Music

Hercules & Love Affair Explores the Pain and Liberation of 'Change'

Belgium-based dance music project Hercules & Love Affair has built a career reliant on powerful messaging and constant transformation. Their latest single and video for "Change," premiering today on PAPER, is no exception.

"Change," co-produced by bandleader Andy Butler and Alec Storey, throbs and crashes with an almost sensual urgency. The band's lyrics snake around the music, communicating common axioms on the nature of change. But each time they are repeated, the beat adopts a change of pace and rhythm, adding more effects or subtracting them, like the tides of a restless ocean. Do the lyrics address the ever-evolving nature of relationships, the world we live in, grief, or all three? Lines like "what we could've had is gone" and "it's no longer yours" may be sound bleak, but with every loss comes mysterious, inevitable renewal.

The dance-based "Change" video, co-produced and directed by Butler and Joie Iacono, perfectly matches the song's meaning. The video is full of hypnotic choreography by Joshua Hubbard, who has worked with everyone from Elton John to Róisín Murphy. A diverse range of dancers cast from all over the world are shown writhing and contorting solo or in groups inside practice studios and an empty warehouse space. They wear colorful hooded cloaks and skintight bodysuits, adding depth of emotion to an already stunning musical piece. Sculptural work by artists Egon Van Herreweghe and Thomas Min also appears throughout the clip.

"I wanted to explore the uncomfortable and alienating aspects of the process of change, as well as the potentially confining, limiting and restrictive nature of identity," Butler says of his new song and video. "Change seems to operate under natural law — once the pull towards evolution takes hold, it can't be contained; Joshua Hubbard's alternately nervous and explosive choreography portrayed this layered experience of an often painful yet liberating emotional journey perfectly."

"Change" comes from Hercules & Love Affair's upcoming EP, The Change, out November 1 (via BMG/Skint). Stream the track, below.

Photography: Hoarder

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