The fourth track on Diamondstein’s forthcoming album Reflecting on a Dying Man (out 10/4 on Doom Trip Records), Antique Stores from Director Vincent René-Lortie – who earlier this year brought us the enigmatic Lady Winter followed by the temporal nightmares of The Man Who Traveled Nowhere in Time – poignantly captures the emotional resonance of a cherished moment the electronic artist shared with his father during his final few months. As part of Antique Stores premiere today René-Lortie and Diamondstein explain the intentions which underpinned this artistic interpretation of the cycle of life, the challenge of living, and the beauty of creation.
Vincent René-Lortie – Director
Ben came to us a couple of years ago with a memory and a song about his father. His story was simultaneously magical and mundane. In this piece, we wanted to explore themes of routine, memory, and loss. Together, with choreographer Kyra Jean Green, we created a story about two forgotten inanimate figures. Every night, the figures come to life and dance with one another in an antique store.
In this piece, we wanted to explore themes of routine, memory, and loss.
My music is designed to incorporate a visual accompaniment, and with each album, I like to work with directors and artists that I believe in and generally let them do what they think to interpret the song. With my first video on this record, I worked together with Nico Poalillo because I wanted to capture the harshness and hopeless of wilderness. So, Nico and I shot that video in the tundra of upstate Michigan in the dead of winter. The song was harsh, and both the video and song were meant to capture the unforgiving harshness of the experience and world where the album is meant to take place.
With this video, as a direct antithesis to the first video, I wanted to capture the tenderness of the record, by way of probably the most tender song on the album. While recording the album, I met Brittney Canda, the choreographer of the video and an absolutely terrific dancer. Montreal and the Montreal community plays an unlikely role in the emotional components of the record, partially because it’s where I finished the album, but also because of the people I became close with through the process. Brittney was one of these people, and so I thought it would be fitting to work with her on this song.
With that, she reached out to her partner Vincent, and we worked together to devise a plot that we thought would fit the song. As often happens with the videos I do, I didn’t want to be overly involved because I wanted it to be interpreted honestly and without too much of my creative input. With the simple story that they laid out, they managed to capture a lot of the nuanced emotions that make the song feel so tender and sad. When I first saw the video, I was worried that romance was a plotline of the film, but every time I watch it, it seems less and less about romance, and more about the feeling of absence left when your partner is no longer there. It’s not a video about romance, it’s a video about codependence, partnership, and nostalgia. And honestly, it traces a little bit of the experience that inspired the song in the first place.
It’s not a video about romance, it’s a video about codependence, partnership, and nostalgia.
My dad and I were never really good friends until the end when he started to think of me as someone who liked a lot of the same things he liked. It’s hard to think of us as friends really, but we were partners, in the end, a bit. He would talk to me about little things that he missed from his younger days. He burned a CD for me once filled exclusively with Allan Parsons Project songs because he knew I was starting to get into synthesizers.
One year for Christmas, he got me this super deluxe edition of Dark Side of the Moon on vinyl, and we listened to it together. He talked to me about his relationship with that album, and how music never sounded as good as it did when he smoked a joint in college and put on that record. It was having someone he could relate to living right inside his house. This is really what the song is about, that kind of tenderness that doesn’t really have to happen between a father and son. It’s about having someone you like who can give you company when you need it. And when that person is gone, there’a really particular kind of sadness that cuts so much more for me, and Brittney/Lael/Vincent really captured this in a truly beautiful way, with stunning visuals, and a very clean concept to drive the piece.