John Singer Sergeant “Mountains, Oceans, Elephants” & “Gone In A Second”

John Singer SergeantArtist:
Ben Rowe
Alice Cohen
Add Date:
July 9, 2012


Hello friends, it’s the HIP Video Promo crew here, proud to reveal two enthralling videos by the ever talented artist known as John Singer Sergeant. John Dufilho has been writing music since the year 2000—in fact, eight albums worth of it! On his first full-length album since 2008 to be released under his new name, John Singer Sergeant, this creative and edgy collection of songs takes on a serious collaborative effort. With tracks that include backing music that Sergeant recorded entirely by himself, he invited a cast of well-known musicians to appear on this work of art. Artists such as Ben Kweller, The Apples in Stereo Robert Schneider, Centro-matic’s Will Johnson, Rhett Miller of the Old 97s, Kool and the Gang’s Sir Earl Tool, HIP favorite and lablemate Sarah Jaffe, and Death Cab for Cutie’s Chris Walla.

Currently also the drummer for Apples in Stereo, John Dufilho’s new project was inspired by, and is a downright homage to the nineteenth century American painter, John Singer Sargent (note the difference in spellings!). The album’s inspirational motifs and recollections paint their own pictures, giving all fourteen songs a definitive sense of recognition. All include a number of incredible artists and songwriters; it would be hard to say that Dufilho isn’t creating his own homage for all well-known, self-inspired contemporary artists on today’s indie-rock scene. In his video for “Mountains, Oceans, and Elephants,” viewers completely divulge themselves in Wes Anderson-esque theme, where there is a balance between time and theatrical elements.

“Mountains, Oceans, and Elephants” features the welcoming vocals of Ben Kweller, and the video is absolutely compelling. The analysis of a large birthday cake echoes familiar family memories that have been created throughout the years. The burning of still wrapped presents, uneaten candy on the ground, and deflated balloons represent the distance between family members and other relationships centered around the very feelings of love as people grow older. However, “Mountains, Oceans, and Elephants” seems cryptic and hard-hearted, but the captivating vocals of Ben Kweller and the ever-so calming sounds that Dufilho creates leave you breathless, yet somehow relieved.

The video for “Gone in a Second” includes moving paper dolls and pictures of horn sections that create a certain elegance that reminds us all of another, distant time of the past. However, the title of the song stands for the theme of this video—time moves too fast! The song features Tony Miller, Sarah Jaffe, and Spyche, artists that have all made a name for themselves over the years. The song is a celebration of timelessness and the wonders of heartwarming music!

John Singer Sergeant plays with many ideas and themes that revolve around the every day elements of life. But there is a sense of searching and contemplation within this artist’s soul that is undeniable, yet incredibly recognizable. We’re very excited to be working with the good folks at Kirtland Records to bring you these excellent clips and we’re here to hook you up with anything you may need. For more information you can contact Andy Gesner and the HIP Video Promo staff at (732)-613-1779 or email us at . You can also visit for more info on John Singer Sergeant.

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