The video for Sam Palmer’s debut single combines shots of reality with trippy snippets to illustrate the idea of “transition between states”
Under more normal circumstances, I (like many) would’ve spent the week of March ~16-22 in Austin at SXSW, wandering Downtown and the East Side with a few definite destinations but also open ears and open mind, ready to pop into any crowded venue, sticky Sixth Street bar or typically unremarkable parking lot if the sounds emanating from the open door/window/chainlink fence were particularly awesome, appealing or intriguing.
Instead, I (like many) spent that week sprawled on my bed with what has recently become—much like my Roomba is now considered a roommate— my most important and constant companion: my laptop. Fortunately, this new, alternate reality was made (slightly) less pathetic because the spirit of live music was still alive and well in the form of Left Bank Magazine’s virtual fest, Left Bank Live. And while my step count was roughly 100% lower than it would’ve been at SXSW (and there was sadly no sweaty crowd from which to select *hypothetical* hot future hipster husbands), I did still manage to accomplish my primary SX goal and find several artists I’m now extremely stoked on—top of the list being Sam and the Sea.
For me, one significant sonic silver lining of this strange/sad/scary time has been the discovery of Sam and the Sea’s wavy debut single “The Light,” which has occupied a prime spot on my Spotify social isolation rotation since it dropped on March 19th. And today—following that long, self-indulgent setup (I’M SORRY I’M ALONE WITH A LOT OF FEELINGS) —I’m incredibly thrilled to premiere the music video for the song right here // right now // right below on Bands do BK!
Shot in NYC and New Jersey and directed by the artist (Sam Palmer), himself, the video consists of a selection of scenes—a red-flanneled Sam playing guitar in a neglected parking lot, a striped-socked and increasingly psychedelic-looking Sam spinning and floating against flowered wallpaper, warm shots of empty beach and footage of a plane wing slicing steadily through the atmosphere as time, space and weather change around it—to illustrate what Sam describes as the main theme of the song: transition between states. (And, of course, there’s the light, which makes appearances throughout the video, on and above Sam’s body and instrument, under his skateboard and more.)
To accompany this release, Sam gave us some background on the song, the arrangement for which was started in an apartment in Queens and finished in a remote cabin in the Canadian wilderness “under somewhat desperate conditions”:
“I’ve had some dark periods in my life and sometimes it can seem like it’s all darkness with just a few bright interruptions. I think it becomes obvious to us that we’re living right if we can pull with a larger flow, not fight against it. ‘The Light’ is about taking the imperfect circumstances of our lives and recognizing the beauty and potential that is always there if you look with the right eyes. Only the fruitful thing is true–this means to me that you don’t need to accept internalized constraints and judgments if they don’t help you and the people you love to live happy and free lives. With ‘The Light’ I was searching for an active language, words that act in the world like any other object. It’s the idea that truth is created and not discovered, that what acts cannot be destroyed.”
If ever there was a perfect time for a song about finding the beauty in imperfect circumstances, it’s now, so please enjoy the dreamy journey that is “The Light” and this video. Personally, I can’t wait to hear more from Sam and the Sea soon and to one day, on the other side of this, catch a show live—
No laptop middleman required.
Feature image (provided by the artist): Jennifer Kaplan