Josh's Personal Thoughts on the "Always Two" Video
The Silent Comedy recently released a video for our song "Always Two". Reaction to it has been powerful and mixed. Neither the band as an entity, its members as people, or the director, have any desire to engage in fruitless social media spats about it. We shared some thoughts from the video's director, HERE, and ultimately it is up to each individual to decide how they feel about it.
I was contacted personally for comment by San Diego City Beat's music editor Jeff Terich. I respect Jeff's journalistic professionalism in reaching out for a perspective from someone involved in the video's release, and I sent him some of my personal feelings on the subject. The piece Jeff wrote can be found HERE. Every interview is edited at the journalist's discretion, but I thought that some folks may be curious what I said that didn't make the cut. My responses to Jeff's questions sum up my thoughts on the entire issue, so I decided to post them here for the perusal of anyone who cares to know. Jeff's questions are in bold, and my responses follow.
A few days ago, I personally reached out to Justine Marzoni, who wrote a letter to the band articulating her perspective. I offered to discuss and address her concerns. At the time of this posting, she has not returned my call.
How much involvement did you have in the “Always Two” and “God Neon” videos? Was it mostly the director’s vision, or did you work closely with her? And if so, what was it that you wanted to express with these clips?
Both storylines were the director’s vision. A brief overview of her thoughts behind them can be found here: https://thesilentcomedy.squarespace.com/news/2013/12/17/thoughts
We had an open dialogue about the concepts, but ultimately tried to honor her artistic vision.
Some people were upset by the depiction of sexual violence and how it could have been interpreted in “Always Two.” Was there any concern beforehand about how people might perceive the clip?
I’d like to be clear about something: the video does not depict sexual violence. That is an assumption made by a small group of people who misinterpreted it. The intention of the piece was to observe a moment in the life of someone caught in a physically abusive relationship, and the difficult choices they face. The extent of the abuse was intentionally left ambiguous because it is not a necessary component to the story.
As far as concern about perception, all artistic works are open for interpretation. When you release a creative work into the world, it will undoubtedly be misinterpreted. We have experienced this with every song, every video, and every piece of content we have ever released. Both the beauty and controversy of art lie in its subjectivity, and the ability of the viewer/listener to interpret it in whatever way they choose.
In spite of inflamed passions, it seems to have sparked some real discussion – would you ultimately like to see works of art like these lead to a more constructive conversation? What else would you like to add that might not have been addressed?
The primary songwriters of The Silent Comedy (my brother Jeremiah and I) have a long-standing history of presenting very challenging subject matter in our art. When we address these types of issues, our intention is always to inspire a constructive conversation.
We are sons of a pastor who spent our early life traveling the world in an effort to help people in need. We have seen both terrible and beautiful things, and bring that life experience to our creative expression. Our body of work speaks for itself. We have songs that deal with slavery, murder, greed, suicide, substance abuse, corruption, human trafficking, domestic violence, and a host of other problems that plague humanity. We have tried our best to use this material to inspire discussion, and ultimately, positive action. Our partnership in September with Sound Off Apparel to raise funds to combat human trafficking is the most recent example of those efforts.
I would like to add that we would urge people to channel their passion about this issue into positive action. Making a donation to organizations like the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence is a great way to start doing that.
Public shaming is an ongoing social problem that is amplified by the internet. It takes many forms, and accusing a group of people involved in an artistic project based on misguided assumptions is one of them. Unfortunately, misogyny is a charge that is easy to apply to almost anyone, and nearly impossible to effectively refute. Doing something positive to help combat a disturbing social issue is a much more effective use of energy.