The song is “Paris,” an atmospheric and hypnotic piano ballad. The video, released just last week, is shot in black and white by Paul Labonté, who directed Azealia Banks’s “212." SSENSE was on set to style the video and we invited the young performer into our studios to talk about the song’s inspirations.
You would think that when Alex Fleming showed up to the SSENSE studios, he’d carry himself with that particular brand of swagger that comes from being talented, handsome, and nineteen years old. But the Montreal native who’s been making nu-R&B as Black Atlass for the past two years seems strikingly unaffected. Despite being a recent signee to A-Trak and Nick Catchdubs' Brooklyn-based label Fool's Gold Records, Fleming is down-to-earth and shy in a way that you wouldn’t guess from his commanding performances. Fleming's music possesses all the ingredients of classic R&B: his themes center around love, new experiences, and relationships. "All of those things are things I'm experiencing, that's really where it becomes personal," he says. "I'm not really saying anything new. But I'm telling it for myself."
When talking about his recent music video for "Paris," from his 2012 The Black Atlass EP, however, Fleming shows no trace of his former reserve. He explains that the song tells the story of what he describes as "the kind of night where everything goes perfectly.” Its accompanying video, directed by Paul Labonte and styled by SSENSE, follows "three girls in the first moments of a night like that. You watch them getting ready, but you don't really know for what."
"It was the easiest song to write out of the entire project. It was the song that inspired everything else," Fleming says of the rock-tinged piano ballad, which he wrote in Montreal in 2011. "I could hear the song in my head the whole time I was writing it. I knew exactly what I wanted to say, exactly what I wanted to do. It was so natural, it just poured out of me."
Click through for more Black Atlass and watch the new video here.
“When I wrote the song, I wrote from a place of bliss. I was trying to describe that perfect night... the kind of night where everything goes perfectly, and that's really where I was writing from. It's about sharing that night with someone, in this case, a girl.”
“The video's aesthetic is supposed to be very classic and timeless. It was shot in black and white: we were really going for something simple and classic... somewhat European-influenced, but with a modern flair. It's stylized in a bit of a voyeuristic way; there’s a lot of handheld shots. And the narrative really goes along with that.”