East London based singer-songwriter, guitarist and producer Harry Jay-Steele shares the animated visual for his recently released single Wish For One Night, the first track taken from his debut which is due for release this fall via eclectic audiophile label Naim Records.
Inspired by anime classics like Akira and Neo Tokyo and sci-fi films such as Blade Runner, the animated video is largely set in a futuristic Japanese city, loosely based on Tokyo. Written by Harry himself and animated by Venezuelan illustrator Jesús David Mora, the animation tells the story of a young man isolated in a dense urban world whose only source of hope are the nighttime messages exchanged with his virtual love interest.
Talking about the making of the video Steele reveals it was written in a time of personal turmoil. I was reckoning with a deteriorating mental state and questioning whether I was losing my sense of self in the process. Loosely inspired by Haruki Murakami’s novel and its adapted film Norwegian Wood, Steele developed the video’s storyline around Japans high youth suicide. I wanted to convey these same messages but highlight the universality of this experience across the world.
I got in touch with Jesús after seeing a video he made for another London artist I know, Jaz Karis for her song Sugar Don’t Be Sweet. I wrote the script and we worked together on a storyboard for each scene. Clear colour themes were set and we talked about trying to emulate some of the aesthetic of old anime’s 80’s like Akira and Neo Tokyo.
Mora illustrated the bulk of the imagery by hand, using a digital software in combination with programs like Adobe After Effect to enhance and provide further dynamic to the scenes. Sharing the animation process Mora explains; I hand drew a lot of the details then worked with illustrator and After Effect to animate the drawings. I was keen to create a vintage 80’s aesthetic for the video to emulate the feel of the anime coming out of Japan at that time but I was also inspired by modern animations for music videos such as SIAMÉS’s Summer Nights and Childish Gambino’s Feels like summer. I feel that the animation and story line create a powerful parallel message to complement the songs narrative.”
Since his debut Reach You Steele has been praised from the likes of Clash, was featured as Artist of The Day on the pages of Metro, who claimed it’s unusual to hear such diverse sounds on a debut record, and interviewed by Wonderland magazine for their New Noise feature, as well as picking up support from The Huffington Post as their Top 5 acts playing Bestival and Indie Shuffle, as well as free styling with Moses Boyd on his BC 1Xtra residency.
Follow Harry Jay-Steele: