Video Voyager: Happy For No Reason’s “Canaries (Hot Summer Night)”

Happy For No Reason is a band that is the antithesis of their name. The band based out of Portland Oregon celebrate every single one of life’s precious moments as two of their members are literally happy to be alive. Comprising of Jo Alexis (vocals and percussion), Neil Goldstein (guitar), and Mark Pritchard (flute), the founding members of Happy For No Reason navigate the rich waters of Jazzy Folk with a pinch of rock, a dash of soul, and even a touch of Bossa Nova.

Their jazzy folk rock single “Canaries (Hot Summer Night)” was revived from Neil and Jo’s early music careers. Neil wrote this chord progression with a jazz band in 1974 and Jo wrote the lyrics in 1991. They put them together one night in 2015 to make the song we hear now. It’s an example of how many of their songs came together.

“The lyrics are about my boyfriend who was working in Harlem at the time and I went to visit him knowing we might break up,” says Jo. “Breaking up when you are still in love is painful but the song has turned into a raucous uptempo sing-along, like the rat pack with a female lead!”

They finished recording, mixing, and making the music video during the pandemic. A friend of Jo’s told suggested the lead vocals were initially too aggressive. So, Jo bought a new microphone and redid her parts, also learning how to use Logic, the DAW (digital audio work station) and spent many hours comping the flute and piano solos.

Their video for “Canaries(Hot Summer Night)” depicts the band on a steampunk style ship, captained by Jo. They are on a mission to catch a canary. The ship and crew are eventually wrecked and never catch the canary. It’s a metaphor for self-destruction, you want something so bad that you’re willing to ignore red flags.

We spoke with Jo Alexis about the video:

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

We didn’t actually choose it but trusted the animator to come up with something fabulous! I saw one of his videos on YouTube and looked him up.  He does a combination of live action and animation and I thought it would be amazing for this song!

What was the inspiration behind this video?

Honestly, we gave Christian Bolorinos, our director/animator/producer complete creative freedom on this so all of the ideas were his and we showed up in costume and followed direction. He is SUCH a joy to work with and has an incredible sense of humor! I was  delighted with the result and so was the wonder world. The video has acquired 136k views on Facebook and is also a favorite on my YouTube channel.

What was the process of making this video? 

The process was so much fun! We rented a studio in Portland and showed up in steampunk outfits(during the pandemic so we wore masks except when shooting!). We shot the music video in Portland but our director, animator and script writer, Christian Bolorinos, was in Barcelona. So we FaceTimed with him during the shoot which actually worked out really well! He directed us from Spain and we just followed his directions. I rented boat props like a steering wheel and a nautical telescope and of course, ropes. We used a fan to make it look as if we were in a terrible storm. Here are some cool pics of our shoot with the band in steampunk costumes.

Connect with Happy For No Reason via:
Website / Facebook / YouTube / Spotify

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Video Voyager: Josiah Mann’s “Angel”

Ford Photographs – Nashville Architectural Photographer

Josiah Mann is the indie singer/songwriter who’s driven by passion and perfectionism. This is evident right off the bat in his debut single “Angel,” from his forthcoming debut album, Grace. He has an Ed Sheeran and John Mayer quality to his music with that sweet acoustic sound and smooth vocals. The song bursts with new-romance euphoria and the lyrics here poetically hopeful.

The video for “Angel” depicts the message of the song: a love story. He shares the story in the first minute and a half of the video of how he met his first girlfriend. The rest of the video goes on to show a young couple, a younger Josiah and his girlfriend, on a date and falling in love.

We got a chance to speak with Josiah 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?

The music video is literally the actual story of the song. I wrote this song 15 years ago for my girlfriend after our first date. A couple weeks later I recorded the song and then gave it to her for Valentine’s day!

What was the inspiration behind this video?

We wanted to match the visuals to the lyrics of the song. It was important to me that we captured some of the lyrics like “then we watched the stars” by showing a couple watching the stars together outside.

What was the process of making this video?

We booked a great location in Nashville to film at this beautiful wedding venue / barn. We were thinking about having me play the younger version of myself, but a few days before the shoot we decided to hire actors instead. We found two great actors and working with them made the process even more fun. It was super cool and trippy to see this recreation of a real thing that happened in my life so long ago!

Connect with Josiah

Website / Instagram / Facebook / YouTube / TikTok / Spotify / Soundcloud

Video Voyager: Jane Jensen’s “Changeling”

An imagination captured by the glitz and camp of late 70’s variety show offerings (think Cher) and then consumed by rock and roll, poetry and electronic music, Jane Jensen’s mind and music tend to wander in many directions but her love for industrial music is the thread that weaves it all together.

She just released two new singles, “Changeling” and “Revolution Maker,” with her album Changeling. In tandem, she also released the music video for “Changeling.” The song is about inner transformation and rebirth with an industrial alt rock backdrop. Visually speaking, the video has a 90’s style and visualizes change with glitching.

We spoke to Jane Jensen about the “Changeling” video in this edition of Video Voyager:

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

The narrative for the song “Changeling” is simple. It focuses on a personal journey that leads to transformation. It’s reflective of past trauma and future possibilities. It’s about transmuting pain into power and figuring out what lessons need to be learned to move on and effect needed change in life. I wrote and worked on this song a lot during the pandemic – lots of time to be reflective.

What was the inspiration behind this video?

The video has a deep seated 90’s vibe and it began as a complete coincidence. I partnered with video director Sean Sweetman and we rented a photo studio for a couple hours to shoot some cool visuals. Initially, we planned to feature a lot of martial arts but we had some glitches on shoot day and weren’t able to get those shots. The studio had a wall of televisions which immediately indicated the 90’s aesthetic and direction for the rest of the shoot and aftereffects. Although Sean did mention early on that he wanted neon crosses like Baz Lehrman’s Romeo and Juliet, which is a 90’s film, so I guess we were steeped in 90’s nostalgia from the start. Also, the chair as a major focal feature is reminiscent of my video from the 90s More Than I Can and my favorite detail is the ms dos font that runs throughout the video. When Craig Kafton and I were working on my first album Comic Book Whore he used a Compaq computer for programming and sequencing. That green flashing font was at the core of every track on that album.

What was the process of making this video?

Sean and I had a pre-production phone meeting. We decided to shoot me with my guitar and a mic stand, rather than the whole band. Sean wanted to incorporate his newly acquired neon lights as neon crosses, and he had lots of photographic ideas that he wanted to capture with that kind of lighting. I like to preplan everything, and Sean is very comfortable just showing up and shooting whatever is available. We did both. There is also planning that goes into clothing, hair and make-up. I discovered Ukrainian brand MDNT:45 and was happy to show my support by wearing some of their clothing in the video. The hair and make-up were very subtle by Alexandra Bayless, and we had one mind-blowing dancer Jahlani Luv. She was really wonderful, and we wished we had more time to shoot her.

After the shoot was complete, Sean started the editing process and presented a rough-cut followed by a few more finessed cuts until we got the one we both were happy with. Then I took the final cut to add some additional 90’s effects and the ms-dos font that is featured throughout the video. The best advice I can give to an artist who is producing their own music video would be not to do it under a strict time constraint. That kind of pressure can lead you to cut corners or not get a visual you are totally satisfied with, because you feel the pressure to stay with the timeline and keep moving forward, even if you are not happy – SO, give yourself plenty of time! And just as important, be satisfied with the quality of the visual. If you don’t love it, you won’t want to share it and if you are an indie artist, you are calling the shots so keep working on it until you love it – even if you have to push back release dates.

Watch here:

Connect with Jane Jensen:
Website / Instagram / Twitter / Facebook / TikTok / YouTube / Spotify / Soundcloud

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