Olly Alexander talks about sexual politics of music videos as band rework hit with Tove Lo
Years & Years have released a pro-LGBT video for their new reworking of track ‘Desire’, which features guest vocals from Tove Lo.
Lead singer Olly Alexander writes in an accompanying open letter that he wanted the clip to “celebrate all different kinds of sexuality and queer identities”.
‘Desire’ originally featured on the band’s 2015 debut ‘Communion’, which went to Number One upon release last July.
In an open letter adding context to the video, singer Alexander writes: “Most of the pop videos I’ve seen that have any male and female interaction are usually centred around a romance, and that’s great, I am all for romance, but let’s face it there are a lot of other sexualities and identities that are well deserving of some shiny pop video love.”
“I’ve been wanting to make a video with some of my queer family for a long time and ‘Desire’ felt like the right time to do it… Pop music has a pretty good track record of embracing queer culture, it’s been a safe place for some of our most visible queer icons, we have more out and open non-straight stars than ever before.”
Alexander adds: “I love pop (obviously) so, why is it that in 2016, a pop video featuring people expressing their sexuality who aren’t cis-gendered or heterosexual, feel at all unusual or progressive? Well for a lot of people, it doesn’t- they live and think outside of the societal binary most of us are used to, but for a lot of other people, myself included, it does. It shouldn’t, but it does.”
“So yeah, gay people have sex, and it’s not just gay people, it’s all kinds of people! All these non-straight people, they’re out there, having sex! Sex, between two consenting adults, can be a healthy, positive, safe and enjoyable thing!”
“As a teenager I was inspired by stars who I felt were doing just that,” the singer continues. “They were almost exclusively women; Madonna, Destiny’s Child, Alanis Morissette, Britney and Whitney – they asserted or acknowledged their sexuality in varying and different ways and to me they were ways that felt powerful… Women in pop music are expected to be sexy, most of the time they don’t have any choice – I have the privilege of choice. I chose to make this video about sex, to portray myself as a sexual character. I choose this because I do not want to hide or limit my sexuality, I want to make videos and songs and art that celebrate all different kinds of sexuality and queer identities.”
Watch the video for ‘Desire’ beneath.