A Vision of Collaboration | Music | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

A Vision of Collaboration 

Sound & Vision pairs musicians with filmmakers for music video production.

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click to enlarge JAKO REYES
  • Jako Reyes

Getting a music video together can be a hard task for some artists to achieve—especially local ones just focused on getting their music out there all the time. Music videos often seem to come after some time has passed, after the artist has established themselves somewhat.

Enter Sound & Vision, a local showcase devoted to connecting local artists with local filmmakers, allowing both to benefit from the collaborative process of being randomly placed together. At the Urban Arts Fest in September, Brian Higgins of local nonprofits Create Reel Change and Mental Healthy placed the names of local filmmakers in a hat, out of which the music-makers fished one of them out at random. Their goal then was to get going on creating a music video together. After months of hard work, they're ready to show off their movie magic at The Urban Lounge on Thursday, Dec. 12, and perform some rousing sets, too.

Not only is it an innovative new opportunity for local bands, artists and filmmakers to make new, exciting work—one that, with all luck, will become an annual event—it's long been a dream of Higgins'. Working primarily in the film world, with festivals like Demonchaser and Dark Christmas under his belt, as well as "transmedia" projects surrounding mental health, he wanted to experiment with film and music.

"I've always loved the art of the music video," he explains. "It's a place where egos are put aside and true collaboration can happen."

Without the music world connections, though, he was stuck. A chance meeting with local music and film enthusiast Russell Roots, of the Utah Film Center, changed that. "Meeting Russell at the Utah Arts Fest breathed new life into the idea," Higgins says. After slugging a number of coffees together and chatting about the idea, it became evident to them both that Higgins' vision could become a reality.

Roots, like Higgins, is motivated by exploration, citing his love of well-produced, visually and sonically stunning shows like those he grew up watching at The Ridglea in his hometown of Fort Worth, Texas, or dearly loved shows like those of Godspeed! You Black Emperor. "I've always been looking for opportunities to do something similar with local artists in SLC," he says.

They decided to focus on a wide range of ambitious and active local talent, with the hope of providing them with the opportunity to put their music into visual content. Five artists, of very different genres and sensibilities, have also been paired up with Utah filmmakers, among them Josh Samson (a multimedia artist who just finished up a display at Illuminate last month), Larry D. Curtis, Alec Lyons of Spyhop, up-and-coming Lehi native Mikael Hiatt and the rather experimental Justus Page.

A few of the five acts who will perform both on stage and on screen—their short sets will be capped with the song that they made the video for, which will be projected behind them on stage—already have an investment in the visual as a part of their music. Durian Durian, for one, is a local band whose two main vocalists, Nora Price and Emily Snow, are also well-trained dancers. Price and Snow swap vocal duties while one of them dances; sometimes they dance together in tender pieces, delicate and poised, that convey so much emotion.

Fellow performer on the evening's bill Randin Graves also has a foot in the world of visual media. A multi-instrumentalist with experience on guitar, keys, the Japanese koto and, most significantly, didgeridoo—for which he is a world-renowned artist—the soloist often puts his expertise in rock, electronic, folk, reggae, funk and jazz to use in film scores, though he's done work for video games, theater and dance performances as well. They'll be joined by MiNX, a duo made up of Ischa and Raffi, who incorpate vaudevillian costumes and props into their performances, their matching close-cropped haircuts making them twin on stage.

Another duo, The Waldron Brothers, takes the stage with an expertise long-crafted. The two members, actual brothers Jimmy and Matthew Waldron, have been playing together and with other family members for most of their lives, but solidified themselves as a duo in 2017. The indie rockers have one EP, 2018's VCR, and a number of singles under their belt, putting them well in line with the other rock band on the bill for the evening, Lord Vox. The psychedelic and mystical yet down-to-earth trio that make up Lord Vox released a self-titled EP of their own earlier this year, and have been blasting peoples' ears off at shows around the city frequently since then.

With such a grab bag of local talent, there's something for everyone at this event, and with the visuals that are the creative product of the film and music combo, it's more than just your average show. It's not every night you get to see the results of five unique collaborations between strangers.

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About The Author

Erin Moore

Erin Moore

Erin Moore is City Weekly's music editor. Email tips to: music@cityweekly.net.

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