London-based producer On Man appears to be very comfortable snaking between absolutes, either converting harsh noise into something prepossessing or subjecting a pop song to agents of decay. Often the results are of an obtuse, primal scream variety, not for the faint of heart.
New track “United (Why Can’t We Say Enough)” doesn’t exactly offer listeners the peas-and-carrots kind of unison. Nope. This withered, warped track expresses the chaotic miscommunication in a relationship stalemating, with guest vocalist Tailor repeating the hook in a resigned, muted despair.
On Man: “I wrote ‘United (Why Can’t We Say Enough)’ with Tailor as a kind of unspoken dialogue between two people as they find themselves in a position they never expected, both of them trying – and failing – to communicate, the same question repeating over and over again. I took that theme and ran with it for the video, where we find two people trapped in a space, trying to figure out how and why they got there, connected – united – through violence, love, history, blood.”
The video brings a rather harrowing, stomach turning extension to this very concept. Two estranged lovers (one of them you will immediately recognise as Keeley Forsyth) are deadlocked in a cold stare-down, each with a blunt-edged knife planted in the other. It’s a gut punch of a visual to express what a toxic relationship can feel like: the pain inflicted on one another as the sole connective tissue left.
“I was so happy that Keeley Forsyth agreed to star in the video,” On Man adds. “as I knew she would bring her incredible intensity to the role and she was a dream to direct. I’m also a huge fan of her music, so it was an honour to have her on board. The video was filmed in one take in an ex meat-packing warehouse in Kings Cross, which was painfully freezing, so we were glad it was a short shoot.”