Radiohead’s Burn the Witch may be critique of refugee crisis, says animator

Virpi Kettu suggests the band’s latest video and title could allude to the ‘blaming of different people’

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Thom Yorke … Not one to be second guessed. Photograph: MediaPunch/Rex Shutterstock

The animator of Radiohead’s Camberwick-Green-meets-The-Wicker-Man video for Burn the Witch has suggested the clip might have been a commentary on Europe’s refugee crisis.

In an interview with Billboard, Virpi Kettu said the band may have wanted to increase awareness of the issue, especially “the blaming of different people … the blaming of Muslims” that leads people to want to metaphorically “burn the witch”.

Kettu also referred to the postcard sent to Radiohead fans bearing the words: “We know where you live,” which she suggested reflected the insecurity promoted by politicians demanding a clampdown on the movement of refugees.

However, Radiohead – never ones to be second-guessed – appear to be damping down speculation. Billboard’s interview with Kettu is headed with a disclaimer insisting: “The opinions expressed in this article about Burn the Witch do not necessarily reflect those of the band, the video’s director or any of the band’s representatives.”

As of Thursday morning, the Burn the Witch video – launched at 4pm BST on Tuesday – had chalked up more than 6.6m views on YouTube. Using animation in the style of the Trumptonshire trilogy, the children’s animations made between 1966 and 1969 and set in an all-white, happy rural England, the video portrays a community where paranoia and rage go hand in hand with bucolic peace – the clip ends, seemingly, with an outsider being burned alive in a giant wicker man.

Kettu said the clip took two weeks to make from start to finish, with the team producing an average of 30 seconds of animation per day, compared with the 12 seconds that was typical when she worked at Aardman. She only learned the video had been released on Tuesday, the same time as the rest of the world.

Via the Guardian

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