Tuesday 2 March 2021

LISTEN: Bess Atwell - 'Co-op'

Before I get to rambling, in case you read the blog but don't follow me on Twitter or Instagram... I'm a little blown away that the page had the most monthly page views ever in February (almost double the previous 'record' month) - thanks so much for reading! I have a treat for you today in the shape of a new track, at once witty and soothing, from all round stunner of an artist Bess Atwell. I've long admired her work, and reacquainting myself with her previous releases at the moment is making for a lovely trip down memory lane. She's back with new single Co-op, the first track she's releasing on Real Kind Records, the imprint of Communion from Lucy Rose... an exciting pairing if ever there was one!

Sharing the news, Lucy wrote: "I am so pleased to announce the signing of Bess Atwell to Real Kind Records. She is a phenomenal artist, songwriter and all round person. Her voice is like nothing I've heard before and her way of telling stories and communicating her thoughts through her music is extraordinary. I've honestly never come across an artist like her before and I'm extremely excited for what's ahead of her." 

On the track, Bess explains that: "flipping between past and present tense, I think of this song the same way I think of a memory that keeps interrupting the current moment. It's a snapshot of a time of refuge and routine. It's an illustration of mine and my partner's life together. The relationship seemed to provide me with some sort of permission to recuperate from family trauma, as if realising for the first time that there was a life outside of that chaos lulled me into an emotional slumber. Through the song I grapple with the desire for, and fear of, comfort. I used references to Virginia Woolf's 'Mrs Dalloway' to depict a vivid nostalgia and an affinity for trivialities that serve to calm when darker thoughts set in." 

The self-directed video (above) is inspired by the context of the track, Bess shares: "the music video, directed by me and shot by my good friend George Ogilvie, directly references one of the lyrics ("half your furniture we found on the street outside"). I didn't want to be too on-the-nose by shooting the video in a supermarket, but I also didn't want to shy away from that bold imagery, so I came up with the concept of shopping for memories/home comforts. The video attempts to marry two worlds at odds with each other - the mundane and the emotional - by contrasting the props, outfit, and setting."

"I associate the song with the boldness of the colour red and that was important to me to capture within this, occasionally whimsical, video. Co-op started out as a bit of a private joke, so I wanted the video to have a self-awareness and sense of humour to it too. I think there can be a tendency, when you're shooting a music video yourself, to try too hard to make it look professional. Instead, I wanted to lean into the fun of making it with a friend. It felt reminiscent of our childhoods, when we would make up plays or dances and perform them to anyone who would watch." 

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