Heads. have been on our radar for a few months now and they will not cease being a peculiarity. The Berlin trio return with a video for “The Voynich Manuscript”, a song that offers an ear pleasing mix of grunge and post-punk. The video features a striking mixture of video material from the public archives and live footage. While the song plays, hash images of militarism and decay follow each other with increasing speed and the occasional appearance of a certain female face makes the aesthetic al the more impressive.
We got in touch with Ed Fraser (guitar, vocals) who was happy to explain the story behind the music and the peculiar video.
Ed, tell me a little bit about this Voynich Manuscript…
“The actual Voynich Manuscript is this kind-of-ridiculous code that nobody has really been able to decipher. Either because it was created by a total genius, or because it’s the nonsensical ramblings of some madman, or it’s a very intricate 15th century joke, or who knows. There’s a lot of different conspiracy theories about it, they can get pretty ridiculous.”
So what exactly the relationship between the title of the song and the lyrics?
“So I wrote a kind of obscure story of my own, based on a real-life tragedy, and named it after the manuscript. Something that people wouldn’t be able to decode. There’s a couple of cryptic clues in there; I am singing about something specific, but I don’t think I should explain exactly what it’s about – I’d prefer to leave it hidden and let the listener make up their own mind about it.”
And then the video…
“The video uses a lot of repetition and some manipulation of time to try and highlight the idea that everything is cyclical and repeated, constantly. ‘The river runs’, so to speak. It’s an effort to highlight the loss and tragedy within the song, to show that things will always move, no matter what happens.”
How did you get by the footage?
“[The] archival footage is public domain stuff from all over the place, it took many hours of sourcing and reviewing footage to find the right moments. While HEADS. were on tour in Europe last year we would set up a camera or two before shows to get the live shots. We would have to hope that we’d remember to actually press the record button before the show amidst everything else that was happening, and then hope that the cameras would successfully make it through the show without running out of batteries or memory, or falling off a fucking amp or something. There was a lot of hoping and we really did lose a lot of good footage haha.”
The band’s debut album was released earlier this year on This Charming Man Records and can be bought in various formats on their Bandcamp page.