Scenes from the Wilderness is a visual companion to our new album, The Wilderness. We collaborated with design studio CHIPS on a project to add strange movement to a batch of nine still photographs taken by Munaf over the last 17 years. We found the results visually stimulating while listening to the songs and hope you do as well. Thanks and enjoy.
Detroit, 2005 — This was on a layover at the Detroit Airport as we were headed back to Texas from Europe. I remember that we were all pretty tired by this point and the gate sign that read Austin brought all of us a little jolt of joy in that we were almost home.
Maryland, 2001 — Our friend Drew took us down some old country road to a place called Spook Hill. The reason it was called that was because this particular road provided a truly remarkable and spooky optical illusion where the roads and hills played strange tricks on your eyes. He instructed us to drive “down” to the bottom of the hill, stop, and then put the car in neutral. Very slowly the van started rolling backwards “up” the hill. We were seriously weirded out. When we reached the “top” of the hill, the van’s engine sputtered and coughed and a plume of black smoke poured out from under the hood. We had to have it towed and to this day we still can’t fully explain what happened.
Paris, 2008 — One day we wandered into this Parisian building. We were there to do an interview or maybe meet someone in an official capacity, but the meeting was on a higher floor and there was no elevator, only this spiral staircase.
Logic of a Dream
Taipei, 2002 — This was our very first trip to anywhere in Asia. It felt surreal walking around Taipei and that music had brought us to such a faraway place. We found ourselves in this street market and there was so much hustle and bustle, and then it started to rain, and when I looked through the view finder of the camera I felt like I was looking at a shot from a Wong Kar Wai film.
Memphis, 2006 — I’m not exactly sure what hotel we were staying at, but it had this interior courtyard set up in which I could see the room across from mine. Matthew Cooper is a friend of ours who used to travel with us as an opener and often helped light up our days. He puts out music under the name Eluvium. My view to his room was nicely framed with only his curtains opened and it reminded me of a scene from the Hitchcock picture “Rear Window.” I somehow got his attention and when he looked over, I snapped the photo.
Losing the Light
Over the Ocean, 2010 — We’ve been on so many planes now that all the flights have started to blur in my memory. I know this photo was taken over an ocean, I just can’t remember which ocean.
India, 2015 — This photo is from one of our most recent trips. We played in Mumbai, which in itself was an incredible experience, but then some of us extended our trip into a small vacation. This is from inside the Fort in the city of Jodhpur. Stained glass looks so nice anywhere you see it.
Colors in Space
India, 2015 — Exterior of the same fort with the stained glass. I was captivated by the craftsmanship of this building. It’s all carved out of the side of a rock and very little of its outside has been renovated in hundreds of years. It was inspiring to me that you could build something with such detail and it have the potential to last so long.
Mexico, 2007 — This is a photo of Carlos Torres. He’s a childhood friend and we affectionately refer to him as the ghost member of this band because he’s been helping fill out our stage performances for the last few years. He floats around towards the back of the stage playing guitar lines and bass lines and piano riffs and his movements have a simpatico relationship with ours. He was staring out at the water on the beach one evening and I picked up the camera and let it click.
Website & video art direction: CHIPS
Video animation & production: Eric Overton