Airborne Toxic Event References ‘Timeless’ Works Of Art In New Video

The Airborne Toxic Event took the long route to releasing their new video. With multiple locations, sets and themes running through it, “Timeless” took three months to complete – an effort that was finally revealed today (March 20).

“The video took forever – three months,” singer Mikel Jollett told “I’ve never worked so hard at something, other than the record… I wanted it to be kind of a moving painting. There are some photographic references for some of you who are nerdy photographer people. [You’ll] catch those references. Then there are some references to Japanese traditional folk tales…”

“…A couple of hot girls,” bassist Noah Harmon added with a laugh. Watch our interview below.


The video opens on a crew of Degas-esque ballerinas, the aforementioned “hot girls,” running down an apocalyptic-looking beach with ropes around their bodies. In short time, a man appears through a doorway and his faceless presence and bowler cap invoke the spirit of Rene Magritte’s famous “Son Of Man” painting. All the while, the band play on the same beach, in the background.

“The idea was to metaphorically portray these two existing ideas that the song is about and to make the whole thing feel like a painting that’s been brought to life,” Jollett said. “There are four, essentially, paintings that are all alive at the same time. That’s the notion.”

The dual ideas of the song that he references are the circle of life: birth and death. Jollette’s lyrics mention both keeping the people he loves with him, through death, while the song’s chorus brings to light the notion of living forever – a metaphorical forever, based on a feeling that a relationship with someone gives him. For tackling a subject of such majestic scope, the band felt that they required a video of equal scope.

“There was a lot to it, it was a huge project,” Jollett said of the video. “It was like shooting a movie. Island Def Jam gave us enough rope to hang ourselves. [They] let us just go and run with the video, which is really awesome. It’s so not rock ‘n roll to love your label, but they let us do whatever the f*** we want which is awesome.”

Their label’s kindness extended beyond a laborious (and, it would appear, cost-intensive) music video and into all aspects of their forthcoming album, Such Hot Blood.

“We gave them the record and they said, ‘Thanks, awesome. We love it.’ That was their feedback!” Jollett exclaimed, smiling. “There was no like [gestures with his hands], it was just like, ‘Thanks!’ They let us work with whoever we wanted, we chose Jacquire [King, producer]. They let us record wherever we wanted, we chose Nashville at Blackbird. They let us make this massive, ridiculously wasteful but beautiful music video.”

Harmon jumped in to jokingly add, “And three months later we’re like, ‘Hey, what about that video guys? What’s happening?'”

“They’ve been really patient, really good with us,” Jollett continued. “I don’t know why, I think it’s because they’ve got all that Bieber cash.”

All their Airborne Toxic Event cash will hit the floor when the band’s new album, Such Hot Blood, is released later this spring. The band’s The Secret EP, which includes the single “Timeless,” is available now.

More from Courtney E. Smith

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