Entirely made by their guitarist Tommy, the newest music video from Brighton’s CHALK HANDS serves as a dramatic visualizer to the band’s new song “Les Jours Passent Et Ne Me Ressemblent Pas”, a mid-paced emotional post hardcore anthem reminiscent of some of the best French screamo deliveries from the likes of Daitro or Sed Non Satiata. Today, we’re giving it a proper nod with a special insight into to the process of the animation and how it thematically relates to the lyrics and concept of the album and single.
Don’t Think About Death 12″ LP by CHALK HANDS is up now for pre-order via Dog Knights Productions.
Words by guitarist, vocalist, and lyricist Tommy Lester.
𝐿𝑒𝑠 𝐽𝑜𝑢𝑟𝑠 𝑃𝑎𝑠𝑠𝑒𝑛𝑡 𝐸𝑡 𝑁𝑒 𝑀𝑒 𝑅𝑒𝑠𝑠𝑒𝑚𝑏𝑙𝑒𝑛𝑡 𝑃𝑎𝑠 – 𝐴 𝑐𝑎𝑢𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑢𝑠 𝑗𝑜𝑢𝑟𝑛𝑒𝑦 𝑖𝑛𝑡𝑜 𝑎 𝑛𝑒𝑤 𝑤𝑜𝑟𝑙𝑑 𝑜𝑓 𝑚𝑜𝑣𝑒𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑡
Preparing myself to make an animation
The beautiful thing about stepping out of your comfort zone is the energy that is fed back to you, well, in my experience anyway. Whether that be the ability to have a small amount of pride in yourself, taking praise from others or having the drive to do more, to take something a step further, or just simply having the courage to reach out and to share. I’m slowly realizing that there’s a palpable reward for putting yourself out there.
I have always lacked confidence when It comes to creating. It took me years to believe that the things I drew or the music that I’d make was anything more than just a form of therapy for me. This mentality is always with me, but it seems that the challenges I give myself are the things that keep growing. Along with that, the energy reward grows too. And although I find myself feeling forever doubtful about what I can achieve, that “energy” just means I can keep moving, snowballing, and trying to not think too much about whether I will fail.
Chalk Hands has been one of the biggest sources of motivation for me, I came into this band at a stage in which I wasn’t sure where I was going. I was becoming increasingly fed up with my job and although I was drawing and playing music, and had amazing friends who always praised me, I still felt stale. At that stage I just didn’t believe in myself.
Antoine (Guitar, Vocals in Chalk Hands) seems to continuously open new doors for me, he brought me into the inception of Chalk Hands, became one of my best friends and since then has constantly fed me with motivation to do more artistically. He also has a drive for music unlike anyone else I’ve met, and I most certainly piggyback off of that drive. I’m honoured to be in a band with such lovely humans and I’m so thankful that they trusted me to do this video.
Anyway, the reason I have been emotionally waffling on as an introduction, is that whilst making this animation, I really noticed a small change in my confidence, in my acceptance that I can make things that people enjoy, that this process of creating doesn’t just have to be therapeutic and solely for me. This was a small step, but in the right direction, and I’m feeling the reward.
Making the animation
2 minutes and 30 seconds of moving images, learning each skill as I go along, I essentially knew nothing about animation. So how did I start? Firstly, I bought wine, cancelled all my plans apart from my fulltime job and I just listened to the song over and over.
I use procreate on the ipad to do a lot of my illustrations. It’s incredibly intuitive and I was just hoping that it was intuitive enough to be able to knock up a music video in a few weeks. It has a fairly basic animation tool, I just needed to find an idea simple enough, so that I’m not diving in too deep in terms of my abilities, but something that’s still visually expressive and interesting.
The song is the only song on the album that is in French (Lyrics and vocals by Antoine). This one is fairly personal to Antoine as he wrote it at a time where he was experiencing depression. The song, in short, talks about the ways in which depression can change your mindset. That state of mind in which your sense of self and your abilities to be able to comprehend the things that matter to you in life, are rendered numb. To quote Antoine as he translates the title… “days go by and I don’t recognise myself”.
Sonically the song is short, punchy and emotional. I was genuinely unsure how I’d be able to follow the energy that the music exudes. I didn’t want to get in the way of what Antoine was saying lyrically. So, I decided I’d take a simple character, a spirit of sorts, and I’d take it on a journey with me, a journey fueled by the song itself, the deep conversations I’d had with Antoine, and the visual concepts that I’d already displayed in the album’s illustrations. But this was always a journey in which we had no idea where we would end up.
Watching the animation now, I can see my confidence and ambition rising as the video plays out. My little spirit friend is leading the way. The scenes show depictions of comfort, peace, happiness, friendship, excitement, but also scenes of loss, chaos, and confusion. To me the video displays the journey of trying to find yourself again, after experiencing some sort of trauma, loss, or anything that causes you to feel like you may have lost your sense of self.
The ending of the video could be misconstrued as the classic, “it was all just a dream” scenario. But I’d rather think of it as the moment the character finds some sort of peace. His eyes open to a window that was drawn based on the window in my bedroom, a window just above my drawing desk, the window I stand at when I need a breather or a break, or just to take in the outdoors for a moment.
It can be one of the hardest things, to pull yourself out of a hole, or dig yourself out of a cave, but there’s so much more space to move once you’re out of there. Sometimes you just need to let a friend guide you.