As a skateboard kid on the streets of Poland, Jakub Romanowicz always wore headphones emitting the soothing sounds of Damon Albarn. Today at the age of 26, Romanowicz works as a filmmaker and animator, and still finds inspiration – and a sense of home – in the work of Albarn. “He is such an inspiring artist for me,” says Romanowicz. “With every project, he is more adult, more experienced. My age was the same with the project.”
Albarn released his first solo work recently, and on it is the powerful “Heavy Seas of Love.” “When your soul isn’t right, and it’s raw to the night… you’re in safe hands,” sings Albarn. Gentle, reassuring and quietly confident, it’s a song that has the power to soothe.
Romanowicz’s interactive music video for “Heavy Seas of Love” shares that same quality. Romanowicz, one of three winners of the Tribeca Interactive & Interlude Music Film Challenge, created this interactive film to accompany Albarn’s song. Watch as Romanowicz’s protagonist, an animated robot, starts out a rough day in an even rougher city. Then, using the film’s interactive interface, help guide him to a happy ending. Each choice that the viewer makes can change the look of the video itself.
“I always wanted to do something with little robots,” says Romanowicz. In one of his favorite songs by Albarn on an earlier project, the artist sings about humans having robotic and repetitive tendencies. He wanted to turn this concept around and show the possibility of machines having gentle, vulnerable emotions. “This robot, he’s struggling in London. He’s lost. I was in London last year. I was alone and I was lost there.”
The filmmaker wanted to make a work that was relatable to the lost soul, and provide the reassuring and soothing tones that Albarn had always provided to him with his music. “I thought maybe I will connect these things: robots, my trip to London, and great music of Damon’s.” Coincidentally, the “real park” that is a visual choice at the end of the interactive film is a park in Romanowicz’s hometown in Poland. A signifier of not being found, but being in “safe hands.”
This interpretation of Albarn’s uplifting track was created by Romanowicz as part of the Tribeca Music Film Challenge, which we developed with our friends from the Tribeca Film Festival as a way to explore the evolution of film. Damon Albarn selected the winning film.