Los Angeles musician Sera Timms' has been exploring the different shades of her impressive creativity over the past few years, from atmospheric doom act Ides of Gemini to decadent dark-synth project LVXURI. Black Mare is her solo industrial-flavored goth outlet, on which she unleashes haunting, witchy vocals that are as graceful as they are evocative.
Her latest release is the video for "Femme Couverte," a track culled from the Death Magick Mother album (out now via Dark Operative). The ethereal, post-punk/goth-leaning track features a nun in the protagonist role, walking down abandoned city streets, trading her habit for the dance floor, encountering demons in the chapel and much more during the course of the beautifully composed short film by director Muhebur Rahman Shaha. Check out the video above for the first time — and read and interview with Shaha and Timms about the visual inspiration and intention behind the "Femme Couverte" video, below.
SERA TIMMS Where did the visual inspiration come from for the video?
MUHEBAR RAHMAN SHAHA I had a recurring dream towards the end of 2018 of a Nun running from something, still have no idea what from, she just was running. Also it's partially influenced by how strong my mother has been in the face of some difficulties throughout life. I just wanted to capture that dream and mix it with my conscious mind I guess.
TIMMS The video feels more like a short film placed to music...was this your intention, and did you have any influences to create in this format?
SHAHA I would agree, and yes it was my intention. I like the idea of making something a little different to whatever the rest of the world is doing. It might not be the biggest shift from the norm, but it worked, which makes me happy. I just like to make things look a bit uncomfortable, a bit hopeful, dark and almost hidden away if that makes sense. Cinematic shots are my thing, so chucked a bit of that in there.
Music videos right now are kind of competing too much, a lot of them are copying each other. I miss the days of Chris Cunningham or Jonathan Glazer, where there was a strong story line, remember those Radiohead videos for example. I just wanted to make something a little untraditional.
TIMMS What led you to collaborate with Black Mare?
SHAHA I made the video way before I approached Black Mare. Usually it works the other way round, but I thought why not. I shot the concept in February, and found Black Mare to have a similar understanding of darkness, light, expression and story. I felt that Sera understood what I was trying to say, and together we both found other hidden topics in the video, which is mad! We've discussed this to great detail, and it just made sense to work with Black Mare on this.
Importantly, I want to work with people who have open minds, and are able to take risks. Black Mare have all these, it just felt right to give this video to its true home.
TIMMS Anything you'd like to add about your creative conceptual process, the physical process of shooting, and or interesting stories regarding locations, how everything came together, etc?
SHAHA I try not to over think about my creative processes, I spend all day over thinking about life and where it's going. But with film, I kind of enjoy its natural evolution if that makes sense. I really enjoy the surprises that make the finial cut, those moments are special, I don't like perfection so I try to keep the set and the idea as fluid as possible.
The physical process of filming is tough, waking up before the Sun is up, battling the frozen ground, lugging film equipment as you take on the elements to capture something incredible. Could not of done it without some super talented people, a good team goes a long way.
During the filming of the forest scenes, Milica who played the Nun, bravely faced the freezing temperatures in a thin white dress. I wanted her to go into a tense mind frame, a mentality where she has had enough. She gave the biggest roar, it would echo across the huge plains of the New Forest in Hampshire. We took a few takes for luck, and then appeared this horse, a stunning white creature, just like the dress Milica was wearing.
The horse was curious, wondering what we were doing in such grace. I dropped everything, quickly turned the camera round and captured a pose from the Horse. The horse walked off into the distance, leaving us breathless. The night before we were discussing if we should favour more sleep instead of a 5am start, I'm so glad I made the choice to wake up at 5am, otherwise we'd have missed the Horse.
I was later told that white Horses in the New Forest are very rare. We got lucky. I mean, we shot it all in the U.K., it easily could have been one long video full of rain and grey clouds.