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 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: 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 

Video Voyager: The Impliers’ “Lightning”

The Impliers are the psychedelic rock duo making waves with their oddly tuned guitars, superb production quality, and innovative musical techniques. Dan and Charles have known each other since High School, though they recently got together to create The Impliers when their lives seemed to mirror each others. It was fate.

Their recent music video is for their single “Lighting.” The song is seemingly about mental health and it’s effect on people. They perfectly and masterfully visualize what it’s like to suffer from a mental illness, stuck in a depressive state and suddenly, as if struck by lighting, you are in another place mentally. The use of quick shots and flashing lights aid this idea and show how fast things can change. They interchange the fast with the slow with a lot of shots that represent stillness, but stillness in a way that captures the inability to move.

We spoke with The Impliers about their innovate and powerful video:

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

There’s a bipolar sense to what’s going on in this song, lyrically and in how the parts dramatically change in moods and range of feeling. I had always thought bipolar was someone who rapidly changed their mind or moods and was hot and cold, but it’s more of an exaggerated version of what everyone tends to go through – which is a longer arc of being down and then coming out. It was so interesting to learn that bursts of creative energy and motivation that most of us feel can actually be a symptom of bipolar, the mania specifically – that had never occurred to me that the higher highs were one of the poles. Charles and I have both experienced this through our own diagnosis as adults. I think this song shows some of that bipolar thinking in seeing different perspectives, with bursts of energy and some subdued elements while showing forward progress in diving within – it really compliments the broader story we explore on our record ‘cocoon coming out on August 19’ as it rounds out the first part of the record before there’s a change in atmosphere. The visuals really try to exaggerate these emotions.

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

We initially decided that we would not have any music videos for this album, as we felt the music and the experience that happens in the minds of the listener is the most important experience of the music, and we didn’t want to interfere with that, but one day the image came of the man in the bed that opens the video, and the rest of the video came like a string of pearls. There is an interesting duality that is explored both in the settings, ranging from the closed, dull inside scenes to the expansive colorful external scenes, but there’s an additional layer that shows a crossover of elements between the two landscapes and a hint of further duality in each of the individuals own consciousness. 

3. What was the process of making this video?

Well, from a technical execution standpoint, we handle our own filming, editing and everything from ideation to completion. Charles and I always vet ideas together, and that ranges from bouncing a full idea off one another to coming up with the idea together from scratch and riffing. And sometimes, we will get our hands on one another’s idea and try to send it back in the most surprising fashion. Lightning was an interesting approach in that I filmed a few scenes to understand Charles’ reaction and when we realized we were on to something and worked out more of the ideas, we booked time to film and I put together a few ideas that I wanted to film without giving context as to what was happening. When we started filming in the woods, Charles had a post-it note of hand-gestures which he executed on flawlessly. The beauty of our working relationship, is throughout the entire process, with the post-it notes,  while we were exchanging uniforms consistently throughout the day as we relocated filming locations, there was never the question of “what are we filming” and the complete trust that our ages old creative collaborative process would come through in the end, in a way that worked for both of us. One funny moment, though – my brother Bryan flew in to help operate our film gear that weekend and on the first night we filmed a scene with the foot and the man under the bed. He called our brother Sean that night and said “I landed, and next thing you know I was being filmed sitting on the bed with a gel dripping off my bare foot, while a grown man dressed in a white suit laid under the bed.”

Watch here:

Find and connect with The Impliers via:
Website // Instagram // Facebook // Twitter // YouTube // TikTok // Soundcloud