A Madison thing we’re listening to: “Preoccupied” by Slow Pulp

The Madison/Minneapolis four-piece’s latest clip is obsessed with colors and their associations.

The Madison/Minneapolis four-piece’s latest clip is obsessed with colors and their associations.


Though none of them are synesthetic, the members of Madison/Minneapolis band Slow Pulp delve into the inherent multi-sensuality of color in the video for their song “Preoccupied.”

Directed by Milwaukee’s Damien Blue, the video for the track from their 2017 release EP2 depicts Slow Pulp vocalist and synth player Emily Massey, joined at times by her bandmates and friends, drifting through various scenes—an indoor pool, the merry-go-round of now-closed Ella’s Deli, and a sunset-soaked outdoor concert.

It’s a fairly straightforward structure that isn’t especially interested in narrative, Massey says. Instead Blue and the band chose the settings for the video’s vignettes to infuse the song with as many emotionally resonant colors as possible—mainly blues, reds and purples. In this, the video embodies how the band thinks about colors and color associations during the songwriting process.

“I don’t think any of us have synesthesia, but we do like to associate colors with our songs to represent emotions,” Massey says. “They’re a big part of how we communicate with each other. In this song the main line is ‘I just want to be in love, but I don’t want to try,’ and for us we knew we wanted red, blue, and purple to hit those feelings of melancholy and love.”

Through this prismatic lens, it’s impressive how the video hits so many juxtapositions and blends of colors without distracting from the song itself. The blues of the video match elements like the recurring saxophone; the reds seem to correspond with the drums and the fleeting passion in Massey’s vocals. At the end of first refrain, Massey, in a red bathing suit, sings repeatedly, “I’m preoccupied with you,” just before falling into the blue water of a pool, and just after that the video cuts to a purple sunset.

The video, aside from being a worthy companion to a great track, really hits at the special connection we humans have with colors—one that’s unconscious, perhaps, but ever present.

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