Short story writer Stuart Evers and the members of Daughter, a popular U.K. indie folk trio, are collaborating on a multimedia project to promote Daughter’s second album, Not to Disappear. The musicians commissioned Evers to write three short stories inspired by three songs on Not to Disappear; which is set to be released next month.
Evers’ stories will be published by the group's label, 4AD, simultaneously with the album. The stories were adapted for three music videos produced by British filmmakers Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, who directed the Nick Cave film, 20,000 Days on Earth.
Evers said the stories and videos, while different, are unified by the central image of a red dress. The first of the three stories is actually called "'Dress," and it provides the visual context for the six-minute video, “Doing the Right Thing,” in which an elderly man picks up a red dress at the dry cleaner’s and tearfully walks home with it while his wife, who suffers from dementia, watches television. It debuted on YouTube on September 30 and has had more than 681,000 views to date.
The videos for the next two stories, “Window” and “5024,” have not been released yet. “Window” is about a woman who kills her ex-husband, while “5024” follows someone pondering what would happen if a series of locks were opened.
Calling the writing process “inspiring and maddening,” Ever said he struggled with the certain parameters; he couldn't use dialogue, for example, and was not given time for rewrites.
Evers told PW that it was his connection to the filmmakers that brought about the collaboration with Daughter; he first met Pollard in London, in the late 1990s, when he worked at a Waterstone's across the road from the Borders where she worked.
“Over the years we vaguely kept in touch--they even make a very small cameo appearance in one of the stories in my first collection, Ten Stories About Smoking,” Evers told PW. When the filmmakers contacted him about the project with Daughter, he was not overly familiar with the band's work. But, after listening to one of their albums, he recognized overlapping themes in his writing and their lyrics.
The project with Daughter is also proving fortuitously timed; Evers' collection Your Father Sends His Love is being released in the U.S. in January by Norton. While Norton played no role in the music video collaboration, the publisher hopes the project can provide a marketing platform for the book.
Evers' editor at Norton, Tom Mayer, noted that the music videos also show the author's "intriguing multidimensional talent for storytelling." He added: "It reminds me once again why I was thrilled to sign up his collection."
Evers and Daughter are now pondering the idea of going on tour together hitting, as Evers put it, “the festivals circuit.” If the tour happens, the author and the band plan to perform live readings of the stories, alongside showings of the videos.