Robert Schwartzman is everywhere in Rooney’s new video for “My Heart Beats 4 U” — literally everywhere: The clip, premiering exclusively on EW, features the frontman embodying a variety of characters through different personas and looks in the style of movies like Multiplicity or Coming to America.
“When any performer puts on something like an outfit or a wig or makeup, you transform. You start to act different,” Schwartzman tells EW. “So I felt like in doing this video, there was a transformation. Although we shot this in just one day, [director Kevin Parker Flynn] said he noticed that every time I changed, I changed my attitude. I would talk differently or act differently based on the characters I was playing.”
Those characters include a mustached guitarist, a producer with a “weird, creepy Scarface look” complete with a low ponytail, and a bassist sporting a man-bun. “Out of all the videos I’ve ever done for Rooney, this one is really special, because I’ve never had to wear so many hats at one time,” Schwartzman says. “And I do think it speaks to how the song was made because it’s like the way I record music. I’m usually alone in a studio and I’m usually bouncing around to different instruments.”
Schwartzman announced via a Facebook note in February that Rooney now has a new lineup, one he tells EW is “ever-evolving.” The upcoming Washed Away marks the band’s first record without the original members, and also their first since 2010’s Eureka. “Nowadays, I feel like the music industry is best suited for artists who can just run with it, and that’s kind of speaking my language, because that’s how I like to work — not be too precious, and just be creative,” Schwartzman says.
And being creative is nothing new to Schwartzman: He’s spent the last six years releasing two albums under the name Starsystem, and writing and directing Dreamland, a film set to debut at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. But right now, he’s ready to bring Rooney back.
“Fans have invested a lot of time into this project, and I really want to do right by what the legacy so far of the band is,” Schwartzman says. “I hope to take Rooney to an exciting place in today’s new music landscape, because I feel like the soil is fertile and the sun is shining and the water is flowing and I think there will be good things growing in this garden.”
Below, see the premiere of “My Heart Beats 4 U” and the dates for the first leg of Rooney’s tour. Washed Away arrives May 6.
May 3: Santa Cruz, CA
May 4: San Francisco, CA
May 6: Los Angeles, CA
May 18: Boston, MA
May 19: Philadelphia, PA
May 20: Brooklyn, NY
May 21: Washington, D.C.