Video Voyageur: 3Qs with Gift of Tongues

David E. Johnston is the brainchild of Gift of Tongues. His music and energy flows spontaneously without trying to mimic or consciously capture an aesthetic. David writes on a keyboard, and what comes out organically invites comparisons to 1980s new wave/synth pop, 1970s disco, and more contemporary electronic artists such as The Knife, Planningtorock, and Zeigeist. David is an emotionally visceral writer whether he’s writing about a man he loves or about a traumatic experience. Signature to his musings is often an intriguing juxtaposition between his words and his music. His songs fizz with sugary synth-pop hooks and undeniable grooves. These invigorating electro-pop songs move your body, and, if you listen closely, they will stir your soul.The Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter has created a safe space to heal and to process his depression and anxiety through dance music. Previous to his intimately revealing electronic releases, David had a critically-acclaimed theatre career and was known for dramatically inhabiting various personae. In his songs, however, David is David. We chatted with David regarding his new video for “Becoming,” which you can dive into…

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

“Becoming” is a melancholy trip hop song about rediscovery and transformation that was inspired by my friend Danielle, who transitioned from male to female several years ago. It is also what I consider a “hidden gem” in the album that doesn’t sound like the other electro songs that I created. In my opinion, transgendered people are at the forefront of the Gay Pride movement, as I believe their journey is one of the hardest, and that their bravery and courage command the greatest form of respect.

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

Besides my inspiration from my friend, I decided that the best imagery for Danielle’s transition would be that of  metamorphosis and emergence. Since Danielle feels like a newly evolved person, I figured that showing flowers going from their buds to full bloom would highlight this idea in the best way.

3. What was the process of making this video?

The process was using found footage of blooming flowers from a variety of stock footage sites, and then manipulating some of them by doubling them in the frame or dividing them horizontally. The editing was done in After Effects while listening to the song.


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