Artist and producer Alan Wilkis has never had, or been, a stalker. He can still feel sorry for them though, maybe because he knows a thing or two about unrequited love. “There was this one girl back in college that I was painfully obsessed with. It’s crazy how badly someone can dominate your thoughts, mess you up, and not even know you exist. Good times…” Hopefully he never adopted the predatorial behaviour of the one part complex, two parts creepy photographer’s assistant who features in the film clip for his latest song “Shadow”, a collaboration with CA rapper Lyrics Born and indie darling White Hinterland.
“Shadows” is the latest instalment in Wilkis’s PRINTS project, a series of singles in which he independently creates an instrumental piece of music and then enlists a vocalist to complete the track — essentially breathing new life and perspective into what Wilkis literally listens to 100′s of times before relinquishing over to the chosen collaborator. He describes this process as, “A little scary, but exhilarating and exciting,” sometimes magical and other times requiring him to step in as producer and, “Tilt the steering wheel” towards the elements he does like in what is presented.
Constructive criticism is key. Where each track is different collaboratively, in the case of “Shadow”, Wilkis and Lyrics Born have never even met. After deciding that the rapper had the perfect voice for the track Wilkis approached his management, who readily agreed — from then contact was limited by geography to nothing more than an initial phone call to discuss the overall concept of the piece. You wouldn’t guess it — their disjointed, autonomous work practice is a risk that paid off. “Shadow”‘s haunting, surmounting instrumentals are drawn out by the rapper’s story of the all consuming woman he can’t forget. Contrasted by the ethereal female vocals of White Hinterland, the perfect blend of tension and duality is created.
The film clip for the track takes what could, from the lyrics alone, be a passionate love story, into definitely twisted territory. Written and directed by founder of Lucky Branded Entertainment and Brooklyn filmmaker Ryan O’Hara Theisen, the mini film was inspired by late 1970′s John Hedgecoe photography and Theisen’s own days in the darkroom spent voyeuristically inventing lives for the models he shot. It will make you feel unnerved, intrigued and most of all compelled to watch until the very end. Is that sympathy or repulsion for the infatuated photographer’s assistant you’re feeling? Probably both, most likely because, according to Wilkis, “We’ve all probably fantasied about something like this”. Go on, admit it….