Escape the ordinary with the sublime new song and video from Brooklyn artist Manny Nomikos, featuring Rosie Slater
Wanna get away?
At a time when actual travel is tricky—if not impossible—and social media plus a never-ending stream of NYT notifications keep us tightly tethered to this bizarre, often terrifying reality, mental and emotional escape is more important than ever.
While art has always been essential, the need for it feels even deeper now, and just like our bodies demand water, sleep and sun, I’ve found my mind (soul?!) craving content that captures my imagination. That de-stresses or stimulates, distracts or inspires, soothes or moves. That takes me somewhere and really makes me feel something.
On that note, I’m thrilled to premiere a piece of art that’s done just that—one I’ve fallen absolutely in love with—and offer you the rare opportunity to be totally transported for four truly magical minutes.
This is “Leave the Country,” the gorgeous new song and video from Ilithios.
Ilithios (Greek for “idiot,” a playful nod to the artist’s roots) is the solo project of Brooklyn artist Manny Nomikos, and “Leave the Country”—which features Manny’s Catty bandmate, the ever-inspiring Rosie Slater, on vocals and on video—is one of 13 tracks on his stellar debut record Florist, which drops TOMORROW.
In accordance with the soft, ethereal feel of the song, the video itself seems otherworldly, a vague story that loosely unfolds with the focus more on imagery than plot as we follow Rosie in two forms—wandering the wilderness with a sense of wonder, seemingly looking for something (or someone) and perhaps waiting to be found.
Over email, Manny filled me in on the making and meaning of the very dreamy, very DIY video, which he also directed, enlisting the help of another Catty bandmate, the brilliant Ana Becker:
“For the ‘Leave The Country’ video we had no real prep time or budget and perhaps not much of a plan.. I knew that the visuals should match the dreaminess of the song so at first the plan was to just film Rosie performing in a field.. But then the idea for having her be an astronaut came up and then it just kept spiraling from there. We decided to shoot with two cameras, one old, one new and that practical decision led to the creative decision to have her be two different versions of the same person but in one she was an astronaut that was lost in space. I suppose the other version is Rosie Slater who plays in New Myths… ha. In the end, with the creative help of Ana Becker, we went into a park and shot whatever we could over the course of 5 hours and hoped we could make a story out of it.”
“I absolutely love this song and find it a little heartbreaking/heartwarming all at the same time,” Rosie told us. “Manny is so talented and when he brought up the space/astronaut idea I was suuuuuuuuuuper excited to see how his vision would come to life!”
Along with sharing the story behind the video, Manny was also kind enough to dive into Florist and the feelings behind his beautiful new record:
“With this album, there wasn’t any moment where I had a definitive goal or statement that I was chasing. Rather than it being a story, it was more like a journal of thoughts, paranoias, frustrations, and silliness. Through the recording of it, subconsciously certain themes kept coming up and repeating.. isolation, longing, contempt, grief.. the usual stew of emotions and I tried to lean into each of them [regardless] of what I wanted the sound to be. Then i had to find a way to arrange it all into an album that sounded connected and made sense while still being sonically diverse.
The most important thing to me was to be able to have an album that mimics the daily shifting and range of emotions I was feeling and hoping that the listener would connect with that.. I did most of the recording myself at home and got help with guest musicians like my Catty bandmates, Ana, Rosie, and Bryan.. as well as Amanda (from Leathered fka Crazy Pills) my wife, and even my mother (reading in Korean). Jeff Berner started mixing the tunes but then started offering feedback and adding parts so we decided he should co-produce and once his wizardry was on board, the record took on a new life. Just hoping that this record makes sense to confused people like me.”
In a world where I imagine most of us are perpetually confused and just trying to figure it out… whatever, um, it is… Florist is a real thing of beauty—an emotional journey well worth embarking on and a sweet sonic escape, served up right when we need it most.
Feature image (provided by the artist): Andrea DeFelice