Subtle, restless and emotionally charged, "Saint Lo", the new music video from Washington (she has re-ditched the 'Megan') settles effortlessly in a fluid and intimate space.
Written and recorded in L.A. with producers Eric J Dubowsky and Dave Hammer, "Saint Lo" — the first track revealed from forthcoming as-yet-untitled new album — is a spiritual meditation on love and sex: "a song of sacrifice to be sung on the alter," as she describes.
We chatted with Washington about the inspiration behind "Saint Lo", filming the video with her now husband and returning to her original moniker.
In terms of the themes you were writing about in 'Saint Lo', what's this song about for you?
Well, to be honest with you, the song is about sex. And sensuality. And I guess the sacrifice and that sort of, the physical and emotional surrender of falling in love.
And you're recently married, congratulations!
Thank you, yeah so at the time he was my boyfriend, but Nick [Waterman] — who is now my husband, directed the video. I think he saw something in that song that I would not have seen myself. But I think because we are so close, he had a really sort of clear and definite vision for the video. I just got out of the way, basically.
So when he was working on the video, and you guys were collaborating, were you trying to capture themes or were you looking at it from a narrative perspective?
I'd say certainly, not narrative. Nick is really associative with imagery. He doesn't naturally like to have a narrative, so much as just create a series of images. I guess that with this video, a lot of the narrative — if there is any — happens in the mirrored shapes that happen on the wall. The arms create a church-like steeple, when we talk about cathedrals, and then there's like an upside down love heart at some point.
It's quite subtle and quite, I guess stoner-esque is what I would say. But that's just kind of the way Nick's mind works, which is really fascinating to me, because I am a much more, sort of literal artist. I think the video has a lot of structure and architecture. I mean I didn't make it, you'd have to talk to him about all that stuff.
This song was written in LA, can you talk about the songwriting process?
Yeah, it was written really fast and the version that it is now is not very different from the way it was when I wrote it. It just kind of happened, and I guess it is quite associative and it is a bit more abstract than some of my other work.
With songs like this you kind of dream them into existence in the writing process. It's a series of works that feel right without you really understanding in a concrete fashion what it actually is that you're trying to say. And then it's always in retrospect when you listen to the song, after a few months later, you can really see clearly what it was that you were - what was on your mind when you thought you were saying nothing.
In going back to the Washington moniker, do you feel like you're exploring ideas in your earlier records, or does this feel really fresh to you?
It feels really fresh, I mean the thing about going back to Washington is not so much about this record, but more about [previous album] There There, which is the album that I used my full name for.
Washington as an avatar, she is quite fantastic and quite goth, in a way. With There There, it really wasn't about exploring any of those themes and it wasn't about you know, being an artist or a character, it was about revealing something rather than creating something. So it felt disingenuous to be Washington on my last record, but now it just feels like back to normal.
Topics: Megan Washington