Exclusive: Hypnagogia, the Synaesthetic New Single From Private World

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Private World – Hypnagogia, 2020Photography by Tom Hughes

The emerging band debut their latest single Hypnagogia, exclusively on AnOthermag.com, and share the story behind it with Dean Mayo Davies

Last year, Private World shared Crisis Era with Another Man, their single that was synesthetically “green and silver”. Now the duo of Tom Sanders and Harry Jowett return with Hypnagogia, a “deep blue and gold” cut from Aleph, their debut album out in August on Dais Records (Genesis P-Orridge, Drab Majesty, Choir Boy).

“Lyrically, the song is inspired by dreams, paranoia and the hypnagogic state – not necessarily mine,” says Tom Sanders, seen in white tailoring. “The grey area between wakefulness and sleep is where images usually begin to emerge from the mind of the sleeper. Somehow they make their way into or are relevant to our waking experience, conscience and fear, all of that stuff ... The general tone of the music is intended to be consoling, like a lullaby.”

“It’s quite stylised and almost has an R&B feel,” Harry Jowett, in the black tailoring, picks up.

Filmed at Cardiff’s Temple of Peace and Health, the video debuts Private World’s live configuration, what you’ll see at a show. Two become five, with William Dickins (bass), Nic James (guitar) and Stanley Fouracres (keys).

“The Temple of Peace and Health is of pretty symbolic and sentimental value to us,” explains Jowett. “It feels like it’s become part of our collective character as a band and as individuals.”

“The building was erected in 1938 as a memorial to the British soldiers of World War I,” shares Sanders. “It’s a Grade II listed building, with a 1930s German/Italian Art Deco design. There’s a feeling of homage to the brilliant masters of craft and design, stonemasons, architects and the good folks who commissioned the building: it is a monolithic and concrete representation of something good. We don’t make buildings like this anymore; neither do we build them as temples that represent and promote timeless, universal notions such as peace and health. If we had existed a hundred years earlier, we’d have been drafted [as soldiers]. Which makes you consider our sense of freedom.”

The clip is directed by Sion Thomas, “an old pal we know from the punk scene in Cardiff,” says Sanders. “He’s been busy directing films and documentaries over the past few years, notably Dirt Ash Meat (2019).”

Musically inspired by the work of Patrick Leonard (writer for Madonna, Bryan Ferry, Carly Simon), Aleph is an oblique reference to Jorge Luis Borges and features a track, Somethin’ Special, dedicated to Madonna, Michael Jackson and Bryan Ferry session/touring guitarist David Williams. Recorded with Thomas Rees last December, the album has its sentimental moments – as well as those darker and surreal.

“There isn’t really another song like Hypnagogia on there, they’re all quite different from each other,” promises Jowett. “The artwork hinges on synaesthesia – notably the colours are intended to translate into the music and vice versa. Generally, our artwork has been quite dark, but we wanted the album to be different and a notable contrast to our back-catalogue.”

The cover icon is made of many replicas of a single sampled image. “In a way it depicts the nature of synthesised and sequential music, how one audio signal is replicated or manipulated in order to achieve a new effect or dimension,” tells Sanders. “So yeah ... We try not to cut corners.”

Aleph is released August 28, 2020 on Dais Records and can be pre-ordered now.