Another day, another amazing Northern band… Who are willing to hypnotise themselves in the name of art.
I’d heard a bit of Tim Booth’s solo work but I’m ashamed to admit I’d never heard anything by James before the ever-reliable disc jockey of The Britpop Revival Show, Nick, played We’re Going To Miss You in episode #8 of Vapour Trails. And what an awesome first impression this track is.
Released in 1999 as the third and final single of James’ eighth studio album Millionaires, We’re Going To Miss You shelters in unassuming, almost whispered vocals and suspenseful, steady rhythms only to be released in spirit through choruses of sweeping strings and soaring harmonies.
I was aurally taken by this song immediately, and after looking up its music video, I realised its visual accompaniment is just as intriguing. A portrait of the band at a vulnerable stage of consciousness, the music video for We’re Going To Miss You sees most of James performing while under hypnosis. As the unofficial James website One of the Three explains here, there is a back story to this surprisingly personal approach to crafting a music video:
Using the services of a hypnotist found in the local Yellow Pages, lead singer Tim Booth is first put under hypnosis and the band then performs “We’re Going to Miss You”, singing, playing instruments, and performing in a state of hypnotic reverie in what appears to be a local community centre.
Director John Hardwick clarifies: “We wanted to reveal a more intimate side to a well known band and felt hypnotic trance was a way to create a vulnerable and poetic performance. We shot it with a documentary approach in a deliberately anonymous location to induce the least promo-like atmosphere possible. Two band members refused to be hypnotised so they are seen observing the process.”
Wonder and beauty abound from this dedication. There is something completely curious about seeing the members of James sit sleepily at a table in eeire ambivalence, something wonderfully endearing about seeing the emotion of music eclipse robotic movement through dance as Tim Booth stands in the middle of a community centre.
We’re Going To Miss You may not be heartbreaking and beautifully tragic in content, but its music video still rivals that of Blur’s No Distance Left to Run as an intimate snapshot of a Britpop band.