Tuesday, March 3, 2020

VIDEO PREMIERE: Paige Cora -- "Stray Balloons"

Paige Cora's January album, Instant in Time, is a delightful romp through pop, jazz, and indie rock. (I featured it back in episode 98 in the podcast.) To match the album's whimsical nature, Cora released a beautiful stop-motion-animated video to accompany "Stray Balloons" (one of my favorites on the album) and told us a little bit more about the video!

Photo: Jennifer McCready

 Tell us a bit about the song. What prompted you to write it?

I liked the idea of the song "Two of Us" by The Beatles. "Two of us sending postcards, writing letters, on my wall, you and me burning matches, lifting latches..." etc. I liked the childlike concept of two people walking through life on this adventure. I thought though, what if one of the duo was rigid, and afraid, and the other was the one to convince them of the possibilities life had to offer. I had recently gone on a trip to Bathe, Maine, where I got to spend the day on this wonderful vintage sailboat. I started thinking of all the little tasks you have to work together on to get the boat "sea worthy"... all the little chores. So I started writing fun couplets of ideas, like "you stitch the sail, I'll take the helm," or more surreal ones, "you steal the carousel, and I'll beat the drum." It all started to stitch together as an adventure, with the chorus urging them to open up and discover their potential. The video follows the duo on this adventure.

The video is really cool and quirky, which fits the vibe of the song perfectly. How did you come to want to do a stop-motion animated video?

Honestly, making music videos is hard for me, in the sense that I don't really want to be in them. I know it's important for new fans to see who you are, and how you perform, but I didn't want each video to just feature me singing. I have always loved animation; as a teen, I studied Flash animation at my high school, and would make short videos. The concept of layering with time was a lot of fun. I think it gave me an appreciation for the skill involved.

How did you find the person who did the animation for you? How was it working with someone on a video of this sort? How much input did you have on the content? 

I used to be on Tumblr a lot, usually to check out other people's art projects, and just reblog things I found interesting. I came across the artist Betul Adalier (https://www.instagram.com/betthinks/), and instantly fell for her stop-motion animations. They were so quirky and fun, and I found myself going back to her blog again and again. I took a shot in the dark and emailed her, asking if she ever wanted to collaborate on a video. I sent her a private link to the record, and to my surprise she was curious and open to a collaboration. From there, Bet and I exchanged email ideas, and she really took the concept and ran with it. I think it's remarkable how two people who have never met can collaborate online, and make a connection when there previously was none. I still follow her artwork, and I am a huge fan of hers.

Whose idea was the general storyline of the video?

I think Bet took the story line and ran with it. However, our initial conversation was inspired very closely by the song's lyrics. It follows the adventure of a duo pushing themselves to explore and leave behind their worries and fears. We spoke of "Alice in Wonderland," "The Goonies," and that childlike feeling of true freedom. From there, I took photos for Bet to use as extra backdrops of locations, and she illustrated over top of them, adding her own found clip art, layering them in fantastically creative ways. She took cues from some of the lyrics, and created this world that these two go on an adventure in. She then illustrated a "child" version of me, based on my look and outfit from my "Facing the Grass" video, tweed blazer and all... ha ha. I love the crosshatch drawing style she used, which reminded me of one of my favourite illustrators, Edward Gorey.

What is your favorite part or moment in the video? 

 My favourite moment of the video is the train. There are different images in each window of the train as it goes by, with floating hands waving goodbye. In one of the windows, Bet took images I sent her of my cats, and put them on the bodies of aerobic dancers! It makes me smile every time I see it, it's so surreal and personal at the same time.

What is coming up next for Paige Cora?

I am beginning to write for the next album. It's amazing how putting out a record and music videos gives you a lot of momentum to do it all again. I'm very curious about the direction it will take this time, since I've learned so much as a producer and songwriter. I'm also scoring a short film called "Outside My Window," about agoraphobia and social anxiety, told through the narrative of dance.

Paige Cora -- Official, Facebook, Twitter

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