Hercules & Love Affair - Are You Still Certain feat. Mashrou' Leila
Deeply melodic and danceable, Are You Still Certain? is an emotional appeal for truth and understanding.
Featuring Hamed Sinno from Mashrou’ Leila, the video pitches the cold hand of the law, the spectre of violence and innocence lost, as a timeless ever-present human struggle. Sinno performs against a series of vignettes that illustrate the ego’s blind pursuit of ‘truth’. It was been directed by Joie Iacono and Andy Butler under their Hoarder alias (in collaboration with Robert Fox).
Taken from the latest Hercules & Love Affair album, ‘Are You Still Certain?’ is at once a balm to cultural tensions and a challenge to misconception and prejudice, written by Butler and Mashrou’ Leila with additional vocals by Rouge Mary.
Mashrou’ Leila are rapidly emerging band from Lebanon now receiving international recognition. The loose collective of students who began jamming together in 2008 at the American University of Beirut has gradually focused into an ambitious, fiercely articulate quartet: vocalist/lyricist Hamed Sinno, guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Firas Abou Fakher, violinist Haig Papazian, and drummer Carl Gerges. And the music they make has focused, too, into a charged, atmospheric version of pop that is geographically impossible to place. The lyrics draw on their collective experiences, which the band shares with the youth of the Middle East, and addresses the need for self-expression and a judgment free culture— a notion often stifled in a conservative society. Through their relevant and charged lyrics, their music has resonated with fans all over the globe. CNN has described Mashrou’ Leila as “The voice of their generation” while the Financial Times have called them “The Arab world’s most influential independent band”.
Here is an all star cast for the Hercules & Love Affair video for ‘Rejoice". Andy Butler explains, ”So after six years of us never appearing in a Hercules and Love Affair video (more by accident than design), I wanted us to appear in the video for ‘Rejoice’. Rouge Mary is such a ferocious performer so it was kind of a no brainer. We had to capture that energy in this video.”
Enter Cybersissy (fine artist Antoine Timmermans) and BayBJane (Mourad Z.). Colourful, outrageous, androgynous, humorous and completely different, just some of adjectives you could reach for in vain to describe the creations of Cybersissy and her muse BayBJane. A partnership founded in the Cologne club Lulu, they have become something of a performance art phenomenon. Standing on the shoulders of many before her, Cybersissy’s visions for this nightlife duo springboard off of the trailblazing work of Leigh Bowery and early NYC/London nightlife, incorporating her education and prodigious talents as a painter and mixed media artist. From Cologne, to London, taking in Pike’s Ibiza and beyond, BayBJane has become one of the most popular performers around. And at 148cm tall, she is perhaps, the smallest Drag Queen in the world.
Directed by Will Kennedy, the video for Rejoice is a dazzling and joyously bewildering film. “As a foil to Rouge’s performance, director Will Kennedy wanted to capture some of the club community around us, some that embody the essence of the message of the song.” says Andy, “Will has a great mixed media style and a documentary angle in his work. Rouge and I felt that two boundary pushing drag performers, who we love so much, Cybersissy and BayBJane would fit the bill perfectly. We met them at the wonderfully debauched club Hotel Shanghai in Essen Germany. They have triumphed in the face of much adversity in their lives, and channel that triumphant and joyful spirit into brilliant otherworldly characters that they bring into the nightclub. I am so happy with what Will has captured and put together. It is bursting with colour and conveys Cybersissy and BayBJane's boundless creativity and beautiful spirits. They personify Rouge Mary's wonderful lyrics.“
Hercules & Love Affair return to the fray with Controller, a pulsing, propulsive new song that signals the first salvo from their long-awaited new album. Featuring The Horrors’ Faris Badwan on vocals, it takes the Hercules’ disco-house heritage and fuses it with starker more experimental stylings.
A taster both sonically and aesthetically of the new album, 'Controller' connects new wave, post-punk and 80s electro within the clubland realm of Hercules & Love Affair. Hearing the The Horrors’ live version of Frankie Knuckles & Jamie Principle’s ‘Your Love’, Andy realised he’d found a rock artist willing to engage with dance culture's history. With its underbelly of seamy ‘80s electro-pop, Controller’s sub-dom, master-and-servant roleplay in the lyrics work perfectly with Faris vocals delivery creating something rather special.