Earlier this week, Underoath debuted their video for “Paper Lung,” featuring symbols that many fans have interpreted to mean that the band have joined the Illuminati—a purported conspiratorial organization that some believe oversees all world affairs. Underoath’s upcoming tour is also called the Illuminato(u)r, based on the song, “Illuminator,” from the band’s latest full-length, Ø (Disambiguation).
As rumors increasingly swirled around the video, Underoath frontman Spencer Chamberlain posted that the band “have no affiliation with the ‘Illuminati’ or any other ‘secret society.’” He went on to say, “The ‘satanic’ and ‘cult’ symbols that are being questioned are not that at all. The director of the ‘Paper Lung’ video chose those symbols because they are very universal and have been used by many different groups over many generations.”
Today we received an exclusive statement from the aforementioned director, Jonathan Desbiens.
He told us:
“First off, I've always been a fan of Underoath since [2004’s] They're Only Chasing Safety and during my university years of fine arts, I was listening a lot to [2006’s] Define the Great Line while painting tons of abstract and expressive landscapes. So it was an honor and it felt very natural to me to make this video. I've also always been very impressed by the fact that the band are Christian and able to connect with all kinds of crowds, including religious and non-religious people. I think this is something very unique that has always made me curious. So I've inspired myself with this concept and applied it for the ‘Paper Lung’ music video.
I came up with this idea of apocalypse/end of times, which is a topic that not only concerns Christians, but every living human. This video tries to show an artistic, fantasist and very personal interpretation of the end of times within an universal approach. I've divided this ‘apocalypse’ into three steps according to the structure of the song. First, there is the physical end of time—the earth freezes because of global warming, let's say, then explodes from the inside. The second step is the metaphorical end of times—the fire is burning in a surreal manner which poetically presents the death of everything physical. Then third and finally, the symbolical stage. These aggressive symbols have been put together in this manner to give to the viewer a feeling of urgency and that spiritual revelations are being made. If you take a closer look at all the symbols—even though they could be related to many great or not so great spiritual movements—they all represent concepts of cycles of life, eternity, revolution, chaos, immortality, etc. But there are also random designs that I've made myself to make this ending a little bit scary and shocking. I wanted to leave this part open to many interpretations—which may include that you have to fight against symbols that you are forced to be exposed to. In other words, it may be the final test before the end of the world and you have to stick to what you believe, not necessarily what these symbols might tell you. What happens after that step is left open to the viewer, depending on what he or she believes. I wanted to create something that was both beautiful and—in the context—provocative. To me, that's what art is all about.”
What do you think about all this? Tell us!