It’s music video Monday! (Obviously.) Toronto/NYC-based band Aurganic released a new video for their song “Choices” last Wednesday and I’d love to share it with all of you. The dynamic duo (Leo Pisaq and Michael Kossov) walked me through the process behind the project and their advice for bands looking to take on a music video.
Q: Describe your sound in three words that begin with an A.
A: Artistic, Adventurous, Atmospheric
Q: Tell me a bit about your video for “Choices.” Where did the inspiration come from?
A: First of all we’d like to thank Jeff Hanley, Mark Andrew Sirju, Matvey Stavitsky and the rest of the crew. Largely the idea was theirs. All we had to do is to convey the mood of the song and make sure the visual fits the dynamics of the music.
The video concentrates on three stories running in parallel. Stories like that happen routinely around us regardless of background or location: marriage problems, bullied kids and exposure of teens to drugs. Each storyline shows the characters in the moments where they can make choices to change the flow of events but they don’t. The unwillingness to hear out your loved one, fear to say NO and ignorance are emphasized by erasing ears, mouth and eyes respectively. Really cool make-up and VFX were used to accentuate that twist. In the end two stories end well. The married couple reconnects; one of the bullies apologizes to the bullied kid and dances with him, but the third story is left without resolution to show that not everyone overcomes these situations and makes the right choice.
Q: What’s the message you’re trying to get across in the “Choices” video?
A: The message of the “Choices” video is to show that often there is an effort required to change things for the better. You have to dig deep inside of you to find that compassionate humane energy or just plain power of will that helps you to resist the strong flow of the easy/passive way of handling the situations. Whether it’s saying NO to social pressure, opening up and willing to understand your loved ones or following through with the morals that are set deep within you. Essentially, people are who they choose to be.
Q: Any fun behind-the-scenes stories?
A: Well, the funny stories mainly came from situations associated with the make up.
In the washroom scene the actor’s eyes were physically covered with make up so he couldn’t see at all. The crew had to wheel chair him into the washroom and direct him for every take, constantly making sure he doesn’t walk into the wall.
During the party scene where the girl character had the mouth covered with makeup, Jeff, the director, was asking her all the time if she was ok and whether she wanted anything to drink.
Q: What was the hardest part of making this video? What are your tips for other musicians taking on a music video?
A: The hardest part of making the video was coming up with stories that reflected the right emotion to fit the song. The song isn’t straight up positive or dark. It has different moods throughout. So the video had to be a bit positive, a bit dramatic, a bit dark and a bit inspirational at the same time.
Q: What’s your advice for musicians taking on a music video?
A: Our main tip for other musicians handling a video is to find people who you can trust to shoot the video. You have to meet them, talk to them, feel comfortable with them, be ready to entrust an important part of your project into their hands. However, once you achieve this, you have to stay out of their way and let them do their job. It is really easy to ruin a video by controlling every step of it yourself.
Q: Any more videos we can look forward to in the near future?
A: Absolutely! The talks with the same crew have been initiated to shoot a video for our second single “The Lost And The Found”. It will probably happen after the release of our album “Deviations” in the fall.
Q: What have you found to be the best way to promote your music and videos? Any non-traditional marketing strategies?
A: Well, these days social media is very important for an independent artist releasing a video. You have to keep your fans engaged and elevate the activity before the release of the video. Understanding video programs like Youtube better. These programs have fairly complex tools and attending a workshop might be a great idea to understand and optimize the marketing that comes with the website.
Q: Have any outrageously awesome fan stories?
A: We have this fan in Japan. He is amazing. One of those people who like and share your every post in social media. A perfect fan from an artist point of view.
Well, Japan being a very musical country we wanted some exposure, but they use completely different social media, their own portals, all in Japanese. So we contacted this fan directly asking to help us set up a profile on a popular Japanese music portal. And he did it for us. He came up with a description, he filled all the forms and taught us how to add tracks to it. This Audioleaf profile runs to this day and we have a solid loyal connection in Japan!