We are honoured to be able to present an exclusive look at the video for Perth musician/songwriter Michael Day‘s enigmatic track ‘The Psych or the Priest’, due for release tomorrow (30 September).
Day says the track deals with uncertainty:
The feeling of sinking. Unsure if you’re the victim or the culprit. Hurting in the midst of confusion and unsure of who you are is the basis of ‘Psych or the Priest’.
It is a moving and ambulatory song – imbued with a sense of yearning and regret and shimmering with an acoustic, organic base. Day’s voice is velvet soft with layers of delicious harmonies tripping over a gently picking banjo, harmonica and a stirring horn/string bed. Day draws influence from the likes of Gregory Alan Isakov as he ruminates on the topic of anxiety and depression that often impacts his life:
The song started as a reflection on the emotions I had around the time, specifically the feeling of drowning. As I sat on a train, thinking about the past number of years, thinking ‘What just happened?’, I felt like I was watching life as a montage and had no control over any of it, which left me feeling somewhat sad and useless, and maybe for the first time, I felt the feeling of hopelessness.
The video, shot and edited by Harry Blyth, follows the protagonist through breathtakingly beautiful scenery that is somehow ominous and threatening, weighed down by baggage, constantly changing his appearance until he sinks from view. Loaded with meaning – the portrayal of mutability, transience and the emotional burdens we all carry through our journey – we are essentially all that isolated figure lost in a large anonymous environment, struggling with change on our individual journeys.
The locale and environment are very personal for Day, who grew up in the area where the video takes place. He says of the themes:
In light of the heavy nature of the song, the idea of weight was a big concept I wanted to portray. The idea that as we go through life heavy things continue to happen to us and sometimes it’s a feeling of compounding weight, that it gets bigger and more. The concept was to keep adding bags of weight and changing clothes symbolising different life stages or changes. The more we go through life the more hard things hit us and weigh us down. We go on carrying this baggage. We struggle with mental health or the different challenges life throws at us and one day we die. Life is hard.
And yet somewhere deep in that despair, there ultimately an element of hope and escape from the temporal clutches of existence at the end:
‘Psych or the Priest’ is out tomorrow (30 September 2022 and available to pre-save now here.
Day will be launching the single at the following dates (details and tickets available here):
Saturday October 15 | Clancy’s Fish Pub, Fremantle | 18+ (Tickets)
Friday October 7 | Wilson Brewery, Albany | All Ages | (Free Entry)
Saturday October 8 | White Star Hotel, Albany | 18+ | (Free Entry)
Sunday October 9 | Hilton Garden Inn, Albany | All Ages | (Free Entry)
Feature Photograph: Rhyan Lyndon-James