After spending time travelling through Latin America and the United States embracing the music on offer, singer-songwriter Ant Tarrant has returned to NZ with a new music video for his single, the sumptuous contemplative piano ballad Candle Lights. He talks us through the heartfelt song’s origins and creation, and allows us to premiere the video to you today.
Travelling around the world for most of my twenties, I’ve been on a bit of a rollercoaster. My most recent adventure in the tropics of Latin America was four years of extreme excitement, confusion, connection and a lot of chilli…With a lot of hellos come a lot of goodbyes.
After playing funky music on rooftop bars in tropical heat a piano ballad wasn’t the most obvious choice, but somehow it felt right. Candle Lights is a love letter to someone who showed me unconditional love and laughter over in Latino land. The piano parts were composed at my family home in Wellington last year. A lot of times I’ll sit at the piano and let it tell me how I’m feeling. It may sound cheesy but it’s much cheaper than conventional therapy! Back at home for the first time in years, it automatically put me in a state between sadness and the feeling that everything’s going to be OK. I had the house to myself and carefully constructed the lyrics over the next few days.
After laying the piano down with some John Legend inspiration, I thought, what good is a piano ballad without strings? They were next. I then added drums to enhance the emotion towards the end. I originally tried a full drum kit but every time I heard it, I pictured John Bonham banging away in the background. Don’t get me wrong, he’s an outstanding drummer, but it was taking away from the heart-felt emotion. I decided to go with more tribal drums, the kind you’ll find when walking into a spiritual ceremony in the jungle. I received feedback from a few trusted fellow producers, songwriters and friends and became satisfied with the final product.
The line, “we’ll shine like two little candle lights but on opposite sides of the sea”, shows our respect for each other and the choices we are going to make in our future lives. I’ve written a lot of fun, funky songs so this was a good chance to get another side of me out. The line that resonates the most with me is, “love is better than any drug”, which was literally said to me before I flew back home. I hope a few other people can find comfort in feeling that they’re not the only ones who go through tough moments.
The video was an easy shoot, filmed by Lochana Media in Auckland’s Anthology Lounge. We wanted to capture the simplicity of the song and focus on the emotion of the words rather than anything too overproduced. I later added some great footage from Taryn Elliot.
This was a self-produced song, but now I’m teaming up with other producers and writers in NZ and the US to create some new flavours. You can expect a cocktail of funky, deep songs, with a touch of Flight of the Conchords…