Everything is real but reality in the new music video for Brooklyn art-pop band SOFTSPOT’s single, “Heat Seeker.” Co-directed by Claire Christerson and Sarah Kinlaw, and premiering today on Creators, the video stars the band’s lead singer, Kinlaw, as she traverses through magically animated and crafty sets, encountering a variety of other characters donning wings, gruesome makeup, and fleshy outfits.
Revolving around the homebody main character’s romantic fixation for an upstairs neighbor, in the words of Kinlaw, “Heat Seeker” became something of a fixation of Kinlaw and Christerson themselves, having taken them seven months to create. Their extensive work is, in part, due to the technical nature of the music video: each set within the video was laboriously handmade, though the duo’s meticulous shot-by-shot approach to its creation certainly wasn’t easy, either.
“Sarah and I spent a lot of time together picking apart the song, second by second, trying to make each moment count,” Christerson tells Creators. “I think we are both very particular people, and so we both wanted to enter this world with extreme intention and purpose. We wanted to craft this video, making sure that visuals and sound were equal. Our friendship was key in doing this and certainly stemmed from just having a great time being together and talking dreams.”
A slower approach was something of a godsend to Kinlaw, previously accustomed to less fastidious methods: “It was such a treat to chisel through something so mindfully; I’ve had way too many experiences with video that felt rushed due to equipment and rental. The outcome and emotions associated with the work can really suffer,” she adds.
This painstaking effort allowed the music video’s “half-animated, half-IRL” style to come to life as more than a gimmick; it’s a crafted aesthetic, which was part of the reason Christerson was tapped to co-direct it in this first place. “The visual point is one of the key things that made me think of Claire while considering a collaboration for this video,” tells Kinlaw.
“There’s a juxtaposition that happened naturally while making the music, in terms of the first-person psychological text and the upbeat pop structure. I thought this would be fun to emphasize in our visual. We wanted to make something fantastical while staying rooted in authentic, human relationships,” she adds.
As visually and audible complex the music video is, Kinlaw is able to distill it down to a concise summary: “For me, it really comes down to intra-personal communication, relationships, and our sensitivity to space.”