Soley – “Smashed Birds” Music Video (w/ Soley Interview)

“It’s outside and somewhere; we don’t know where is, and in my lyrics, I work with these kind of places — places that don’t exist.” – Soley

“I asked one tree, one tree to take me in to your house,” Sóley sings atop the calm strumming of acoustic guitar, the combination of sound and lyrics providing a steadfast cornerstone of comfort. What Sóley doesn’t display right away is a hint of dysfunction growing underneath. She follows up the line with declarations of an eerie mission: “And I took all your birds and I smashed them in my pocket… and I’ll cut the feathers off and I’ll make myself a beautiful dress.”

We Sink is Sóley’s latest album, a surprising work of dark poetry. Enlisting the help of illustrator Inga Birgisdottir, the music video for album single, “Smashed Birds,” sets the album cover (see bottom of post) into motion. Sonic delicacies are highlighted by the earth-toned color palette, though a host of mixed media flourishes belie its hidden bitterness.

In the Q&A below, Sóley discusses the inspiration behind the creation.

How did the concept for the “Smashed Birds” video come about?

I came up with a few ideas or words and colors I liked, and Inga worked from there. I really like this video; I think it fits to the music, both colors and the atmosphere. It’s outside and somewhere; we don’t know where is, and in my lyrics, I work with these kind of places — places that don’t exist.

Can you tell me about the director, Inga Birgisdottir?

She is a good friend of mine and girlfriend of Sindri Már Sigfússon who I play with a lot, both in Seabear and Sin Fang. Inga is one of my favorite visual artists; all her work is so beautiful and it was a pleasure to work with her both on the video and on the album artwork. She has done lots of album artwork such as for múm, jónsi, Seabear and Sin Fang.

What inspired this track lyrically?

I think if I get to this “world” which is somewhere in my head, I can make up stories like this. I mean these lyrics are weird and it’s hard to explain what’s going on there, but I guess what I wanted with the lyrics was loneliness, some abandoned house, and mainly, some kind of dream. The storyteller is a girl and she is going back to a house where she had lived with her loved one and over there many things had happened; she is kind of saying goodbye to the world. It’s her last day in this imaginary world.

Does the notion of finding beauty in destruction inspire the video and or song at all?

Well you could say that, in a way. I mean the world is ending in the end of the song. The girl in the song is reading old letters from her loved one; she takes his birds and smashes them, a bit frustrated. But as I’ve said, in the end, there is a big relief; she becomes one of these birds.

Is there anything else you would like to add about the album?

All of the lyrics are like this. Dreamy, surrealistic and in their own world — so analyzing the lyrics is for the listeners to make up their own world!

Written by
Vee Hua 華婷婷

Vee Hua 華婷婷 (they/them) is a writer, filmmaker, and organizer with semi-nomadic tendencies. Much of their work unifies their metaphysical interests with their belief that art can positively transform the self and society. They are the Editor-in-Chief of REDEFINE, Interim Managing Editor of South Seattle Emerald, and Co-Chair of the Seattle Arts Commission. They also previously served as the Executive Director of the interdisciplinary community hub, Northwest Film Forum, where they played a key role in making the space more welcoming and accessible for diverse audiences.

Vee has two narrative short films. Searching Skies (2017) touches on Syrian refugee resettlement in the United States; with it, they helped co-organize The Seventh Art Stand, a national film and civil rights discussion series against Islamophobia. Reckless Spirits (2022) is a metaphysical, multi-lingual POC buddy comedy for a bleak new era, in anticipation of a feature-length project.

Vee is passionate about cultural space, the environment, and finding ways to covertly and overtly disrupt oppressive structures. They also regularly share observational human stories through their storytelling newsletter, RAMBLIN’ WITH VEE!, and are pursuing a Master’s in Tribal Resource and Environmental Stewardship under the Native American Studies Department at the University of Minnesota.

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Written by Vee Hua 華婷婷
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