Floating cigarettes and fish-headed jazz players feature in Puma Blue's surreal new music video for track As Is, which is directed by Alice Bloomfield.
The animated music video, which is created in a style of illustration similar to The Simpsons, features a man searching for a past lover in an underwater city. It is intended as a metaphor for depression.
"We wanted to visualise the sense of being haunted by a past relationship, needing to let go but maybe not being quite able to yet. And the immersion in water acted as a perfect metaphor for depression and the feeling of being under a weight and lost in the blue," Bloomfield told Dezeen.
"It was also important to me not to include any other people in the video, only musician-fish hybrids, to solidify the feeling of loneliness and not having anyone to reach out to," she explained.
The video begins at dusk in a cityscape, where a faceless protagonist drops his cigarette on the floor outside a cinema titled Puma Blue. As the sky gets darker, the clouds turn into bubbles and individual cigarettes are shown to float out of a packet in his hand.
The protagonist wanders the empty streets to a jazz bar, which is occupied by three fish-headed jazz players performing to a deserted room with furniture that floats in the air.
Upon deciding to leave the bar, he is greeted by a black shadow. The closing frame depicts the protagonist walking by the sea in the dark.
The video consists of 1,200 individual drawings, which took Bloomfield approximately a month to animate. Each frame was drawn in a sketchbook first before being recreated in Photoshop and animated.
"Although this might sound like a lot of time to some people, it is the most satisfying thing to watch your drawings come to life after so much work," she said.
"The process also always pushes you to learn so many new things, not only technical software skills but bits like how to draw a face from every single angle," she continued.
Bloomfield was given creative freedom when conceiving the visual language for As Is. She was inspired by the Instagram account Scenic Simpsons, which features stills of backgrounds and inanimate objects from The Simpsons.
"It is interesting how still and beautiful some of the images are even though they’re in such a bold cartoon style," she explained.
She was also influenced by the cinematic style of film Enter the Void by director Gaspar Noe. "He uses a lot of gaudy flashing neon lights which mask an undertone of melancholy and futility which is present throughout the film," said Bloomfield.
"Whether people are trying to hide their sorrows under the colourful lights or simply distract themselves, there is something just so enticing about this contrast between this nightlife and the deeper emotions going on beneath," she explained.