Premiere: “The Performer” by James Righton

A collision of uncertainty, empowerment and stage presence in the single and music video

“Am I this showman up on stage? Or am I the dad changing nappies? Am I living in the moment and doing something enjoyable? Or am I fucking miserable?” James Righton asks us, ahead of the release of his debut solo album The Performer. “I find that really interesting: this idea of putting on a suit and becoming this other thing,” the Klaxons frontman continues. The album’s lead single “The Performer” also asks these questions as it develops. Powered at first by the artist’s uncertainty and the underlying magnitude of his role as a father, the song ultimately gives way to the cosmic instrumentation of his Wurlitzer. The track represents a new level of lyrical and sonic maturity for Righton, but within the accompanying music video, the artist reminds everyone that he’s long had a magnetic stage presence.

“I was really interested in the idea of using a live performance as the basis for a music video,” director Hugo Campan shares. “I wanted the video to delve into what music is at its most existential point: a human performance and a live experience. James is a great showman. He has so much energy, attitude and style. We filmed 43 consecutive takes to create something unique, and by the end of the process it drifted into a kind of abstract, surreal MTV performance.”

Righton wrote and produced the track before it was mixed by Soulwax, whose label DEEWEE will release the album on 20 March 2020. Since Klaxons’ peak, Righton’s released music under the name Shock Machine, produced music for The Young Vic’s production of Bertol Brecht’s The Life Of Gallelo and scored Simon Amstell’s feature film Benjamin. It’s beyond evident that “The Performer” comes from a different place. And with The Performer release not too far into the future, we’ll get to hear the full story soon enough.

Video by Hugo Campan, photography by Raffaele Cariou and art direction by Ill-Studio