Singer/songwriter Matt Hitchens, who releases music as Diamond Shake, has released the final music video from his self-Produced album From Method To Madness, this one for the closing track “Heard It All Before”. Over the last two years, Diamond Shake has been releasing a series of hand-drawn animated videos for each track on the album, a collaborative effort with illustrator and animation artist Dominique Bloink, completing the full visual album.
From Method to Madness is a Pink Floyd-inspired conceptual rock album that deals with Hitchens’ struggles with depression throughout, but “Heard It All Before” is the moment those themes are made most explicit.
Speaking to the inspirations behind the song and some of his struggles with mental health, Hutchins writes:
“‘Heard It All Before’ is about not being able to carry on, originally about my life in music. I had spent twenty years playing instruments and making music in bands but had never felt like I’d achieved anything or gotten anywhere. Five years ago I went through an incredibly difficult period of time due to a visa denial, that would have meant I had to leave America and go back to the UK. Eventually it was reversed and I was allowed to stay, but it forced me to reevaluate my dedication to music. Having put everything I had into making that music, I thought ‘If this isn’t any good after all that work, it will never happen and I will have to give it up’. ‘Heard It All Before’ is about going through that situation and having to give up the life I had in America and being a musician.
After it was finished I started see the parallels with suicide, particularly in the chorus lyrics ‘Say it’s time to end the life I never even had’. I started having suicidal thoughts when I was around 10 years old. Images and scenes of me jumping off buildings or hanging myself, for example, would start playing out in my head and get more violent over time.Therapy and things like meditation have helped me get a grip on it over the last few years but it led to the idea for the video… It always felt like there was something else driving the narrative. When things were bad it would be louder and more constant, and when things were good it would quiet down. I thought of a hearse driver leading the character to what we initially think is a funeral of a loved one, but is actually to his own grave and beyond.”
Discussing the reference points and inspiration for the video itself, animator Dominique Bloink writes:
“The song deals with the subject of depression, suicide and self reflection, and Matt wanted something that’s a bit surreal, but also a bit Dickensian. The character is pupil-less, harking back to our previous video for “Ghosts”, and implying even though he’s alive, he doesn’t really feel it anymore. We follow him throughout his day, from when he wakes up, until night falls and a strange driver comes knocking at his door. This is the personification of Death, here to lead him on the journey. You’ll notice the shots of the main character following Death’s carriage through the city are super panned out, so we get this sense of just how small and alone he’s feeling. Matt also had an idea for these Bauhaus-style dancers, which we see hidden throughout the background of the carriage journey – they come and go, potential figments of his imagination. As they arrive at the graveyard, Death disappears and we’re left wondering if he too was actually a figment. Our character falls back and suddenly the dark blues & grays shift to this bright, sickly yellow.”