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

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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: Lenni Revel’s “Where There Ain’t No Sun”

Lenni Revel’s story begins the way most fairytales end: Big A&R professionals vying for her music, Grammy nominations, and billboards in Times Square promoting her music. But her pop dream ended when she was kicking Adderall cold turkey in a shed outside of her parent’s house and plunged into such darkness that she was eventually admitted to a psych ward and put on suicide watch. Her upcoming album, Unbroken, is about her rebirth and reclamation from the clutches of mental health struggles, drugs, and the music business machine. Unbroken also embodies a profound love story between Lenni and her husband, Robert Revel, a family lawyer and critically-acclaimed author who wrote and co-wrote much of the album.

Her video for her latest outlaw country-esque and pop-rock infused single “Where There Ain’t No Sun” conceptualizes pain and loss. While Lenni’s voice is powerful on it’s own, the imagery of a cemetery really drives home the emotional aspect of the song. What really drives the video home is when Lenni releases ashes at the top of a hill at the climax of the song. It’s chilling, haunting, and mesmerizing. She’s symbolically letting go, releasing herself from the pain.

We spoke with Lenni about the music video:

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

The cemetery in the video is a beautiful old site where the founders of the city are buried. It is a favorite walking path of many locals, including Robert and I. The Mausoleum is also on the cemetery site, and we were granted access by a kindly groundskeeper to shoot the interior scenes depicted in the video. The hilltop scene, where the urn ceremony occurs, is another hiking favorite locale of ours. We imagined that one day we would shoot some kind of music video on the spot because of its beauty.

What was the inspiration behind this video?

The song, “Where There Ain’t No Sun” was originally written about unrequited love. I evolved the song’s vocal melodies and facilitated structural and lyrical changes to accommodate my interpretation of the song as being fundamentally about deep loss and grief. My version brought the visual application of the music to images of death, but painted delicately and beautifully with a performance with heart and soul right at the center of it.

What was the process of making this video?

Once the cemetery location was chosen, the time of year to shoot there became an important element; we wanted to capture the beautiful lush green grasses and mosses that grow there in the spring—new life emerging from death. We shot the graveyard scenes in March and soon after we shot the mausoleum scene at the same location. Our dog “Kota” (she is a pure-bred Thai Ridgeback) was utilized in the gravestone shots as an element representing the haunting aspects of grief and the unseen but ever-watching spirit world. Kota, as a recurring element has subsequently made appearances in every music video I’ve performed in. The ceramic urn used for the ashes has special value to Robert, as it is the gift of his best friend who passed away in his fifties. The drone shots on top of the mountain were shot by a local drone pilot who typically shoots for real estate clientele. We had to shoot the ash ceremony quickly as the sun was setting and we had only a few-minute window to gather all the footage.

Watch here:

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

Video Voyager: Brittaney Delsarte Chatman “Talk to Me”

Photo Credit: Vincent Noto

If you haven’t already watched Brittaney Delsarte Chatman’s video for her latest R&B single, “Talk to Me,” your not only missing out on stunning visual storytelling, but also the production quality. Brittaney’s video was released in March 2022 and even when she hit an obstacle, she didn’t let that get her down. “On March 4, 2022, I was a victim of a cyber security attack,” she shares. “The hack compromised my marketable IG content for my music and my brand with deleted followers, highlights, and posts. This put my video campaign to a full halt. You know what they say chile- New levels, New Devils.”

She continues: “But, as I always say- any setback is just a setup for a comeback! I built my platform from the ground up and I can get it back to where it was and perhaps surpass where I was. If you knew about the hack and you continue to support me by viewing & sharing my new music ‘Talk to Me’ on your platforms, I want to thank you from the bottom of my lower intestines lol. Your support kept me strong for these past two months but now I’m back with the jump off!”

Brittaney had the help of an amazing team to get the video looking as great as it does, like the Producer and Cinematographer Nick Libraro, Assistant Director and Producer Mia Francois, and Director Rye Caraway. We got to speak with Nick on the production of this video in this edition of Video Voyager.

Let’s dive in:

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

As producer and cinematographer for this project, I was truly able to tell the story that Brittaney portrayed in her song ‘Talk to Me’. As a creator, the story of this song can be seen from a quick glance- A strong woman wants love, and will make her stand in doing so. By taking a deeper look, you can see that Brittaney is pouring her soul into the overall story via lyrics. She is showing her listeners that she’s not only smart, strong, and capable of being on her own, but she’s opening a door into her mind and heart; vulnerability is the word we used throughout this process. We chose to stick with this word and visualize Brittaney being vulnerable on camera because it not only shows the world who she is, but it breaks the visual media stereotype that Black women always need to be strong. Brittaney allows the listeners to hear a side of her that not many people have gotten to experience beforehand – so utilizing this vulnerability in a cinematic and creative way was the best way to tell the story of ’Talk to Me’.

What was the inspiration behind this video?

The main inspiration behind the video itself of course is the lyrics, but mainly it was Brittaney. As the one who handled bringing the story to life via writing/ storyboards, I found myself listening to the song on repeat constantly, focusing in on lyrics and moods. However, in doing so, we originally lost a nuance that needed to be told – Brittaney’s story, not just any story. From the writing room to constructive zoom meetings with the main team of producers and directors, we were able to merge the stories and bring it to life – adding dance numbers/ choreography, bringing Brittaney’s Blossom energy to it. I think personally that’s what the inspiration is; she’s an incredible soul and by telling this story, I believe people will finally understand who Brittaney truly is.

What was the process of making this video?

The process of making this video was quite extensive as we wanted to truly do our best not only in telling the story, but ensuring the visuals were perfect. We had a full 3 process breakdown with pre-production, production, and post. For about 3 months before shooting, Brittaney and myself met via zoom with director, Rye Caraway, and other producers to discuss plans, budgets, props, locations, camera gear, equipment, extras, and much more. Assistant Director Mia Francois, an accomplished producer herself, was kind enough to send over an amazing excel checklist that helped me and the internal SnaggleTooth team really iron out any kinks or issues we may have had. During this process, we were traveling the coast of NY to find locations (restaurants, coffee shops) – and unfortunately at the last minute, even with all of this planning, we had a minor issue with locations. Luckily it was resolved quickly with the amazing NY restaurant The Renaissance, in Harlem, allowing us to rent out their back room. We also rented a gorgeous brownstone that was beautifully furnished that we turned into Brittaney’s apartment. Our production process was incredibly smooth and I thank the team we had as well as the extensive pre production process we had in play. Not only did we know lighting setups, angles, and exact locations for each scene; but Brittaney and guest artist L’Marco worked closely with choreographer Tiffani Jones to perfect their dance routine. After our two production days as well as a pick-up day to capture some extra emotional scenes that truly rounded out the video shoot, Brittaney and I went into the editing room via zoom. We sat together for an entire evening going through scene by scene, fixing colors, adjusting clips, and really making ‘Talk to Me’ the work of art it is. It wouldn’t trade the process we utilized and truly, I have adopted this process now for SnaggleTooth Productions more high-end videos and budgets. Stay tuned for more amazing music from Brittaney and some more visuals coming soon!

Watch here:

Follow Brittaney via:

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

Drowning with Ghost Wave!

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Over the CMJ week, Modern Mystery got to catch up to the pulsating 60’s sounds of Ghost Wave.Based out of Auckland, New Zealand, the band projects unconcealed and organic reverberations, while administering room for pioneering layers of new age rock-n- roll. With this being their first-time tour in the states, Ghost Wave discuss the fluidity of their sound, getting hassled by panhandlers in Venice Beach, and continuously expanding their musical grounds.
***Due to an immense amount of city noise and static during the initial interview, the recording underwent a few transcribing errors. This article has been modified and re-edited since it’s first published version. ***

How did you initially come up with your band’s name?

Matt: We don’t actually know how it came up or what’s behind it, it kind of just eventuated.  It has not specific meaning, maybe just holds a vibe.We came up with one song first, and then we needed a name, and then we needed a band after that!

 
How was your project formed? Were you all friends prior to the formation of Ghost Wave? 
Matt: Well Eammon is from Wellington,, and he was making a ton of music, so he decided to move up to Auckland.I’d seen him play a couple times, and I was interested if we could collaborate and create similar sounds to the music that I was familiar and interested in. We had about four bass players before Mike came along.
Mike: I lived in the south part of New Zealand, and I used to be friends with another bandmate of Ghost Wave. I then ended up taking his place, and started playing with these guys.I didn’t really know them before I joined, we became friends after we started creating together.
Eammon: Yeah, I didn’t know Matt at all. We were just always going to each other’s shows.
Matt: I bugged Eammon quiete a lot to be my friend, haha!
When did you first begin writing music?
Matt: I was always interested in developing my own sound, and with our band we put our vibes together, mixing different intros and creating from that base. Mike’s parents are very musical. My Dad introduced me to records at a young age
Mike: I’ve been playing bass since I was about 11. My first band was called The Weeds.
Where did you get that idea from?
It was a band that was put together by our music teacher, when I was about 12 years old. I followed through and played in bands while I attended high school, and just kept kicking at it.
Eammon: I didn’t actually play drums until I came to be a part of Ghost Wave, and started jamming with Matt at his house. I’ve been playing instruments since I was really young.My first instrument was a keyboard, I jammed on casiotone quiet a lot.
This is your first time performing in America, have any of you visited New York before?
Mike:This is our first time performing outside of New Zealand.Eammon  visited the states a few times before, but this is my first time being here!
Matt:I’ve never left New Zealand, this is my first time exploring.
 
How long was your flight and what did you mostly jam to on the plane? 
Mike: It was a pretty exhausting because we had to fly through Melvin,and then back over New Zealand, and then finally to Los Angeles. It was about a 16-hour flight. I watched a bunch of movies.
Matt: I downloaded a pile of psychedic sitar rock jams, just something to keep me interested for such a long way.
Eammon: I got into this new age meditational music. There was this thing on the plane with a video and music, that helped you go to sleep. It kept repeating, just take a deep  breath, just relax! I guess sometimes being on a plane can get pretty gnarly.
Mike: They also had skycam on the tail of the plane, and I watched the flight for a lot of the time.
Judging from your recent shows and first impressions, how would you say the NYC music scene differs  from that of Auckland?
Matt: Haha, well the difference is that in New York there IS a scene.
Mike: Also, when we play in New Zealand there’s not a huge communication between us and the crowd.A lot of times it’s bands playing to each other.
Eammon:It’s nice to have a different audience here, and have people be a lot more forthcoming. It’s refreshing to be here.
So how does most of the promoting for bands work back home?
Matt:We’ve always taken the responsibility for the way our band is perceived and putting ourselves outwards.There are not a whole lot of outlets. There is a couple of websites where you can put your band’s poster up.It’s a lot more limited and restricted.
 
Prior to your arrival to New York City, you played two shows in Los Angeles, how did your first U.S. show with The Golden Awesome turn out? 
Mike: Those guys are also from New Zealand.The show felt really natural and organic, it was really fun playing together, we truly enjoyed it.
Matt: A stage is a stage, haha!
Did you have enough time to venture out around Los Angeles?
Mike: We got hassled by some guy down in Venice Beach. He just started asking me to check out his music and buy his albums. He kept telling me “Check it out man, I’ll give it to you. Just give me a donation”. And then another guy came along, and I don’t even know how I ended up talking to all of them in the first place. I guess I can’t always be a nice guy.
Can you expand on central processes of making recently released self-titled debut EP?
Matt: There’s no formula to it, we come together and it sort of just evolves naturally. We can write parts with one-piece, two-piece, three-pieces fragments and then combine everything. It’s all very unstructured, but that’s what we’re going for. We also practiced a ton in this space which used to be a huge weed plantation. There were fake walls in the building when we initially arrived there. I’m pretty sure those people got raided by the police, and then the spot was converted for practice purposes.We have a new rehearsal space now though, we usually practice a couple of times a week. It’s at a place that was prior used for brewing whiskey.
Eammon: It’s nice not to have any noise restrictions, we can play as loud as we want, which is awesome.
 
What is the most exciting part about playing CMJ?
Matt: Well, we’ve always wanted to come to New York, whether it was for CMJ or not, so having the chance to play our music in the city has been great. We wanted to go explore festivals like SXSW and CMJ, and we’re glad to be a part of it.We’ve done shows before, but not for such a prolonged period as with this festival. New Zealand is so small, it’s refreshing to be able to check out different music scenes and get out of the comfort zone.
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You can check out Ghost Wave’s tunes below
Interview by: Viktorsha Uliyanova
Photos: Skyler Smith

Catch-up With Casiokids

The beauty of CMJ is just the astounding amount of bands that end up playing there. The Norwegians from Casiokids were not about to miss the party and we were not about to miss out on the chance of chatting with them while they were here, especially since their newest album, Aabenbaringen Over Aaskammen, just came out on Polyvinyl! We spoke to two members of the band, Ketil Kinden Endresen and Omar Johnsen, in a hallway at Pianos last night and here’s how it went!

Modern Mystery: How many times have you been part of the CMJ line-up? How do you like it?

Ketil Kinden Endresen: This is our second time here, we last came in 2008. It was also our first show in New York, at Cake Shop. But we’ve been in New York many times since then. I think this is our 10th mini tour in the U.S. Playing in New York is definitely one of my favourites.

Omar Johnsen: It’s nice when we’re playing things like CMJ or South by South West, you can stay in one town too. It’s so much easier.

KKE: It gives you time to enjoy the city as well.

MM: So where do you like to hang out in New York?

KKE: We spend a lot of time in Williamsburg. We try to go see museums, go to Central Park and roam around Manhattan.

MM: So your songs are in Norwegian, which can’t be easy for everyone to pronounce. Which place had the oddest pronunciation of Norwegian?

KKE: Probably Russia.

OJ: In a way it was the best and the worst [laughs]. They were very into it but it did not sound like Norwegian!

KKE: Still it was pretty special, they were very passionate. But mostly outside of Scandinavia, there is more dancing than singing along. In Scandinavia, they sing more.

MM: What is your biggest musical influence?

OJ: It’s hard to pin down because everyone is from different places. There is some overlap but I think it comes out through our music. It’s like a pot of stew.

KKE: Well, there is this Swedish band called Bobhund that we all like. There’s also electronic pop like New Order, Kraftwerk, Cornelius…

OJ: I guess also krautrock like Neu… Everyone likes these bands at least [laughs].

MM: Anyone you’re excited to see here at CMJ this year?

KKE: I haven’t really looked at the program to be honest but generally I like to rely on luck. Like tonight we got here and then went upstairs and realized our friend was playing!

MM: So your new album, Aabenbaringen Over Aaskammen, just came out. How would you describe to someone who’s never heard your music?

KKE: It was inspired by the story of Dr. Tarzan Monsoon and his discovery of a secret rainforest. It’s quite varied and with electro and dance rhythms. Our stories are in Norwegian and we use a lot of harmonies in our vocals.

OJ: It was also made differently from our past albums. Before, the albums were more like compilations of singles. It’s quite diverse but it’s still a sound that sounds like us. It’s also better produced; we have our own studio so over the years, we’ve learned more and got better.

MM: I hear you’re going to Japan next month! What are you most excited about?

KKE: Yes, on November 6th! I’m excited about the food. Japanese food has to be my favourite food in the world.

OJ: I want to discover the culture, I find it very inspiring. Maybe it’s because I’m half-asian so I have a special attraction.

MM: Do you know when you’ll be back in New York after CMJ?

KKE: Not yet. But we’ll definitely be back sometime in the spring.

Catch Casiokids during the rest of CMJ here:

20.10.11: Glasslands
21.10.11: Spike Hill
22.10.11: AAM Inc party 14:30 @ Knitting Factory