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Leeds four-piece Fun Adults have just released a video for their joyous new track For Water. Floating on a bed of scattered earthy percussion and subtle guitar twangs, the folk-y band’s sound is one full of space and movement, captured to a tee in the new animation as it plays with the human form through dancing, wispy brushstrokes and peering eyes that resemble hieroglyphics. We caught up with the band to find out about the visual element of their work, and they shared a gallery’s worth of sketches with us; watch the video and read our interview below, and see the clip’s origins in the gallery at the bottom of the page.
Hi, Fun Adults! What have you been up to lately?
Hey! We’ve all been busy preparing for the single launch show which we’re very excited about – rehearsing new material and preparing visuals. Dan’s been working hard on the animated video for For Water which is coming along nicely.
Could you tell us a bit about the artwork you’ve sent us?
It’s a collection of geometric and figurative explorations from Huw’s notebook and sketchbook, along with a couple of Dan’s sketches. They are works in progress that have gone on to inform both the vinyl design and the animation currently in production.
What are your biggest visual points of inspiration?
When throwing ideas around for the visual element of the new release, Matisse became a prominent influence. His cutout work was particularly influential; we wanted to create something that was relatively minimal and that utilised bold, block colours. We had also been getting into old Jazz vinyl covers – many of these had a similar aesthetic to the cutout pieces that we liked, using shape, layout and colour in a striking way. It was a nice coincidence to discover Matisse’s 1947 book, Jazz; a collection of his paper cutouts. There seemed a nice synergy between the two. We were also guided by the minimalism of Malevich, Japanese Ensō paintings, and also a childlike fascination with Egyptian hieroglyphs!
What are your biggest audio points of inspiration?
Robert Wyatt has had quite a big influence on us recently. As well as being a fantastic song writer and musician, his music is so unique and so honest it’s really beautiful. Got a lot of time for Ezra Koenig and the gang these days, we are fans of the new Vampire Weekend album. We’ve also been listening to a lot of jazz and hip hop, we’re big on shuffled beats, fragmented grooves.
There are a lot of bodies in your sketches, and there’s a kind of awkward, fragmented sexuality to them. Is this a reflection of a theme in your music?
Not wholly in the case of For Water. A lot of the bodies were just studies of the human form, acting as reference points to help construct the figures that would be used for the video. We realised that we found drawing people and capturing a realistic sense of movement and proportion pretty tricky, so a detailed study of the human body was kind of needed really. It wasn’t the intention of the sketches to present an overt sexuality; it was more that the exploration of the human form complemented the lyrical themes present. Lyrically, the song deals with ideas of grappling with particular feelings or states of mind that really don’t sit well, and wanting to wash yourself of these, searching for some remedial peace. We felt that exploring the human form seemed the truest expression of this very human conflict. So in that sense, I guess there is a feeling of awkwardness and fragmentation because of that internal conflict, but it’s not necessarily sexual.
Having said this, it is difficult to present a body in the buff without a hint of sexuality! It was something that I think we became aware of, but felt that ultimately it wasn’t something to shy away from. A lot of our lyrics do play with themes of being human, being animal, intimacy, and physicality, so locating a sense of sexuality is definitely not a misplaced observation, just perhaps not one that was intentionally played upon with this video.