Watch Nine of Swords’ “What Is Love” video from visual version of ‘Beyond The Swords’ LP
Philly/NYC punks Nine of Swords (whose drummer TJ is also in Soul Glo) recently released their new album, Beyond The Swords, via Quiet Year. It's their first in six years, and it continues to perfect Nine of Swords' fusion of chaotic '90s-style screamo and traditional '80s-style hardcore. They've also teamed up with director Shannon Brooks on a visual version of the entire album, and we're now premiering Shannon's video for "What Is Love," which stars Maddie Hopfield and Kimya Jackson. Here's what Shannon tells us about the video:
This film originally was the story of a sleepwalker, but as I kept asking myself 'where is the sleepwalker going?' I realized this was more of a spell, a ritual, a set of tasks completed in a specific order for a specific result, a dimension blending performance for the underworlds.
We follow the journey of many sleepwalkers, roaming around and performing specific actions - digging a bucket up from the ground, unraveling a crochet rag, dragging the bucket filled with water through South Philly, screaming at a passing train or in a river. We travel from task to task, sleepwalker to sleepwalker using dream logic - anything goes and makes perfect nonsense. Towards the end we reach the climax of the spell and catalyze a bacchanal celebrating the damned (JOAN), then ultimately we return to the artist or creator (FALSE MOON REDUX).
In WHAT IS LOVE there is a blending of time and tasks. The sleepwalkers, performed by Maddie Hopfield and Kimya Jackson, are both unraveling the red cloth and running with the bucket. Maddie and Kimya are powerful performers and improvisors. They are able to trust themselves (and me) enough to fully dive into a situation, realm, or dream. On set we were able to discuss what step in the spell needed to be completed and then run with it. With each portion of this film the performers and I set out to create magic together and then simply use the camera to document what happens.
The story and tone of the film were drawn from the music and lyrics. I would spend hours walking and dancing around my neighborhood trying to conjure up these images. The undercurrent of magic and crossing over to other dimensions was born from Rachel Gordon's screams, pleads, and growels.
I am grateful for how much the band trusted me - a trust we started to build at Purchase College over 7 years ago. This trust allowed the images and story to go anywhere and be anything.
There are threads on influence from filmmakers like Maya Deren, Kenneth Anger, and Jack Smith -- my weird, queer, magical, dancing, film, kin.
Check out the video and stream the full LP below...