Following several releases as Amphior including the “Unlocked” EP, Mathias Hammerstrøm began taking vocal lessons while also creating more expansive music. On his just-released debut EP, “There Is A Light Within Yourself”, he explores our fragile states and eventually letting go of the past with vocals like frost blanketed over a vast somber landscape.
“I wanted to write an EP about the aftermath of loss, but I also wanted it to be more like a soothing experience than a sad one. Personally, making the music on this EP has been like a therapeutic experience. I hope it can help someone believe in themselves, to not give up and to not feel alone.”
Today, he brings us the first visual installment for I Never Forgive where the cold crackling drum beat is joined by eerie desolate images and the somnolent blinking weight of oblivion.
Watch the video below and read what Hammerstrøm had to say about the EP and the new visuals.
You’ve released a few EP’s under Amphior – why the change and how does this project differ?
It’s pretty much about the different aesthetics of vocals.
I think Amphior music has an abstract concept of vocals. I would typically change the order of a phrase and work with pitch shifting, stretching, and distortion, to create an unrecognizable and distant effect. I would sample R&B vocals from the ‘90s in a cappella edits, to make them only appear briefly in the mix, creating a kind of mysteriousness about them.
I wasn’t into that any longer, and I needed to find a new way of expressing myself.
I became interested in singing back in 2017, where I was taking singing lessons at The Danish National Academy of Music.
I was composing songs that didn’t have vinyl crackles, tape hiss and lo-fi sound recordings of rain in the streets (the typical Amphior mixture). I wanted to create emptier and roomier music with real human-sounding singing and a lyrical storyline.
Amphior is still alive, and there’s going to be an EP out by winter season.
Why’d you pick “I Never Forgive” as the first video?
‘I Never Forgive’ is the only music video I have at this point, but maybe I should film more material for another film… I picked it because it’s the darkest and most eerie song on the EP and I wanted to see if I could explore or expand that darkness.
Where was the video filmed?
The video was being filmed in different locations at night and day time in Esbjerg. There were also a few locations in “Ribe” near where my parents live and in a quiet small town called “Tobøl” too, where I anxiously borrowed the beautiful view of a farmer field and private windmill. The artwork cover was composed of a snapshot from this sequence. It was composed by, the talented, Rowan While who lives in the UK. I have had the pleasure of working with Rowan in the past, and he always brings something truly unique to the table.
What was the inspiration?
I had just come out of a relationship and was feeling quite miserable at the time when I was writing the song. I found myself, wanting to hold onto this feeling of loss when the song had been made where I decided I wanted to do the music video.
It came quite natural to be heading into the night for video recordings. There’s something secretive and obscure about wandering in the dark at night and I wanted to bring some of that into the music video. I felt like street lights, during night time, in particular, was a perfect way of bringing an odd kind of solitude into the atmosphere.
My emotions and mental health, are what inspire me most getting into projects like these. I feel like I can understand them better if I see them from a different perspective. I need to create a certain distance to my emotions. It’s like therapy for the mind.
How does the video connect with the song?
I think it’s about trying to find some common ground in both sound and video.
‘I Never Forgive’ is not a pretty song. I wanted to unite sound and video recordings to emphasize some of those darker and raw emotions. I wasn’t interested in telling a specific story, in the same way of the music, so I was more interested in capturing the tone and mood with the videos.
I wanted to be only half exposed in the music video, as a way of expressing the kind of vulnerability, that you’re likely to experience, after an ended relationship; feeling like hiding away and not be very social with friends and wanting to spend some time alone.
Can you elaborate on some of the imagery used?
I think the imagery during the first phase of the 2nd verse (01:48 – 02:07) was quite interesting to shoot and edit. I thought “popping” me into the screen would blend reality with fantasy in a refreshing way. Blending in other elements, such as the burning fire, also helped to shape an abstract universe that I was interested in making.
I wanted the fire to symbolize the desperate “burning up inside” lyrical universe of the song. In all honesty, I also needed to blur out the creepy and gazing eyes of that sequence; it’s still kind of intense though right?
What was your favourite part of the process?
My favorite part of the process was probably walking around in the dark forests, with my blinking bike light; feeling like I was in the middle of a David Lynch movie or something. It was one of the first recordings I made, and at that point, I knew it would become something unique.
I was working with my friend, co-producer, and mentor, Claus Gahrn, at the early stages of composing the music video, which was also an enjoyable time. He has experience in the score and soundtrack field, having made several music compositions for indie films. We worked on the mirror and ‘creepy fingers on the wall’ sequence together, which was a great time.
Any behind the scenes stories you can share?
I was looking for environments in which movements occurred for the first chorus in the song. The reason was that I wanted to speed up these videos, later on, to create a kind of unrealistic ambiance, as if the world around you is happening in front of your eyes, but you’re unable to grasp what is going on because you’re stuck in your head.
The thing is, I wanted to look in a different direction than the camera for these sections, and sometimes I had to be quite far away from it, not to mention I needed to stand there for 10-15 minutes, so there would be no one to protect the camera. I screwed up so many video recordings, just because I had to look back at the camera, to see if it was still there and I remember the editing was a real nightmare, cutting out the material of myself looking for potential thieves.