Video Exclusive: Benefits – Flag | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Loving your flag is so on trend right now. Politicians, newspaper editors, far-right organisations, sports fans and people nostalgic for the good old days of war and imperialism are obsessed with getting a Union Jack or a St George’s flag involved at every opportunity… and those who are overwhelmed with national pride, without question, think it is great. 

In amongst all the symbolism, patriotism and various other ‘isms’ that have us reaching for the standard, Teesside noise merchants and satirists of modernity, Benefits will be dropping a two and a half minute injection of seething sounds accompanied by a poetic dissection of the flag, to help us understand the power it has over us. It’s out tomorrow (19th February), so add it to your ‘Rule Britannia’ playlist on Spotify and “wave your f**king flag”.

Speaking of visual aids, the song comes with a striking video, which sees frontman Kingsley Chapman menacingly lurking and gyrating in the back alleys of the North-East (not many flags mind… shame) and we’re delighted to get an exclusive look at it. But first, to add to your viewing/listening pleasure, the man himself tells us more…

“The video was filmed in the alleys around the back of my house and was shot by a brilliant 16 year old lad called Mike Carey who lives a few doors down. I’m friends with his parents (one is an amazing abstract painter and the other a great photographer) and had heard he was handy with a camera so asked them if he’d like to help put some shine on my sketchy pop video plans.  

“I wanted the video to feel like a progression from our previous one and had planned to plan it in meticulous detail, honestly, I did. I had all these grandiose ideas of Steadicam running sequences and big, majestic shots of the Teesside panoramic but ahhh… We ended up just meeting in the alley and basically mashed the idea together ten minutes before Mike pressed the record button. It’s meant to lull you in a bit with familiarity (or repel you, depending on how much you like our band) and then halfway through it flips slightly and changes pace, mirroring the song. Then it has another final gear change and ramps everything up a bit further for the ending. It’s all pretty simple stuff but that was always the intention, extravagance doesn’t really fit with what we’re trying to say and document. 

“The song is about trying to understand what Britain is today as I’m completely confused by it all, it’s just a mess. I’m sick to death of politicians using nationalism as a red, white and blue seducer to drag our eyes and brains away from the calamity we live in. The weird obsession this country has with war; the arrogance of how we think we’re perceived by the rest of the world; and the misguided view that by being patriotic you somehow paper over the crack of simultaneously despising millions of your countrymen, presumably including fellow patriots. The video had to look like a semi-final defeat and stink of old wars and I think we achieved that.”

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