Running Touch on opening up his creative process and his new video for ‘Signs’
The enigma that is Running Touch is the gift that keeps on giving. Consistently evolving and pushing his relentless creativity into new territories, the once-masked maestro has quickly become one of this country’s most exciting and loved named. In 2020, he once again flipped the script, and more recently debuted a more rock-influenced sound than we’ve ever heard from him in this project. Titled ‘Signs’, it heralds in a new era for Running Touch and precedes his forthcoming debut album which is sure to have even more surprises up its sleeve.
At the time of the song’s release, we said it “hits in all the right ways. Maintaining that meticulous attention to detail we’ve come to know and love from Running Touch, we’ve also seen the ‘Signs’ and are welcoming this new chapter with open arms.” Now, he’s gone one step further and has shared some compelling visuals to complement his new single, recruiting Matt Sav (known for his work with Tame Impala) as creative director and Thomas Elliott to shoot the clip.
Of the video, Running Touch said, “My ambition was to pair some vintage personality between the video and song. Something done in one takes and done in film. Everyone has the task right now of trying to work music videos during the pandemic. I just wanted to try to use this opportunity to work toward simplicity.”
“This was the first time I have worked with any third-party creative director, so I felt very safe between their hands. We wanted the aesthetic to nod to videos from across the last 30 years or so. Be true to film. We had just shot and edited all the promo in 48 hours, so it was a blessing to have a look to work towards.
We shot all my takes in Melbourne with myself and Thomas just before our lockdown with Matt filming his shots and editing the project in Perth. I remember how rushed the filming process felt across us knowing we would be going into lockdown in the days following. With Thomos Bolex H16 film camera from the 1960’s, an ancient treadmill from Geelong and our film we shot into the night and by the end of that week would have finished our 3rd round and every piece of promo for signs.”
Matt Sav says of the ‘Signs’ video, “This was my first remotely directed music video. It was actually an interesting challenge making sure the concept was simple enough to work across the country. We were super lucky to work with Melbourne DP Thomas Elliot who smashed the brief. Matt (Running Touch) was great to work with too, he has a very strong aesthetic vision, which I love.“
With his debut album out on the way and the ‘Signs’ video now out in the world, what better time to catch up with the mastermind himself? Here, we dive a bit deeper into the clip, the process behind its creation and what we might be able to expect from Running Touch‘s forthcoming album.
Hey Running Touch! How are you? How are you feeling about ‘Signs’ now that it’s out in the world?
Hey! I’m good thank you. It’s always so fulfilling putting a record out. You forget it in midst of it that it will actually be released.
This is the first time you’ve worked with a third-party creative director, and you said you felt very safe in their hands. What was it about Matt and Thomas that made you feel this safety and trust to work with them so closely?
They both have such strong identities and knowledge across their work. You feel a lot more comfortable when you get that mixture of respect for their work and comfort with working along side them.
This clip came together very quickly! Has lockdown changed the way you approach creativity?
Yes it did. We finished everything for signs in a really small window. Maybe a week? We did all the promo across two days and nights with very little sleep.
I am taking a lot more care in any creative process, but I think that’s just getting older too. Less chaotic maybe.
Given how long you worked on your own on this project for, I imagine it would’ve been a very big personal moment to allow yourself to open up creatively in this way. It’s a big step for anyone. What were you looking for in these new team members, and do you think you’d be able to work with a creative director if they didn’t have this trust from you?
I think it was a really natural moment too. Video is so fickle. Budgets and concepts are just so out of touch with each other, so the moment you have the opportunity to actually realise something quality is beautiful. I have never been able to do that because we’ve never spent money on video, it’s just been me trialing random things. I just wanted people who had a clear vision and who had clear experience in line with the idea we had.
You set out to be true to film in this video and to nod to videos from across the last 30 years or so. Why was it so important for you to do this with this clip for this single, given ‘Signs’ and ‘Meet Me’ before it represents the next evolution of the Running Touch project?
It just has to do with the song’s personality. It felt that way. Focusing on what does this song look like if you were to close your eyes not so much tailoring it to now.
What clips in particular from the last 30 years were you referencing, or what clips over the last 30 years have stuck with you that you tried to emulate with this video?
Radiohead – High and dry, anything by the cure, Blur, anything by spike lee. Anything that gives off that older texture/ anamorphic or film aesthetic. That’s what we were going for with the posterised styled streaks.
You worked with Matt Sav remotely for this as well, in a very “2020” set up given the global circumstances… As an artist in control of so much of his project, was it liberating for you to have things so completely out of your control you kind of had no choice but to just trust the process and trust the people around you?
Absolutely. Matt Sav’s work speaks for itself so I felt both grateful and at ease knowing he was spear heading it!
You’ve also finally announced your debut album is on the way. Given what we have seen and heard so far, what else might we be able to expect from the album?
There are a few turns, but I am definitely trying to stay very close to my roots. The album’s songs are all written based off a colour, so I am hoping that gives a sense of unity.
‘Signs’ is out now. Buy/stream here.
Interview by Emma Jones