PREMIERE: TAUK tells a sci-fi love story in music video for “Checkmate”

TAUK checkmate
Credit: Zack Bernstein

The great thing about science fiction is how many possibilities there are in storytelling and world building. If you can think of it and explain it somehow, you can create it. The opportunities for exploration and experimentation are endless. Science fiction has long dominated books, video games, and films, but there’s room for it in music as well. New York quartet TAUK are exploring sci-fi in their instrumental music, telling an other-worldly tale on their upcoming album Shapeshifter II: Outbreak, due out on September 28. The band–made up of guitarist Matt Jalbert, keyboardist Alric “A.C.” Carter, bassist Charlie Dolan, and drummer Isaac Teel–is giving listeners a taste of that sci-fi world they’ve created with the music video for single “Checkmate.” Substream is thrilled to have the premiere of this music video, so get your popcorn ready and lets dive in.

The video for “Checkmate” is a love story at its core. On one side of the equation is A.C., living in an isolated farmhouse. The other half of this love story is some sort of life-form that manifests as a floating aura of light. The two do normal couple things together like watch TV and take pictures together, and the music perfectly matches the budding relationship between the two. Of course there’s always going to be a conflict, and here it is provided by a mysterious group of people in hazmat suits who clearly want our floating light friend for themselves. A.C. and his love aren’t too thrilled to be separated, though. “Checkmate” makes for a fun, thrilling story that will have you throughly invested in what’s happening through the whole runtime.

Matt Jalbert explains the video by saying “‘Checkmate’ tells the story of a loner who forms a relationship with a mysterious being. It could be a virus, it could be an alien, nobody really knows. Things seem to be going great to the man until he and the being are discovered. This thing has powers and energy that must be contained. This is our first real look into the Shapeshifter universe. It is creepy, funny, bizarre, there are elements of sci-fi… all ingredients that can be heard and felt in the music.”

Video director Zack Bernstein further adds “When the band and I first spoke about their concept for the video, I was excited to approach this surreal video in the most natural way possible. We wanted to do everything in-camera, without visual effects. Since it’s 2018, we really had to think outside of the box to create a visual representation of a living, breathing, and loving virus. The story revolves around A.C., a man who creates a virus he ends up forming a love affair with. However, their relationship is cut short when a group of people comes to take his love from him. He doesn’t go down without a fight.”

You can watch the video for “Checkmate” below. If you’re like me and can’t wait to find out the rest of the story, you’ll have to stay tuned for Shapeshifter II: Outbreak to arrive at the end of the month.