cSongwriter, singer, and author Jehnny Beth has released the emotionally stirring video for her vulnerable new single ‘French Countryside’. The raw and haunting video was directed by Johnny Hostile and filmed at their studio in France. The track, written with Romy Madley Croft and Johnny Hostile, is taken from her critically-acclaimed debut solo album To Love Is To Live, which came out last year.
‘This is the song that caused me the most issues. Up until the last week of mixing we didn’t have a version I was happy with, but I am very proud of it now. I almost didn’t put it on the record because it is so close to the bone it almost feels too self indulgent, but it was my intention to write a song that felt more vulnerable than anything I had ever written before’ Jehnny said of the track. ‘Romy was a huge influence for me to be able to do that. It’s a promise song, I wrote the verses on a plane as I was convinced it was going to crash. I was making promises to myself about what I was going to do differently if I survived. Death has been very present in my mind during the process of writing this record. It all started around Bowie’s death.’
Romy adds “She played me the beginning lines and they were so instantly visual and different to anything I’d heard her say before, it was instantly a beautiful place to write from and explore.” She continues “It felt like her guard was dropping for a moment and she was inviting the listener in to get to know her vulnerable side, but with a sense that this invitation wouldn’t last for very long. Hearing the album version made me cry because it felt like it was my friend Camille, as I know her, a window behind the Jehnny Beth that the world sees”
To Love Is To Live was recorded in Los Angeles, London, and Paris, and features a number of collaborators, including producers Flood, Atticus Ross, and longtime co-creator Johnny Hostile. It also features guest turns from The xx’s Romy Madley Croft, actor Cillian Murphy, and IDLES’ Joe Talbot.
Jehnny also released her debut collection of short stories, Crimes Against Love Memories (C.A.L.M), alongside a limited edition art book of photographs taken by Johnny Hostile on 9th July 2020 via White Rabbit. Both books are designed by Brian Roettinger from Willo Perron studio. A manifesto in the form of erotic monologues and dialogues, set to arouse and enlighten, Beth’s stories are punctuated by Hostile’s intimate photographs: they are the seeds from which her stories grew.
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