Video Voyager: AP Tobler’s “Claustrophobia”

AP Tobler has released their new single “Claustrophobia” and it’s accompanying video, an alt rock grunge song reminiscent of Green Day meets Weezer.

The song is about how uncomfortable they are in their own skin and is translated into their video. The whole thing is quick frames of a variety of different shots, consisting of AP in several different positions and outfits, the empty coach, and the empty coach with just their guitar. The many different ways they orient themselves is a perfect representation of trying to find comfort with yourself.

We spoke with AP about their video. Check out what they had to share about the “Claustrophobia” music video:

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

Claustrophobia is about feeling trapped and uncomfortable in your body. I wrote this song at a point of severe discomfort with myself. I was also just getting out of a spell of writer’s block and it took me quite a while to bring the song to completion. In the video, I wear all sorts of different clothes. The line, “You can’t become a new person every day,” inspired these outfit changes that show my futile attempts to renew myself.

What was the inspiration behind this video?

The video features myself singing the song while sitting on a desolate sofa. My outfit and position changes often in the video. These outfit changes represent that no matter what external things I change, I am still the same at the core, even if I don’t want to be.

What was the process of making this video?

The process of making the video was super easy and quick. The shoot consisted of myself singing along to the track in varying outfits and positions. The video was different from my others as we used a single camera angle for all the shots. We shot in my house which helped us prepare test shots and make sure we would get what we wanted. I did multiple sing throughs in each outfit and my dad did the editing. The tv frame and glitches represent changing the channel on an old television. While the concept is simple it is one of my favorites.

Watch here:

Connect with AP Tobler via:
Website / Instagram / Twitter / Facebook / TikTok / YouTube / Spotify / Soundcloud

Video Voyager: Yutao’s Lofi Single “Sensation”

Yutao is the indie bedroom pop artist based in Los Angeles. His songs are emotive but elusive, with lyrics that explore frustration, lost love, identity, wanting to belong, and music that is delicately dense with lush ambience and airy melodies. His aesthetic evokes alternative electro-pop artist keishi, and the vibrant scene of young Asian musicians around the 88rising record label. 

His video for his latest single “Sensation,” is a hypnotic counterpart to the song. It’s somehow both still and ever-moving. He captures a sense of passion and whirling emotions, the sensations of a new relationship, but also shares the fast-paced nature of it. The camera never stops moving, almost like a visual time limit. Nothing lasts forever.

We spoke with Yutao about the music video for “Sensation”:

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

The story of this song is about capturing the sensation of those “fireworks” like emotion & relationship. As if two people know nothing will last, the moment is too beautiful to pass. 

What was the inspiration behind this video? 

The inspiration summarizes my past relationship experience; just when you were still in the moment of the “firework,” the show ended without you even realizing it. 

What was the process of making this video?

We found a location in LA where the owner renovated the whole house into a trippy greenhouse. After discussing the direction, we decided to take the approach to a more dreamy and psychedelic type of experience to recreate the short-lasting sensation.

Watch here:

Connect with Yutao via:

Website / Instagram / Twitter / Facebook / TikTok / YouTube / Spotify

Video Voyager: The Speaker Wars “It Ain’t Easy”

Hall of Fame drummer Stan Lynch and singer-songwriter Jon Christopher Davis have come together to create the music they want on their own terms; they are The Speaker Wars. Their music has a vintage classic rock vibe with a contemporary spin. Their video for their latest single “It Ain’t Easy” is simple yet effective. It’s all in black and white and depicts the band playing in the studio. The song itself if about aging in any industry, but specifically the music industry for Stan and Jon. Getting older doesn’t have to be a negative thing and this video shows their grace and acceptance of it. Just them playing music is all they need to share this message.

We spoke with Jon Christopher Davis about the video. Let’s dive in:

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

“It Ain’t Easy”‘ is about finding a renewed sense of purpose while learning how to age gracefully. I think it speaks to the confrontation of aging in any industry.

What was the inspiration behind this video?

To simply show that mojo doesn’t have an expiration date unless you let it. Getting older and wiser is cool. It’s a privilege and it’s liberating. Life gets mighty precious when there’s less of it to waste.

What was the process of making this video?

We shot our scenes separately during the middle of the pandemic. Stan was in Florida, and I was in Texas. It’s always a challenge whenever you can’t be in the same room, but it turned out great thanks to our director, Brad Osborne. It’s simple and soulful, and that’s what The Speaker Wars are all about.

Watch here:

Connect with The Speaker Wars via:
Website // Instagram // Facebook // YouTube // Spotify // Soundcloud

Video Voyager with Nature Loves Courage

Nature Loves Courage takes the bounds of genre and blurs the lines, creating sounds with instrumentation and electronic elements. After years spent solo, bassist Jacob Bergman and drummer Garrett Smith join McKenna as LA-based Nature Loves Courage, the electronic art-rock group bending entire genres to their will. Out summer ’22, their self-titled debut confronts the absurdities of the digital age, proposing a brave return to humanity’s fabled roots atop McKenna’s multifaceted sound.

Their latest single “Dark Horse” and the accompanying video is going to be what makes their mark. It’s mysterious and aids in the story of the song. The red lighting with the horse imagery and the band coming in and out of frame helps create this space that’s unknown and intriguing.

We got a chance to speak with McKenna Rowe, the band’s front woman, about the video for “Dark Horse”:

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

This song was inspired by friends of mine exploring the polyamory scene and their stories about their experiences. The arrangement and feel to this song is dark and mysterious, as if it could serve as the soundtrack in a movie with a scene with a swingers’ club or party. For the video, we chose not to literally depict such a scene, due to the complexity of hiring so many extras, and with the goal of not being quite so literal. Instead, we decided to allow some more room for interpretation on the part of the viewer, depicting the band going into a “dream state” or “surreal dimension” when the song kicks off.

What was the inspiration behind this video?

The biggest influences behind the video concept are David Lynch and graphic novels. I have always loved how David Lynch depicts different dimensions of existence or timelines his characters move through. In nods to Twin Peaks and Mulholland Drive, our video shows the discovery of a mysterious object that then “sucks” you into dream-like dimension, where the band appears to be trapped, eventually “spinning out of control” until the “escape” at the end…although we don’t really know if the ending is a return to “normalcy” or a teleportation into yet another strange dimension. The blacked out background and intense red color on subjects are also influenced a lot by Lynch’s choice of cinematography and lighting, and how we framed my face in many shots was influenced by how you might see a story depicted in comic book panels.

What was the process of making this video?

A big thank you to director Alyssa of Holy Smoke Photography (and assistant Claire!), who was able to take some tricky abstract ideas and translate into the finished product! She and I met before the shoot to discuss concepts…I made it clear that creating a mood was more important to me than telling a literal story with start-middle-end. Alyssa put together a shot list which is extremely helpful for a band to have…we had a good idea of how the day would go and what to expect. We used Peerspace (shout out!) to rent out a stage in Boyle Heights that had the blackout capability we needed to be able to achieve the surreal, red look to everything. Another thing we did was shoot some of the video performing the song at 150% speed, so that when it was slowed down to match the normal speed of the song, our motions themselves would seem more surreal. Alyssa also sometimes used a prism in front of the camera lens to create interesting transitions/effects. We went through about 3 revisions of edits to the video until we reached our final. I think it turned out very well considering the limited time, budget and resources and the fact that this was our first time making a music video. Personally, I learned a lot from the experience… have lots of ideas for the next video and how to set up shots so that I photograph best.

Watch here:

Connect with Nature Loves Courage
Website // Instagram // Twitter// Facebook // Spotify

Video Voyager: Jeff Hilliard’s “Abandon”

Jeff Hilliard is an award winning video producer and director who’s newest work, “Abandon,” is a visual and musical marvel. His vision for the song couldn’t have been done without a video. This metal ballad and heavy rock song is catchy and easily gets stuck in your head. The video is one that you watch many times to not just listen to the song, but try and find new things with each viewing.

We got a chance to speak with Jeff about his video. Let’s dive in:

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

Well I wanted to do an 80’s metal ballad, I thought it would be funny to tell the story of Dwight a 49 year old Uber driver that still holding onto his 80’s metal fantasy while living at home with his mother. He has a one stand with a married lady and he can’t let it go. While writing the song I knew I had to make a music videos for it, it’s just too good.  The only way I good see the video was to make it verbatim to the song.

What was the inspiration behind this video?

I wanted to stick with the classic 80’s metal music video except my hero was not the cool guy.

What was the process of making this video?

They are all pretty much the same… I tell my team it’s time to do another and we set out and make it happen.  I work with a brilliant cinematographer John Orphan and editor Bobby Hewitt. We work very well together and have a lot of fun making them.

Watch here:

Connect with Jeff Hilliard
Website // Instagram // Twitter // Facebook // TikTok // YouTube // Spotify

Video Voyager: 3Q’s with Goose Bolton

Goose Bolton is a mysterious figure, who we are told came from outer space and crash landed here on earth in early AD 2021 after an intergalactic heist went awry. He has been releasing experimental music for a while, and his latest single/video “Lunatic” is one of them.

We spoke with Goose about this strange, yet powerful video:

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

The song originated as a sonic accompaniment to a story about someone who starts hallucinating that inanimate objects can speak to them. When conceiving of a music video, I chose to visualize this song because it’s one of my favorites on my upcoming record and because, thematically, it felt like the most appropriate starting point to accompany the strange images and narratives that swirl around in my head. I didn’t feel locked into any single specific narrative with this song, and so the Tiger Ji (the director) and I could really let our minds run free during the brainstorming process. 

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

The initial inspiration for this video began a dream that Tiger had, which contained the specific image of men in business suits wriggling down a city street while wrapped in plastic. This was the springboard for us deciding that the video should be about a person who is seeing something crazy in the city (that only they can see) and their response to that. Initially, we were going to have the video’s main character be chased by fish people, but then we decided that lizard people would be more relevant to contemporary conspiracy theory as well as more thematically interesting, as it lets our main character wrestle with her own reptilian identity by the end of the film. We were aiming for a very specific mood that mingled elements of the absurd, science-fiction, horror, and comedy. I decided it made sense for the main character to be wearing a hospital gown after having escaped an asylum because the word “Lunatic” to me always seems like it’s a title assigned by society to an individual, rather than a subjective state that the individual feels (“crazy” for instance feels more like it can be either an assigned title or a subjective identity), so the hospital gown was the most efficient way to convey that this person is The Lunatic. The version of lunacy we wanted to explore in this music video is not mental illness. Rather, it is a label thrust upon a person by others in response to that person’s reaction to outside factors or new knowledge. This is important because the main character is not insane—she’s just the only person who can see the lizard people.

What was the process of making this video?

We filmed the video over 2 days across different areas of New York City in both Manhattan and Brooklyn. The final climactic scene with (spoilers) all of the dancing lizard people is the rooftop of a parking garage on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, most of the street pursuit scenes were shot in Bushwick, and we filmed the subway scene at the 2nd Ave subway stop in Manhattan as well. The shoot was incredibly smooth with zero hiccups. Tiger is the kind of director that has every single shot meticulously planned and storyboarded weeks ahead of the shoot, which led to a fun and efficient filming experience where we could focus primarily on the emotions and physicality of the actors in each scene. 

Watch “Lunatic” here: