVLT Nation: How did you meet Willy Vanderperre? Were you looking for someone to direct the ‘A Mon Âme’ video or did he reach out to you?
C H Van Eeckhout: I think he just mailed us, very straight forward, and told us he really enjoyed a show he saw in Paris. I just wrote back, like I always do when people mail the band. I remember I told him I thought we sucked that evening, and I was really thankful for the mail. He replied by telling me, he wanted to ‘give something back’ to the band, and he wanted to take pictures of the band. In all honesty I didn’t know who he was back then, and so I politely said, thank you. And then I googled his name. : ) Of course I was blown away… His work is visionary in its simplicity. His visual language is unmistakably honest, truthful and beautiful.
Soon after that we met in Antwerp, and he took some pictures of me for Vogue. We started talking, and immediately had this,
click, some kind of ‘meeting’ but on another level.. So plans were made, and now they have been set in motion.
CVLT Nation: What was your creative process for shooting the video?
CHVE: A 13 minute song is REALLY long for a ‘music video’ and we were filming in a studio, and it was just us, no instruments, no props, no nothing. Just the five of us and the light.
In our 14 years of existence, we had been hiding in shadows, not showing anything of ourselves in videos or even on stage by not using light, just visuals…so there we were, under Willy’s watchtower of punishing light 🙂 It was very hard for us to be out of our comfort zone, and really confrontational too in different ways. Especially when we first saw the images. It was so close up on our skin that it made us uneasy, or uncertain even.
It took us a few runs before we really started functioning. It was new to us, so we had to get used to our new environment, our new audience. We all started off by closing our eyes, and thinking we were on stage or in our rehearsal space. Quickly we simply started doing what we do, and just went along with the music. It’s about letting go. We just told our story, like we’ve always done. Since day one.
It was quite a special experience for us, it’s like when you close your eyes and just have to fall backwards, you know, you have to trust your friends to catch you. We were in the best of hands with Willy and Nicolas.