Thornhill take us behind Where We Go When We Die's video

Thornhill take us behind Where We Go When We Die's video

Arriving ahead of their new album The Dark Pool later this month, the video also comes with a bunch of tour dates.

Header image by Ethan Zahorodnyj.

For a band whose only been a rising force in Australia's heavy music realm for a year or two now, Thornhill are surprisingly slick. Since their second EP, last year's Butterfly, redefined the group and their increasing status in Australia's heavy rock sphere after the success of their debut two years prior, the group have only come to grow and continually evolve. In this time, they've gradually building themselves a fanbase amongst the genre's most loyal and dedicated, with everyone from Northlane to Parkway Drive included within this legion of fans, both acts inviting Thornhill to tour alongside them on support.

In the past twelve months, however, Thornhill's continual growth as a band has become its most apparent thus far, their realised vision for the band and its exciting future fleshed out as they strive towards the release of their debut album The Dark Pool, out October 25th via UNFD. Through its tastes thus far - CovenNurture and this week's arrival Where We Go When We Die - it's clear that the album is out to showcase what Thornhill do best, their brilliance and craft executed to the highest level with the larger album-length giving them the room to prove their versatility and range.

Where We Go When When We Die, the latest track, is jagged and rough - not in the way that feels DIY-shaded or unfinished, instead it's a purposeful move; the ferocity of their sound amplified through rushing guitars and vocals that pierce over the top, like a wall of sound you'd almost want to run into. "This song is not purely about whether religions and idols are real, or if there is anything after death, but more the fact that we try to fast track our lives to get to that 'paradise' more than we spend realising that we live in it," says the band's vocalist, Jacob Charlton. "It’s more about killing our paradise (earth) now with hopes of finding another one or just shrugging it off to let future generations solve when it could truly become unsolvable."

It arrives with an official video clip produced and directed by Kieran Ellis-Jones (Crystal Arrow Films), which doubles down on the single's slight apocalyptic touch theme-wise, as Jacob continues to explain: "I love all of that end-of-the-world stuff and I love horror movies, so this is just building on my love for that," he says. "I think the song itself acts as a bit of a movie, it goes for 5 and-a-half minutes and has ups and downs and goes in all different places. It’s a real journey of a song and I think that’s what is expressed in the music video."

There's plenty more to come. As mentioned, on October 25th, the band will share their debut album The Dark Pool, and following that, will tour the east-coast this November with a handful of special guests. Check out the clip below, the tour dates below that, and then go behind-the-scenes of the video's creation with the band, who walk us through a couple of images taken at location. 

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Jacob: In this picture, Elwood’s character has been beamed up into the ships and she is experiencing her life over and over again. As she remembers each time they become harder to recollect and start to get blurry and painful.

Kieran: I never like to go too in-depth with the meanings and plot details behind my clips because the audience will often create their own deeper meanings far more profound than anything I originally had in mind. However, this particular scene represents our main protagonist Elwood in a state of limbo reliving flashes and memories of another life.

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Jacob: The water here is ice cold, we spent hours trying to heat it with the kettle but couldn’t really change the temperature, luckily Elwood was the toughest person in the room and smashed through it.

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Kieran: Elwood was so incredible to work with for someone so young still learning her craft. The dynamic of Anne and Mathew really rounded out what we wanted to represent as that wholesome loving family. Could not have been happier with everyone’s work ethic and the performances in front of the camera. We had a very sneaky cameos from Elwood’s real mother as a concerned citizen as well as myself as the hijacker.

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Jacob: I came to Kez with these concepts because he has a very similar vision to me in terms of themes and characters and is very easy to bounce ideas off, especially when he’s telling me how stupidly expensive some of them are before I really go in-depth. We’ve worked closely with Kez for four videos now so it was an easy choice. We had wanted to work with Ed Reiss for a while now but never got the chance so it was sick to have both of them working together on both of the videos. I didn’t know much about anything else such as makeup and VFX but a huge thanks to Dylan Shaw and Kate Ryan for smashing it.

Kieran: Being able to step away from the camera to focus on Producing and Directing was a great experience and something I’d love to be able to do more of going forward. When it came to choosing who was going to pick up the camera and take on the role of the DOP Ed Reiss was really the only choice. I’ve known Ed for around six years now and we’d been talking of doing a collaboration almost the entire time. Ed was a huge part of the creative force behind this clip and I was constantly blown away watching the monitor as he framed up some incredible shots. Dylan Shaw was my go-to VFX magician and was on hand to turn my post-it note drawing into a really viable space ship, couldn’t have been more stoked with all the little touches he added. A huge shout out to Miki Simankevicius, Kate Ryan and Scott Pope for rounding out the crew that put this together, we truly wouldn’t have been able to do this without all of them.

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Jacob: A funny one for the band was playing in the smoke and fire. Everyone had so much soot in their nose and hands that we kept rubbing it all over our face and every time we blew our noses it was all black, and that lasted for a couple of days. Felt like we smoked a full pack of Winnie blues each.

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Jacob: This is actually my suitcase and all my mum and sister’s clothes because I didn’t know what girls wear, I just packed as much stuff from their wardrobe as I could fit!

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Jacob: I really wanted a young girl who was a similar age to Asher who could express the fear I was imagining, and Elwood really smashed what I thought was possible. For someone so young she really has the chops and I hope she gets more opportunities to showcase that. Anne and Mathew really nailed what I wanted from the parents, I always envisioned a younger couple to show the panic when their child is in danger and they really smoked my expectations.

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Kieran: The drawing we see on Elwood’s notepad is a foreshadow of the events to come. Honestly the symbol was just something I drew up on a notepad last minute and I wasn’t even sure if we were definitely going to be able to have the object in the sky be the same shape, but in the end it all came together perfectly.

This scene also represents the first red light appearance which is a constant reoccurrence throughout the clip. Jacob and I discussed the use of the strong red light to represent the antagonist and a way to unite the band performance and narrative scene.

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Jacob: In this picture I’m actually making a better version of what we used for the Reptile music video, because we had the experience in building this it took half the time and didn’t flood the room. After filming Reptile I realised how passionate I was for film and creating, this combined with experience in carpentry from my dad meant that we had the ability to actually make our own sets which made the experience more streamlined compared to hiring someone else to do it.

Kieran: Where We Go When We Die is the fourth Thornhill music video I’ve worked closely with Jacob to create. Having someone within the band have such a strong thematic vision for both the music and visuals has resulted in some of my most ambitious work thus far. If we had the budgets to create what Jacob’s mind comes up with we’d be scarily close to some Christopher Nolan spec universe. For both Nurture and Where We Go When We Die I was able to step back from camera duties to focus on the overall production and big picture.

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Kieran: We actually had to overlap shooting days for Nurture and Where We Go When We Die as it was the only way to make both clips doable within the budget. It was certainly a challenge swapping between narratives and scene setups between the days and trying not to forget anything but we somehow pulled it altogether thanks to four very large days.

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Jacob: In this shot, Elwood is drawing the ships that appear in the sky, part of the main plot is that children can see the invasion happen before anyone else can, if you re-watch Nurture you might find the ships and hints throughout. Such as the red light at the end of the video which foreshadows the events unfolding in Where We Go When We Die. This represents a sort of searchlight that targets adults and vaporises them, as the extra-terrestrial beings require children for the “dark pools”.

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Jacob: This video is closely related to the meaning of the song while adding a sci-fi twist to it, instead of showing how we ourselves are killing our world I thought I’d show it in a way that displays the human reaction to crisis. This video ties into the meaning of the record in discussing what it means to be human, what it means to lose it all in search of something more. In this universe Kez and I created, Elwood had it all, a happy family and a lovely home but she lost it, in Nurture, the lead character Asher had nothing to begin with but they ended up in the same place. We all come from different places with different qualities of life but in the end, we’ll all die together if we don’t take action.

Kieran: I think for myself the plot and themes represented are kind of ingrained with my own existential crisis surrounding the current state of the planet environmentally, politically and socially. The want to pull the blindfold off myself and others to make positive change however feelings of struggle and defeat make it all the more difficult. Our protagonist Elwood experiences the arrival of otherworldly objects in the sky causing the disappearance of many and the chaos of all. She loses her parents and everyone around her before finding a like-minded soul in Asher before they both experience acceptance being floated into the sky. Whether this is an admittance of defeat or the only way to continue to survive I’d like to leave open ended.

Tour Dates: 

Friday November 15 – Stay Gold, Melbourne (18+) - SOLD OUT
Saturday November 23 – The Brightside, Brisbane (18+)
Sunday November 24 – Lansdowne Hotel, Sydney (18+)
Friday November 29 – Enigma Bar, Adelaide (18+)

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