Arkells Get Weird for Dream-Like 'Relentless' Video: Premiere

Matt Barnes

Arkells opted to show a little "strength in numbers" with the video for "Relentless," premiering below from the Canadian quintet's upcoming fifth studio album Rally Cry.

Director Mark Myers employs a few avant garde, trippy touches in the clip to help it rise above the usual performance video. "We wanted to make something weird and strange but also very accessible," frontman Max Kerman tells Billboard. And Arkells also wanted to make sure it conveyed the collective attitude of the band. "The subject matter of 'Relentless' is how do you find strength in the people around you?'" explains Kerman, who rocks a seriously fringed jacket in the clip. "So that's why the band is featured really prominently. Some previous (videos) have been more me-focused, but this is really a collective effort and we wanted to make sure everybody was in the music video."

The "Relentless" video was filmed during a hot summer night, primarily on a country road outside of Toronto -- also appropriate for the song, according to Kerman. "With the vibe of the tune, we immediately thought of the nighttime and something dark and surreal and vibey. That was the starting point for the video," he says. "It's kind of like you're kind of in a dream. You're thinking about what you're going to do the next day and kind of in the middle of a little stress and anxiety, thinking, 'How am I gonna fight through this and see the light?'

"We're always trying to figure out what represents the song the best and makes you want to like the song even more."

"Relentless" is one of 10 tracks featured on Rally Cry, which comes out Oct. 19 as the follow-up to 2016's Morning Report. Unlike the latter's multiple producers approach, Arkells worked with just one, Eric Ratz, this time, recording in three-to-five day increments, mostly in between tour dates.

"I feel like if I get stuck in the studio for too long I get restless, and if I'm on tour too long I get restless, so being able to jump back and forth is good for my creative vein," Kerman says. "Coming right off the road let us catch the energy of being on the road. It's better than settling in for, like, weeks to make an album." The band brought about 17 songs to work on for the polished, pop-flavored set, ultimately whittling it down to just 10 for the finished product.

"We wanted to keep it short," Kerman says. "I'm really interested in shorter records -- I think I've always been interested in shorter records. A lot of Springsteen records are actually kind of short, which I really like. We had a lot of ideas, but I didn't want it to be a meandering record; I wanted it to be really focused. I think each song has its purpose and we really did a good job of trimming the fat and making it a good listen from start to finish."