New Music: Karl S Williams - Is This Love [Premiere] + BTS Photo Exclusive

New Music: Karl S Williams - Is This Love [Premiere] + BTS Photo Exclusive

A new single, Bluesfest shows, national tour, music video feat. Thelma Plum and more.

Guitar slinging, banjo-wielding man of impeccable hirsuteness, Karl S Williams is kicking 2015 off with a massive heap of news, which we're gonna do the best we can in wrapping up in this post. After a barnstorming 2014 that saw a record deal with Warner's indie imprint Footstomp Music which lead to the release of his debut album, two national headline tours, wowing punters and industry alike at BigSOUND and CMJ Music Marathon and more, he's grabbing this year by the horns with a new single, a new video clip featuring Thelma Plum, and a heap of huge shows. He'll be joining uber-chiller Donavon Frankenreiter as part of his Bluesfest sideshow on April 16 at The Triffid, before embarking on an national tour of his own to celebrate new single Is this Love, with a video on the way featuring leading lady Thelma Plum. 

You can stream Is This Love below, which was mixed by legendary producer Victor Van Vugt, who in the past has worked with the likes of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Beth Orton, PJ Harvey and Sarah Blasko. Along with premiering the single, we were fortunate enough to get a few behind the scenes snaps from that video clip shoot, which you can check out after the stream and read up on some notes from Williams himself, before taking in his Australian tour dates below that:


Below are a few stills from the video for ‘Is This Love?’, though I feel like the true magic all happened on the other side of the camera and I wish we captured a few images of that. Our director Kate O’Sullivan gathered such a powerful force of positive energy that the time passed really quickly and any misgivings I had about my ability to act out this role (which were many indeed) were forgotten.

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You may recognise the face of the amazing woman who (very convincingly) is sleeping on my shoulder as we drive through the anonymous night. Yes, I was very blessed to have my friend Thelma Plum join me as the female protagonist in this video. The opening scene represents the no-man's-land in this fictive romance. We are contentedly propelled through it in a warm bubble, perhaps oblivious to the notion that the journey may end. 

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On day two of shooting we found ourselves on the bank of the Brisbane River at sunset. It was a perfect setting for Thelma and I to have a little jam. She played a Nora Jones song and I plucked along on my banjo, Bettie Mae. I’ve spent a lot of time gazing out off river banks, I grew up by the Richmond River in Northern New South Wales, so it was a pretty natural place to sit and play. 

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Fast forward in the chronology of the romance that we played out and here is my character cast as the hapless observer (and server of beverages) in the ‘Bar of Lost Souls’ (as our director Kate O’ Sullivan named it). The Bearded Lady in West End is the archetypal bar and in this incarnation is a place to which battered hearts are drawn, to wallow, commiserate and (we hope) mend. Into this scene unwittingly steps Thelma’s character with a new lover and pictured is the moment where we lock eyes and recall that line from Casablanca... both of us probably wishing we could turn into smoke. 

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This is a beautiful shot of Thelma, once again in the Bar Of Lost Souls. In the video, her new lover ignores her pleas to leave and insists they sit down for a drink. I feel this shot captures perfectly a moment of deep contemplation as so many thoughts and emotions suddenly somersault through this character’s mind. Caught between old love and new. Thelma played it expertly.

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I like this shot for the Yin and Yang. Much of the story of this clip is told through a juxtaposition of then and now, together and apart. Maybe I’m being oblique and metaphorical but I suppose I see that light and shade as representing the two sides of this imagined romance and if you follow me down that rabbit hole, you arrive at the notion that in all things exist their counterpart. So, although here we are in the ‘apart’ stage, somewhere at the heart there is still togetherness. A pile of shared memories and experiences... it’s a hopeful thought.

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This is the punctuation mark at the end of our story, it was nice to butt heads with an old friend and make believe for a while. In the end, the title of the song is a question; ‘Is This Love?’ There’s a special kind of melancholy to that, which is at the heart of the song and I hope we have conveyed some of that essence in this video.


karl s williams is this love tour

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