Having unveiled her arresting single ‘All You Can Do’ and sweeping album track ‘Nobody’ in recent months, emerging singer and songwriter Bess Atwell continues the support for her highly-anticipated new album Already, Always with the new offering ‘Red Light Heaven’.
Channelling the same juxtaposition of emotion she has infused in all of her releases of late, ‘Red Light Heaven’ looks to conjure some of the more complex feelings on her new collection. While ultimately a fresh and vibrant composition, her newest gem is rich in personal definitions of herself and creates this wonderfully captivating aura that sees her in an almost liberated light throughout.
Explaining the new single, she said, “This is one of those Frankenstein songs that shifted subject matter several times until it encompassed most of the record’s themes in one. It touches on the disappointment that can come with a lack of spirituality. The belief that life is mostly meaningless is simultaneously dark and liberating, and I think these beliefs inform my relationships – I want to feel connected because it’s the only meaning I can draw from life.
“I have always attempted to solicit authenticity from people, which has alienated them at times (“I won’t help you forget / You need a bit of that”). There’s a running joke in my family about the letters I used to write to my mother as a child and I reference those letters in the song. The last line of the chorus (“I can’t look back without thinking it’s all wrong”) is an acknowledgement of the mournful perception I have of the past – whether the memory is positive or not, it often seems to sadden me slightly.”
Accompanied by a stunning new video directed by the renowned Jamie Thraves, best known for his work on Radiohead’s ‘Just’ and Coldplay’s ‘The Scientist’ for which he won three MTV awards, the new visuals look to further explore this parallel between light and dark energy with its isolated yet colourful aesthetic.
Continuing about the new video, Bess added, “I was lucky enough to work with Jamie Thraves on the music video. Fittingly, it ended up being a similar process to that of writing the song – it shifted concept a few times until we’d made something that is almost a little fractured, while still being full of meaning and hidden messages.
“Jamie and I instantly clicked, bonding over our penchant for intensity and oversharing. We wanted the video to highlight a sense of duality. We shot for two days with an amazing small crew of people and just had a lot of fun. It’s by far the biggest fuss I’ve ever had made for a video of mine and I felt extremely lucky.
“We filmed in a small woodland in Kent, and at Glyndebourne Opera House. I was particularly excited about shooting at Glyndebourne because there’s so much symmetry to play with, and one of my references was the photography of Slim Aarons. The locations were chosen with that sense of duality in mind, as was the way I performed.
“Before we shot, Jamie mentioned how he’d like me to push myself to perform slightly more than I had in previous videos. I’ll never know how he did it, but he got me interpretive dancing in front of a camera and crew of people. It was so liberating to feel comfortable enough to perform the song the way I wanted and I have Jamie to thank for that.”
Her new collection Already, Always looks to bring together the songs and aesthetics she has been channelling for some time. While on the surface some would see it as a break-up record, the album itself is more about the deeper relationships that many of us experience throughout our lives, and how brittle and disconnected they can become over time.
To support the new album, Bess Atwell has also announced a string of festival and UK tour dates for later in the year including a 15-date UK headline tour in November and December…
11th Sept – Down at the Abbey Festival
15th Nov – Liverpool, Leaf
16th Nov – Cardiff, Clwb Ifor Bach
18th Nov – Bristol, Exchange
19th Nov – Leeds, Headrow House
20th Nov – Edinburgh, Sneaky Pete’s
21st Nov – Glasgow, Broadcast
23rd Nov – Newcastle, The Cluny 2
25th Nov – Birmingham, Hare & Hounds V2
26th Nov – Manchester, Deaf Institute
27th Nov – Nottingham, Bodega
30th Nov – Cambridge, Junction
21st Dec – Oxford, The Jericho Tower
2nd Dec – London, Oslo
3rd Dec – Southampton, Heartbreakers
4th Dec – Brighton, Patterns