Khemmis Music Video Eric Paton

Confronting Inadequacy

August 9, 2021

This past weekend Khemmis recorded our first ‘proper’ music video, and we are incredibly excited to share it with you soon. To be honest, in the past we just haven’t had the financial support necessary to put together a video that does what we have always wanted: compliment without taking away from a song; provide visual representations of album themes in the same way our lyrics do, without being too literal or drawn too closely from the song narrative; and, look as polished and professional as the music is. Getting this thing together was not easy, by any stretch of the imagination, but we have so much gratitude for the crew that helped us fulfill this vision. THANK YOU for your incredible perseverance and ability, Eric, Maddi, Carmen, Amanda, and Alex.

Part of the reason I am so grateful for their efforts is because this almost didn’t happen. After weeks of stressing about it, discussing concepts for the narrative, securing a location, and figuring out how we were going to build a pretty large and unorthodox set, complete with a whole host of its own logistical concerns, the lead actress quit on the day of shooting. The video director and I discussed a couple pretty grim options for how to save this thing, but ultimately it became obvious that the only real thing to do was for me (Phil) to step into the lead role and just give it my best shot, despite the fear and uncertainty of whether I could do it. Strange and arduous as it was (we filmed the narrative portion from 10pm to 7am, with me spending about 6 hours soaking wet in a cold warehouse, before loading gear and filming performance footage most of the remaining, ‘next’ day), it was equally liberating to face my insecurities wholeheartedly and just give my acting debut everything I had. And you know what? I am really proud of the performance, even if I surely won’t be winning an Oscar anytime soon.

I promise I’m getting to the point, and this isn’t just an excuse to pat myself on the back. Sometime around 3am, as I stood shivering in wet jeans and t-shirt, I made the mistake of glancing at the shot list only to realize that we still had two thirds of the scenes left to film. My first thought in that moment was, “I honestly don’t know that I have it in me to do this. I can’t believe that I am going to be the reason that it doesn’t happen, just like I feared.” Then, the recognition of a familiar storyline, “there you are again, old friend!” One of my greatest struggles as a human, clinging to this rock as it flies through space, is that in the face of very high expectations for nearly everything I do, I constantly fall short and tear myself apart over my inadequacies. In this particular moment, however, I became acutely aware of the fact that, as long as I gave it my whole heart and continued to push through, it would be good enough. I was good enough.

As a singer, lyricist, and guitarist, I cannot tell you how many times I have bought into this storyline, and how particularly relevant it was in the 18 months or so surrounding the creation of this new album. At first, I was so disappointed that here it was again, just as strong as ever, after spending months excising it from my system in the studio; but, upon reflection, I’m grateful for its lesson. It isn’t something to ‘get over’ or ‘defeat’. It is a means of becoming a better, happier me, more capable of giving and receiving love, especially for myself. We are all worthy of that and need the occasional reminder that our value as humans isn’t defined by the quality of what we create or how well we fulfill our own, unrealistic expectations for ourselves: it is defined by our willingness to try.