Bess Atwell’s new Candid video evokes the Summer Of Love and more

Camcorder captures Spring/Summer Candid video story home-movie style

Thursday, April 27, 2017 — Bess Atwell is in the mood for Summer 2017. Bess will play two prestigious UK festivals: The Great Escape Festival in May, followed by the Green Man Festival in August. It seems 1967’s Summer Of Love somehow suffuses Bess’ new video ‘Candid’, complete with its psychedlic dreamy, playful, seasonal home-movie feel and standard aspect ratio. But for the full story, read on.

When it comes to film-making, Bess Atwell, 22, and director Chloe Sheppard have interesting ideas. Let’s do something different went the thinking. What’s with today’s fixation with widescreen, for example? Widescreen is very often talking heads to either side. And nothing in the center. Or it’s the subject, with nothing on either side. A gamut of color movie classics are happily not widescreen; think, say, the wonderful color noir ‘Leave Her To Heaven’. And neither was television. And neither were yesterday’s memory-provoking, thought-provoking home movies. 'Candid' was shot on an old camcorder.

So it is partly the home-movie films of yesteryear that provide inspiration for Bess Atwell’s new video. And the video is a wonderful extension of the song, adding extra dreamlike dimensions, including an appealing dash of pathos, and perhaps revealing ghosts that haunt us, just as it should. Bess edited the video herself.

"Candid focuses on the frustration of two people loving each other but lacking the communication to express it in a way that the other understands. The song was inspired by a break up, but I suppose it’s a universal experience and relevant to any type of close relationship. I wanted the video to depict a sisterly bond as it’s not something you see portrayed much on screen. I grew up with an autistic sister, and many of the same themes and feelings present in the song were relevant to our relationship. I couldn’t communicate with her in a way that she understood easily, or comfort her when she was distressed. 

I got to work with one of my favourite photographers, Chloe Sheppard, on this project. She has a knack for provoking nostalgia through her images which I thought would really lend itself to the concept of the video. The shoot was fun and very casual. Chloe and our lovely actress Esther came out to Sussex and we just hung out and filmed - it felt more like a group of friends working on an art project together as we're all around the same age. It was great to work with, and support, an entire team of girls in such a male dominated industry. The video was shot on an old camcorder to give it a playful, home-video impression, reminiscent of memories of family and old friendships," says Bess.

Bess Atwell grew up most recently in Lewes but now lives near to the sea, in Brighton, on the South coast of England. These days Brighton is a magnet for creative types of all kinds. It’s a great place to be. And naturally Summer is a special time for Bess. Even if sometimes, as you might guess from her music, it’s not quite as simple as that. Anyway, this year Bess is looking forward to her festival appearances and more besides. Top radio DJ Steve Lamacq has been playing ‘Candid’ on his BBC 6 Music show. Bess is rehearsing her new band. And here comes Summer!

'Candid’ is the follow up single to Bess’ debut single ‘Cobbled Streets’. And both songs are from her debut album ‘Hold Your Mind’, which has gradually propelled Bess into the spotlight.

“There’s something going on here…this is special” Jim Kerr of Simple Minds.

‘Candid’ video release: due first week in May 2017.

Bess Atwell plays The Great Escape Festival: May 20th 2017.

Bess Atwell plays The Green Man Festival: mid August 2017 date tbc.

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Bess Atwell - Candid

Bess Atwell photo by Tom Sheehan
Bess Atwell - Candid video still