Originally appeared on the 405, view archived article here.
Once you get past the pure majesty of the clip for “Birthplace” by Novo Amor, you will find a deeper connection to our planet. This single comes ahead of the UK-based artist’s album of the same name; the record draws upon his origins in a literal way, and embraces his other facets in layers, like with his passion for preserving our environment. As he mentioned to me when we connected over the phone, he doesn’t write political songs but still wants to make a difference.
Read more about how he plans to do so in the excerpt below or the full interview here.
How did you develop the idea for the “Birthplace” video? Were there other ideas you had for it?
That’s a question for the directors, Sil van der Woerd and Jorik Dozy. They pitched the full concept to me and it was too good for me not to say yes. [Eliminating] plastic pollution is something that I care about and that I’m incorporating into my touring and my merch. Funnily enough, I was talking to my dad on the phone and he’d just seen the latest Blue Planet programme. There’s a section at the end of it where David Attenborough goes on this big monologue about plastic in the oceans, and my dad said, ‘it would be great if you could do some plastic oceans sort of music video.’ I told him, ‘yeah that would be good but I’m not about to push that idea on anyone,’ and then a few weeks later [van der Woerd and Dozy] came through with the idea. We didn’t reach out to try to directly make an eco video for ‘Birthplace’, it just happened.
What was your take on using the whale figure?
The whale itself is built out of bamboo then covered in rubbish. A lot of the rubbish was picked by schoolchildren who then exchange it for books and pens and stuff, so we wanted them to help dress the whale. This [specifically, filming this figure underwater with a freediver] had never been done before and no one knew how it was gonna work so it was a risk. The story is meant to represent the religious story of Jonah and the Whale. I don’t know the whole story—I’m very unreligious—but something like Jonah gets swallowed by the whale and repents for his sins inside the belly. The plastic is meant to symbolize [those sins].