PREMIERE: Daphne Guinness Goes Glam Rock in "Remember to Breathe"

PREMIERE: Daphne Guinness Goes Glam Rock in "Remember to Breathe"

In an exclusive for V, Daphne Guinness unveils her first track and visual from her upcoming sophomore album.

In an exclusive for V, Daphne Guinness unveils her first track and visual from her upcoming sophomore album.

Text: Christina Cacouris

Daphne Guinness is done with melancholy.

Her debut album, Optimist in Black, was an ode to friends lost; an exorcism of sorts, confronting the years of sadness since the tragic deaths of Isabella Blow and Alexander McQueen (to whom the album was dedicated) whilst trying to remain strong. A year after the album’s release, she’s putting out her first song and visual off her upcoming second album, slated for the Spring—though she says she started recording Optimist’s follow up a mere 10 days after it launched last May.

“By the time I wrote the song ‘Optimist in Black’ I had to break free of the downward spiral,” she says. “By the second half of [that] album the songs started give me a way out, a way back to life.”

The return, “Remember to Breathe,” is an exercise in glam-rock both by herself and the legendary Tony Visconti, who reunited with Guinness for her latest offering. “Daphne loves the Glam Rock period of British Pop [which] I produced quite a bit of,” says Visconti. Along with guitarist Malcolm Doherty, “We set to work on updating it. Although Glam is simple and direct, Daphne still embroidered the basic structures with her complex and insightful poetry—more or less what Bowie and Bolan accomplished.”

The riotous track is both a sonic and visual delight, opening with Guinness tapping her sparkling signature heel-less platforms (courtesy of longtime friend and collaborator, the Japanese artist Noritaka Tatehana). “We aimed to visually capture the joy and buoyancy of the song,” says directors Fiona Garden and Ben Ashton—aka The Fashtons—who first worked with Guinness on “Marionettes” from her debut album. The glittery and whimsical film is typical Guinness over-the-top fashion (“We will be hoovering up glitter in our studio for years to come,” dryly noted the director duo). The opulent visuals are heightened by makeup artist Kabuki, who transformed Guinness into a Cleopatra-esque rockstar; “The process of this video has been spontaneous and collaborative,” says Garden of the many players involved. “The new Daphne era is about glam rock, fun, and positivity; psychedelia, cosmic function, and the beauty of collaboration.”

As for the lyrics “Love is a mystery/We’ve all got our hangups baby,” “It’s a goddamn mystery/ But I can just remember to breathe,” Guinness still sticks to her stream-of-consciousness technique. “The songs are my truth,” she says. “Sometimes how I feel changes so when I look back or sing them, [it’s] like reading my diary. To paraphrase Baudelaire: it feels like my heart has been rendered naked.” Adds Visconti: “Remember To Breathe is wonderful advice.” (The producer makes a cameo in the film, practicing Tai Chi—fitting, as the martial art centers largely around deep breathing.)

“I wanted to record this straight to analogue tape,” continues Guinness. “Everything you hear nowadays is recorded digitally, all you hear is made of ones and zeros. Analogue recording is how all the classic albums that I love were made—Doors, Beatles, Stones—it offers a far greater depth and color of sound.”

Reflecting on their collaborative relationship, which began thanks to an introduction by the late David Bowie, Guinness calls working with Tony Visconti “an absolute dream,” the two having developed “an unbreakable bond.” Visconti mirrors her sentiments: “I took an instant liking to her,” he says of their first meeting. “She played a demo [of] “An Evening In Space” and that blew my mind. Based on that one song I wanted to work with her.”

Whenever speaking of Visconti, Guinness is full of adoration. “I never stop learning with Tony,” she says. “It is constantly fascinating to be with him. His string orchestrations are things of sublime beauty.”

“We are constantly laughing and having a great time, but we also do get a lot done,” she adds. “And rock and roll is supposed to be fun. Otherwise... what's the point?!”

Watch the video for “Remember to Breathe” below, exclusively on V.

Credits: COVER IMAGE COURTESY OF THE FASHTONS

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