Gruff Rhys Shares “Selfies in the Sunset” Video Costarring Actress/Model Lily Cole

Babelsberg Out Now via Rough Trade

Sep 20, 2018
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Gruff Rhys, Welsh frontman of Britpop outliers and survivors Super Furry Animals, released a new solo album, Babelsberg, back in June via Rough Trade. Now he has shared a video for one of the album's highlights, "Selfies in the Sunset." The song is about taking selfies as the world ends and features the guest vocals of actress/model Lily Cole (The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Elizabeth I, Star Wars: The Last Jedi). Cole costars with Rhys in the video, as they take selfies and try to find the best cell phone reception while nuclear mushroom clouds explode behind them. Ewan Jones Morris directed the video, which you can watch below.

Rhys had this to say about the song in a press release:

"A couple of years ago I noticed some smiling, healthy looking young people taking selfies in front of a particularly spectacular sunset, I turned around to walk away only to see another sunset in front of me.

I realized the first sunset was just the glow looming above a chemical plant. Still, the selfies would have looked like they were taken in California. (We weren't in California). 

It got me thinking about Armageddon. Maybe people will be taking selfies till the very end. They'll be pretty spectacular and will feature the golden colors of the Sunset. With the acceleration of climate change maybe it is the end. A slow painful process not an event.

My friend Graham from South Shields was working with Lily Cole on some music a while back - there was some talk of me helping out in some way as a musician. Nothing came of it - but I invited her to help me finish this song in any case, as she has a greater insight into the world of imagery. It turns out that her mother is from Rhydaman and has been taking selfies since the 1960s. 

This isn't a judgmental song about selfies - selfies aren't the problem. They bring joy into this precarious life. It's just a really sad song. 

With sincerest apologies to Mel Gibson,

Gruff"

Pick up Under the Radar's current print issue (Issue 64) to read our interview with Rhys about Babelsberg.

Babelsberg was recorded with the 72-piece BBC National Orchestra of Wales and Rhys previously shared a video for its first single, "Frontier Man" (which was one of our Songs of the Week), as well as "Limited Edition Heart" (which was also a one of our Songs of the Week).

Babelsberg's songs were originally recorded in a quick three-day session in 2016 at producer Ali Chant's studio just before it was demolished and featured drummer Kliph Scurlock (ex-Flaming Lips), along with multi-instrumentalists Stephen Black (aka Sweet Baboo) and Osian Gwynedd. Then 18 months later Swansea based composer Stephen McNeff finished orchestral scores for the songs and the album was completed with the 72-piece BBC National Orchestra of Wales. 

Rhys had this to say about the album in a previous press release: "I'd made a note of the word 'Babelsberg' after driving past a sign when I was on tour in 2014. Cut to a few years later and the studio where I recorded the album was being knocked down just a week after I finished to make way for a 'luxury' apartment development. I was looking for a name that evoked the Tower of Babel - people building towers to reach an idea of heaven (but maybe creating a kind of hell - I'm an atheist by the way!) In any case I had written Babelsberg down and when I listened to the songs together, it finally made sense why I'd done that."

Rhys' last solo album was 2014's American Interior (which was also a documentary film, a book, and an app).

Read our 2015 interview with Gruff Rhys about American Interior.

Read our 2009 interview with Lily Cole on The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.

Gruff Rhys Tour Dates:

Oct 5th - Montreal, QUE - Bar Le Ritz
Oct 6th - Toronto, ONT - The Garrison
Oct 8th - Boston, MA - Great Scott
Oct 9th - Brooklyn, NY - Rough Trade
Oct 10th - Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda's
Oct 11th - Washington, DC - DC9
Oct 12th - Pittsburgh, PA - Funhouse @ Mr. Smalls
Oct 13th - Columbus, OH - Ace Of Cups
Oct 14th - Chicago, IL - 1st Ward at Chop Shop
Oct 16th - Minneapolis, MN - Cedar Cultural Center
Oct 19th - Vancouver, BC - The Fox Cabaret
Oct 20th - Seattle, WA - Barboza
Oct 21st - Portland, OR - Doug Fir
Oct 23rd - San Francisco, CA - The Chapel
Oct 24th - Los Angeles, CA - The Echo
Nov 8th - Portsmouth, UK - Wedgewood Rooms
Nov 9th - Brighton, UK - The Old Market
Nov 10th - Folkestone, UK - The Quarterhouse
Nov 11th - Oxford, UK - O2 Academy
Nov 12th - Bristol, UK - SWX
Nov 13th - Birmingham, UK - Glee Club
Nov 15th - Glasgow, Scotland - SWG3
Nov 16th - Leeds, UK - Church Leeds
Nov 17th - Liverpool, UK - Liverpool Arts Club
Nov 19th - Paris, France - Le Badaboum
Nov 20th - Schaffhausen, Switzerland - Tap Tab
Nov 21st  - Munich, Germany - Ampere
Nov 22nd  - Berlin, Germany - Privatclub
Nov 23rd - Hamburg, Germany - Turmzimmer
Nov 24th - Copenhagen, Denmark - Alice
Nov 26th - Brussels, Belgium - Botanique/Rotonde
Nov 27th - Cologne, Germany - Studio 672
Nov 28th - Amsterdam, NL - Paradiso Noord
Dec 1st - Cork, Ireland - Live At St.Lukes
Dec 2nd - Galway, Ireland - Roisin Dublin
Dec 3rd - Dublin, Ireland - Button Factory
Dec 5th - Swansea, Wales - Brangwyn Hall
Dec 7th - Wrexham, Wales - Live Rooms

UK dates w/ Group Listening
EU dates w/ Bill Ryder-Jones

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