Video Voyageur: 3Qs with PhotoSynthesizers

PhotoSynthesizers are an intriguing outfit that hail from Richmond, Virginia. Tied down by no musical boundaries, they blend together the sounds of hip hop and rock to create a unique and eclectic sound that will be ringing in your ears for days.

Their honest lyricism, storytelling ways and in-your-face instrumentation makes PhotoSynthesizers the complete package..and like no others in the game right now. Their new video which comes in the form of “Ants In the Antennas,” gives a bold first look into the group for many. With our ears and eyes wide open, the video guides us on a brilliant journey; visual, musical and spiritual. We had the opportunity to speak with Maurice and Josh from the group as we dive deeper into their video and the process.

Tell us the story of this song, why did you choose to visualize this song specifically? 

Ants In The Antennas is an allegory regarding the belief in the ability of the collective to overpower seemingly insurmountable impediments. While there are parallels in the lyrics to our group and our endeavour to penetrate the music industry as the underdogs, it’s also about those in society that can slip through the cracks and become forgotten, even after possibly being revered at one time in their lives. Can that collective consciousness create a signal loud enough to finally be heard?

As for why we chose this song, once we started our quarantine sessions, we rediscovered what it was like to take it back to our beginnings as a group, working as a duo. We started out that way, and when COVID-19 disrupted our routines, we kept ourselves occupied through working with each other remotely. Musically, a lot of material was being laid out right out of the gates. But, we had just put out an LP in December of 2019 and didn’t want to have to turn right around and wait until an entirely new album was completed before we put out new material. Live shows weren’t happening, so we had to stay sharp and move forward. That’s where the idea of releasing a series of singles comprising an album came in. Think of it as a TV series, with episodes creating a season. This season of PhotoSynthesizers is called The World’s Fair. The phrase has several different interpretations, but one in particular is regarding the international exhibitions or expos held throughout the past couple centuries, where countries would congregate and showcase their nation’s achievements. In looking at 2020 and the pandemics we experienced as a nation (COVID and the continued racial injustices culminating), we can’t help but think, what will today’s World be able to show as its greatest achievements moving forward. Ants felt like the right introduction to that topic.

What was the inspiration behind this video(visuals, storyline, etc.)? 

During one of our many epic post-recording conversations, we were talking through the lyrics in Ants and how there are a number of military/combat-related lines in it. “Salute, Parachute, Boots, to Wheelchairs Broke” got us going down a path, leading to the issue of veteran homelessnes. 11% of homeless people in our country are veterans (20% of the male homeless population are veterans). Half of them are dealing with serious mental illness. We revere these men and women while they are serving our country, but clearly we are failing at remembering them once they are out of service.  

What was the process of making this video?

This was our first venture in producing a video on our own. We have learned to pull off writing, recording, mixing and mastering in-house, so why not add video production to the list. It was a great opportunity to grow, so we welcomed it. Our friends have some land located in a rural part of Virginia, which ended up being a perfect place to shoot most of the video. We also had a gracious family member with a similar rural setting, and we were able to lean on them to provide the setting for grabbing some of the final sequence.


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