Sometimes songs need time to grow into themselves, which is exactly what we’re witnessing in the new video for Jacob Banks’ “Unknown (To You)” out today (Oct. 3) via Darkroom/Interscope.
The video centers on an adolescent boy attempting to confront and resolve the tenuous relationship with his father. What follows is a trial of mixed signals and missed opportunities that’s both unflinching and affectionate in its portrayal of two polar opposites colliding. Although the scenes were not pulled directly from his past, the script written by Banks was informed by the recently matured relationship with his father and conversations he wishes they’d had earlier in life.
“I think the relationship is very tender between man-and-man because life teaches men to pretend to be okay all the time, and even when we’re not we have to always put on this brave face,” Banks tells Billboard. “I think it takes greater strength to be vulnerable than it is to pretend to be strong all the time.”
This realization has been hard-earned for the 26-year old singer and adds an entirely new depth to the track, which originally appeared on Banks’ 2015 EP The Paradox. Bringing back such a deep track for his upcoming debut album The Village — due out in Spring 2018 — is a nice nod to the past before moving forward. For Banks, it means getting another pass at an early cut from his catalogue and “really give it heart and soul, which is what I always wanted it to have.”
“I can write a song today and something can happen later down the line that gives that song new meaning to me,” Banks says. “Before when I wrote it, it was purely about a relationship. Now it has a more intimate meaning to me… now when I sing [“Unknown”] I think about my relationship with my family and my dad specifically.”
The delicate situation in the video is handled with an amount care and attention that only someone as invested as Jacob could infuse. Along with the writing credit, he served as a co-director with “Chainsmoking” collaborator FRMWRKLDN.
“I make music because I want to express myself. So expression allows me to dive into other things like…I could direct a music video,” Banks says. “For me, it was just an extension of myself.”
As if to extend himself even further, this fall finds Banks on his first headlining tour with stops in North America and Europe. The top billing doesn’t appear to have disconnected him from his humble roots as he looks ahead. “I started making music to impress my friends so I consider anyone that listens to my stuff as people that could possibly be my friends,” he explains. “I’m going around to see all my friends across the world and sing songs with them.”
At the top of his list of tour destinations is his hometown show in Birmingham, U.K. on Dec. 13. Additional tour information can be found on his website here.
Check out the video for “Unknown (To You)” below.