Of Monsters and Men's Video for "Empire" Is Magical and Totally 'Harold and Maude'

And 'Harold and Maude' is only one of the best movies ever. Also, the Icelandic quintet's new tune is straight gorgey.

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Aug 6 2015, 1:10pm



I'd like to address this up top: If you haven't seen Harold and Maude it's important that you rectify the situation at your earliest convenience. The 1971 film is one of best around: poignant, blackly humorous, and a fantastic reminder to live life by your own rules and sometimes, feelings are simply inexplicable.

In it the lead character, Harold (played by Bud Cort) meets Maude and it's a marriage of minds between a 20-something who feels out of step with the world and a rebellious octogenarian, and the whole story boasts a kickass soundtrack by Cat Stevens. Truly: it's a don't miss movie.

Anyway, this leads us nicely to the video for "Empire," by Icelandic quintet Of Monsters and Men, which we're premiering below. Lifted from their second LP, Beneath the Skin, which dropped this past June, OMAM specialize in a rousing, warm brand of indie which occasionally embraces a folk-imbued delicacy and at other turns burst into full on baroque pop flourishes. "Empire" ticks all these boxes, particularly in its surging, heart-swelling chorus, meanwhile the video, captured in hazy, sun flared black and white, is a clear nod to the aforementioned cult film.

Director Tabitha Denholm—who's conceived videos for Haim and Florence and the Machine—had this rather eloquent statement to convey with regards to her vision.

"We see the same fanciful ideas of women's sexuality again and again in music videos which I find it hard to relate to. So when OMAM said they wanted to make a video about a forbidden relationship I was excited! I want to make videos with stories about women that we don’t usually see.

"This is a Harold and Maude type relationship. The older character actually has the more youthful, liberated spirit which inspires the jaded youngster. It's a twist on the conventions of age that is often borne out in real life. The fact that they are both women has a magical dimension in that Ingmari the elder can see herself in Erika, but i think the profound effect one person can have on another is quite magical.

"From the inception I had the model Erika Linder in mind for the younger character. She is uniquely stunning, famously she modelled as a boy and a girl but foremost she is just Erika. The way she exists beyond convention made her perfect for this project. Then the moment I saw a picture of Ingmari Lamy I knew she had that luminescent quality it would take to make the relationship believable. She was a big model in the 60s discovered by Bob Richardson but if anything she has grown more beautiful with age. Spending time with her in LA I have never known anyone to get so much attention for their looks form random passers by.

"Coincidentally we had to fly both ladies in from Sweden (although it took a while to track Ingmari down because she was in a cosmic a retreat with no communication with the outside). There is something timeless about that Swedish aesthetic that helped to sell the idea that the characters were deeply connected."

Beneath the Skin is out now via Republic.

Kim Taylor Bennett would like a car that's half coupe half hearst. She's on Twitter.