On April 19th, 1810, in order to establish a new nation, based on the premises of equality of individuals, abolition of censorship and dedication to freedom of expression, a national movement was born to achieve the independence of Venezuela from the Spanish Crown. Björk has used live performances of Declare Independence to express political support for various causes, often to some controversy and I am confident that she would be delighted to lend her support to the people who are faced with the tough political situation Venezuela is getting through right now.
Declare Independence is the third single from her sixth full-length studio album, Volta. The song was originally an instrumental track by British musician and frequent musical collaborator Mark Bell, performed at his live shows as early as November, 2006. Björk later added her vocals on top. The lyrics are dedicated to the Faroe Islands and Greenland, islands currently ruled by Denmark, as Björk’s home country of Iceland had been.
The military-themed performance video was directed by French director Michel Gondry. It is his seventh video with Björk, and the first since 1997′s Bachelorette. In a press conference on March 22, 2007, Gondry stated that he would be shooting a video with Björk for an upcoming single, and though he did not specifically state which song it would be for, described his treatment as being for a “punk” song.
Army of Me was released as the lead single from her second solo album Post (1995). The song partially samples the drum line of When the Levee Breaks by the Led Zeppelin.
The singer said that she wanted to capture that “tanker-truck” feeling, the sense of a big machine grinding unstoppably through town and further stated: “I thought I should be driving a very, very big truck to try to wake this person who’s asleep, so I get the biggest truck in the world, and I’m so mad I’ve got metallic teeth, because when you’re really angry, you grind your teeth. So I have to go to the dentist, who tries to steal away from me a diamond I don’t know I have”.
When Michel [Gondry] gets his strokes of genius and, in the video for Army of Me, wants a dentist who’s a gorilla to find a diamond in my mouth, some people call it nonsense. But it’s probably the most realistic way of expressing what situation I’m in – all these people trying to take things away from me, and the gorilla finding a diamond that I don’t know I have and then stealing it. Army of Me is so much about me actually learning that I have to defend myself. I have to stand up and fight the fucking gorilla. Once I’ve got the diamond and I run away with it, it becomes massive ‘cos it’s mine. But if the gorilla had kept it, it would have gone really tiny. That’s surrealism for me