Brendan Maclean has never been an artist to curtail or reshape his original material in order to pander to a crowd or certain type of ‘accepted’ imagery that comes with being a widely successful pop artist. As we’ve seen with singles in “Tectonic” and “Hugs Not Drugs (Or Both)” recently, Maclean weaves some brilliant pop arrangements with ambitious and vibrant lyricism; he tells stories that are intrinsically personal, inviting and raw.
Today, the Sydney artist released a short film on his YouTube channel entitled “Hotel Drowning”, directed by Matto C. Lucas. Originally intended to feature as a visual accompaniment to his song “Henry”, Maclean discovered more elements to the footage that held it apart from being just another music video.
The five minute clip shows Maclean on his own in a hotel room (filmed in St. Kilda) – he’s contemplative, distressed, exhausted, stressed, restless. In total isolation and personal quarantine, we’re often left to delve perhaps too far into our own minds and insecurities – the things we hate about ourselves, what we think people perceive of us and the self-realisations and little epiphanies that make us wake up and reinvent.
It’s this journey of creative and personal exploration and reinvention that Lucas relates to the final product of his work with Maclean on this occasion.
“The quarantine suits relate back to my own practice exploring body value systems in queer men, as well as isolating the body as a type of physical symbol for depression. The use of water and metaphor for water within the video acts as a journey and a birth or rebirth of sorts, seeing Maclean reinvent himself, through music/social media/music videos again and again.”
Maclean himself has noted the jarring, slightly distressing nature of the work as being an element of the footage that drew him in and led him to want “Hotel Drowning” to be seen by a wider audience (note, it was turned down by the Brisbane Queer Festival for apparently aiming to ‘Cater to a non-queer audience’).
“…It was later, after watching touch footage of the work, that I realised what an intelligent yet somewhat distressing work this was. It is hard, kind of, to expose yourself – not the nudity – it’s more those glimpses, those tipsy stares at the wall that make me blush a little. It’s nice to post something which gives away an unsure moment in my whole career.”
Featuring an original score created especially for the film entitled “New York Let’s You Know”, “Hotel Drowning” is captivating and can be viewed below. Access the score HERE.