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Video: Steve Abel - Best Thing (UTR Premiere)

Video: Steve Abel - Best Thing (UTR Premiere)

Thursday 14th July, 2016 6:25PM

As announced earlier this week, next month will see Auckland alt-folk musician Steve Abel releasing his first full-length album since his 2008 offering Flax Happy. Titled Luck/Hope, the forthcoming record has been in a long time in the making, and includes contributions from the likes of Jolie Holland, Milan Borich, Gareth Thomas, Buzz Moller, and Ed McWilliams among others.

This evening UnderTheRadar is delighted to premiere new single 'Best Thing', which is one of the tracks to feature Holland and also comes with a video dreamed up and directed by filmmaker Florian Habicht. Watch the captivating clip below, and then read our interview with Abel...

You attributed the inspiration for your earlier single ’Sidewalk Doves' to Florian and his movie ‘Love Story’, was this the starting point of you working together on this clip?

Flo and I met many moons ago and he cast me as the voice of the hero character Gert in his debut feature film Woodenhead. We've been friends since then. He used my song 'Hospice For Destitute Lovers' for that film also and made a music video for 'Hospice'. Later I had an idea for a puppet video and we made that together too with Chris Pryor and Kirsten Morrell for the 'Duet (Lonely I Be)'. The 'Sidewalk Doves' video was edited from Flo's film Love Story by Mango Dennis.

This one for 'Best Thing' was a concept dreamed up by Florian. He explained the idea to me and I said I'd love him to make it. We applied for NZ On Air funding and he was in Berlin at the time working with some great actors and opted to shoot it there with Adam Luxton and Teresa Peters behind the camera.

Did you let him have free rein, or did you discuss what you were hoping the clip would convey ahead of shooting?

No I let him have free reign. I loved his concept and knew he'd do something magical and fitting. We worked quite closely on the editing together and it took as a while to get it to its finished form. I love the result.

There’s a very voyeuristic feeling watching this intimate situation unfolding between the two characters. How does it all tie in with the song's theme?

I think Arielle and Orion do an amazing performance. Well, the song is about many things and this is but one story that the song can tell. I actually wrote it nearly 20 years ago when I was traveling overseas. This song has been played at weddings and births and funerals so the Florian film of it is not the only story it speaks to. I think it's good that people have their own meaning for a song.

Jolie Holland credited on violins and backing vocals on the track. How did that come about?

I met Jolie when she was on tour here in about 2006 and she sang on a couple of songs with me for the Flax Happy album (2008). When I was in New York in early 2009 her and another great musician Shahzad Ismaily suggest I come back to record and so I did in November of that year at Rivington 66 in Manhattan. We made half the album there including Best Thing and Jolie sings on four of the five New York songs and plays on them all. I just love her instinct for harmony and the way she sings and plays. A total privilege to be able to work with her and the other musos on this.

Steve Abel will be playing the following album release shows (with more tba)...

Saturday 6th August, Wine Cellar, Auckland
Thursday 18th August, Meow, Wellington
Friday 19th August, Raumati Social Club, Paekakariki

Tickets to the Auckland and Wellington shows will be available HERE at UTR from Friday 15th July


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Steve Abel - Luck/Hope Release Shows
Sat 6th Aug 8:00pm
The Wine Cellar, Auckland
Steve Abel - Luck/Hope Release Shows
Thu 18th Aug 7:00pm
Meow, Wellington
Steve Abel - Luck/Hope Release Shows
Fri 19th Aug 8:00pm
Raumati Social Club (RSC), Raumati