PREMIERE: Descartes A Kant Bring Colorful Dystopia to Life on ‘Graceless’ Music Video

Lead Photo: Photo by Persia Campbell.
Photo by Persia Campbell.
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Will the machines save us? According to Mexico’s long-running art rock band, Descartes A Kant, it’s possible. On their latest full-length, they explore the possibility of a new entity that can transform darkness into light, and they’re bringing their own idiosyncratic sensibilities along to this debate. Today (May 22), the quartet is premiering their music video for “Graceless,” a song off their fourth studio effort, After Destruction

This concept album centers around the story of “a virtual machine [that] can transform your inner pain into a healing work of art,” as singer/guitarist Sandrushka Petrova describes it. And as for the inspiration behind the song, Petrova tells Remezcla that the initial spark came after watching The Joker movie, which left her with an “overwhelming sensation of melancholy and heavy-heartedness […] In some way, it triggered introspection into the hopelessness and deteriorating mental health of the world we’re living in today.” 

As part of the After Destruction arc, Sandrushka explains: “‘Graceless’ tells a story of disappointment and emptiness [once] the illusion of success — as the media and consumer society [tells us how it should be] — shatters. When we perceive that such ideals are unrealistic and unattainable. This leads to an existential void that dims our capacity for astonishment and genuine joy, exposing our frailty and vulnerability to an uncaring and indifferent world.” 

Although the song’s lyrics can be a bit heavy, emotionally speaking, they are offset by the music. “Graceless” features ultra-melodic vocals, a mid-tempo dance-worthy beat, and some interesting guitar and keyboard textures. 

The video also brings a touch of color to the darkness within the song. Fashioned into a retro-futuristic setting with a pastel-colored palette, this visual is part of a collaboration with director Persia Campbell, who’ll release similar treatments for each track on the album. For the concept behind the “Graceless” video, she explains that after a brainstorming session they imagined “a universe comprised of a palette of pink hues, vintage televisions, and artificial flowers. The choice of artificial flowers was intentional, as it aligns perfectly with the song’s lyrics, depicting an idyllic world filled with color and meaning, yet with a sense of artificiality and disillusionment.”

About linking up with the band, Campbell says it was a collaborative effort. “Every moment of pre-production was very stimulating, visually and conceptually. However, it was challenging in terms of production,” she says. They recorded all the album’s videos in a single session in one day, incorporating different sets and scenes, and “Graceless” was one of the hardest given the set design and the added demand of coordinating it with the other setups required for the whole album. “Bringing our collective vision to life was a demanding yet rewarding experience,” she notes.

After Destruction has been out for a few months and is already making a good impression among fans, which will surely expand with their forthcoming tours around the U.S. and Europe. “We’re very pleased with the audiences’ response,” says Petrova. “It was risky [to] create a traditional album and [instead] have a machine become the storyteller that weaves the songs together. [That said], this seems to be [the reason] why it’s creating a bond during live performances. Touring this album has been incredibly fun.”

Perhaps another reason fans have reacted positively to After Destruction is that, even among its themes of doom and gloom, there’s a silver lining. “You can say it’s inspired by the idea that after destruction, there can be creation,” Petrova concludes.

Check out the premiere of “Graceless” below.