Free Time, “Who Owns the Moon?”

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The video for a song based on a film that wasn’t intended to be made.

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Sam Lefebvre | February 8, 2016

Free Time, the transcontinental pop outfit helmed by Dion Nania, issued a fantastic, eponymous debut in 2013, followed by last year’s “Esoteric Tizz” 7-inch. In the meantime, Nania, formerly of Panel of Judges and an occasional member of Scott & Charlene’s Wedding, resettled in Melbourne, where he assembled a Free Time lineup featuring players from Twerps and Terrible Truths, among others. With the new ensemble, Free Time completed a sophomore album, entitled In Search of Free Time and due via Bedroom Suck in Australia and Underwater Peoples stateside. Above, Impose premieres the video to album cut “Who Owns the Moon?”, a lovely display of the breezy understatement that made Free Time so subtly and softly persuasive. Below, Nania elucidates the video’s inspiration. It only tenuously ties to the song itself, he explains, which is “a cut up assemblage based on a film which was never made, and never intended to be made.”

“Most of the conceptual outline for this video came from Martin Frawley, our current bass player in Melbourne. The night time, the black-and-white, and the locations came from his response to the song…The out-of-car stuff is all shot on the south side of Melbourne around St Kilda. This is where the music scene used to be, but, since the 1990s, most music people in our orbit have lived and played on the north side, so maybe he was thinking the imagery woud be less familiar, and there were more kind of stark and alien options, and the beach is there, which is a stand in for the surface of the moon. Also I think an aspect of his initial inspiration was to present like a south side 1980s band going from gig to gig. One shot early in the clip is a tip of the hat to the amazing Reels video for their cover of ‘Bad Moon Rising’. [My] outfit is a doorman ‘costume’ from a costume rental place, because one of the central characters in the song, Jenaro, is a Park Avenue doorman.

“This song is a cut up assemblage based on a film which was never made, and never intended to be made. At some point in 2014 Sylvia Jeffriess and I hit upon the idea of making a soundtrack to a film which doesn’t exist; I would do the music and she would do the images and create some stills to photograph to go with it. We came up with a super basic plot outline to hang it all off. At the time I was walking dogs uptown, so I was in and out of Park Avenue doorman buildings. That setting and that kind of service with a smile for the rich was a daily experience. Basically it was a forbidden romance story, the love interest being between the doorman and a resident in the building, with her husband being the villain. The name ‘Jenaro’ is taken from a Chilean man who claimed ownership of the moon in 1953. The query, ‘Who owns the moon?’ is posed by Jenaro’s child, who’s curious about the social order. What I mean by cut up is that the lyrics slide in and out of the perspective of characters in a way in which it is not really possible grasp just from the lyrics themselves.”

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