Washed Out Breaks Down New Album 'Purple Noon'

Washed Out Breaks Down New Album 'Purple Noon'

The influences behind his new project...

Each album from Washed Out seems to inhabit a particular realm.

New album 'Purple Noon' emphasises that; a rich, personal song cycle, its lush atmospherics intermingle with some of Ernest Green's finest songwriting yet.

Out now, Clash lauded the release, praising the nuanced textures and potent sound palette.

Clash invited Washed Out to break down the release, exposing his aural and visual influences...

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Mediterranean Coast

The photograph used on the 'Purple Noon' album cover was taken in Santorini, Greece. I’ve been lucky enough to travel all over the world throughout my career with Washed Out - and I can honestly say that some of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen happened during my brief travels throughout the Greek isles.

The Mediterranean coastline - with its rugged elegance and old-world charm - quickly became the main inspiration for 'Purple Noon' - and in a lot of ways the songs were written with the landscape in mind. I tried to load the songs with the same romance, glamour, and exoticism that I felt during those memories from the trip. 

This video is Milos, Greece another island that we visited on our trip. It has the most unique white rocky beach that is made from volcanic rock.

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Sade

Sade (and her music and aesthetic) is probably the closest reference to the mood I was going for here with the overall feel for the album. Her music has this relaxing, romantic quality about it that also feels quite cool and glamorous.

Even her fashion style (and the way she was photographed early in her career) has been a big influence. Her wardrobe aesthetic was well composed with nods to high-fashion - but was also quite casual and bohemian-leaning that created this nice mood of “island-chic”.

I guess I was hoping for something similar here with 'Purple Noon' - something that is both romantic and sexy and that helps transport the listener to this fantasy environment I was envisioning…

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The Talented Mr. Ripley

I love how films can easily transport you to another time and place - and watching movies has always been a big inspiration for me. The Talented Mr. Ripley is the most obvious influence - as the name 'Purple Noon' was taken from the original English translation title for Plein Soleil - the original Ripley film from 1960 shot in France.

The 1999 Ripley film starring Jude Law and Matt Damon paints a really romantic picture of coastal Italy in the mid-1950’s. The characters are young, rich and beautiful - and live an expat lifestyle that is beautifully captured in locations like Positano and Rome.

Other notable films for inspiration were Luca Guadagnino’s A Bigger Splash and Call Me By Your Name, Bernardo Bertolucci’s Stealing Beauty, and Tom Kalin’s Savage Grace.

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Herb Ritts

One of my early cues for the visual style of 'Purple Noon' was the photograph’s of Herb Ritts - a 90’s fashion photographer.

I’ve had photos of his hung all over my studio since the very first day I started writing and his clean, glossy visual style has informed every step of the process. His photos are elegant and sexy - and there is always a sense of fantasy at play - like he is capturing an idealized version of reality.

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Slim Aarons

Slim Aarons was a fairly famous photographer that shot from the 50’s all the way through the 90’s. He shot all over the world and had a reputation of shooting the most glamorous people and places all over the world.

This quote kind of sums up his visual aesthetic and philosophy: “I have concentrated on photographing attractive people who were doing attractive things in attractive places.”

While that might ring a little bit superficial, I really do believe he had an eye for beauty and how to capture a fantasised version of reality that can serve as an escapist dream.

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