Enter the secretive world of North Korea with Schwarz’ video for In Your Eyes

An insider's view of North Korea.

11 months agoText by


If you’re going to distinguish yourself as a musician, you need to persevere with more than just music. In order to hook someone to your sound, artists need to catch listener’s eye and capture their imaginations too. Look at our current cover star. Kojey Radical drops a visual masterpiece every time he lays down a track and seeing a video for the first time is like being given the AAA pass into his consciousness. It’s a way for an artist to help fill in the gaps, cement their ideas, and address your understanding of them in a few minutes.

In the case of Schwarz, aka Roland Meyer de Voltaire, an artist hailing from Bonn, Dublin, Moscow and Beijing, it appears he’s making his visuals as much a part of his presence as his sound. For his last release, he partnered with the director of Meanwhile Mamelodi, Benjamin Kahlmeyer, on the video. The footage is based on the original film and follows the daily lives of a family in South Africa as they overcome political change and their own personal struggles.

For Schwarz’ ‘In Your Eyes’, de Voltaire continues his excursion into the cinematic, this time collaborating with Russian director Vitaly Manski of the critically acclaimed documentary film Under the Sun which follows a family in the highly secretive state of North Korea in the run-up to public celebrations. The video for ‘In Your Eyes’ concentrates on the daughter of the family, Zin-mi as she prepares to join the Korean Children’s Union, and, in her own words, “enters adulthood.” She says with a tear in her eye, “Now you feel grown up and are responsible for your mistakes.”

There are moments of apprehension, hope and pride felt throughout the film, mirrored in the uplifting segments of ‘In Your Eyes’ and yet contrasted with the bleak surroundings of Pyongyang and the omnipresence Korea’s past and current leaders. Yet, edited with the track and its building synths and choral voices, the footage is given new meaning, and the viewer is asked to appreciate the connection between those in North Korea, united in their shared love of the state, rather than focus on the oppressive nature of their particular society. “With ‘In Your Eyes’, I want to motivate people to look into someone’s eyes and see what connects, not what distinguishes us,” Schwarz concludes.

The single follows the success of ‘Home’ which has over a million streams on Spotify alone and will be followed by an EP in early 2018. Watch the video below.

Find Schwarz on Instagram. Phie McKenzie is on Twitter.