Plume Varia are on a mission. It's normal for bands to release new music in some sort of consistent manner, but this lovely ambient duo from Denver are working hard to release new music in creative, artistic ways instead of the good ol' SoundCloud or iTunes link. This month they bring to us two songs, "Slumber" and "Altar", being released together in an incredibly unique music video that was filmed and recorded live, all in one take. Vocalist Cherie Cobbs took the time to answer some questions for us about this unique new experiment, so go ahead, turn on the video, jam out, and read along into to depths of this one-of-a-kind experiment.
for this interview, questions from Ultra5280 will be labeled with "MC" for editor Maddie Casey, and answers will be noted with "PV" for Cherie Cobbs of Plume Varia.
MC: Not many bands chose to do live music videos, yet yours seems to capture your songs beautifully. Do you feel like your choice to use live audio with your video was worth the difficulty of mixing and working with it?
PV: We have long wanted to make a video but struggled to identify an approach that would result in something authentic and honest. This year we are focused on quarterly 2-song releases and thought that for our Spring release - if we found the right director/visual artist we could create a live performance video that answered both the need to present an artistic view of a snapshot in time, while our music was being offered up exactly as it would be at a live show. This project presented a unique challenge in that we had to solve for the difficulties you encounter when attempting to capture live audio. Once those logistics were worked through, we were able to meet with our director and got the recording done within a couple of hours. The concept of recording both songs straight through in a single take is also a challenge of course, in that if you make a mistake, you have to start all over. In the end the process was definitely worth the effort because we believe the video is great representation of what we do.
MC: You have been releasing a lot of concept work recently, which we love. What made you choose to pair these particular two songs together for this project? Is there any kind of artistic statement/significance behind the duality of this video compared to the songs being performed?
PV: We are obsessed with finding balance in duality. On a surface level this release represents one of our oldest songs (Altar) paired with our newest song (Slumber). On a deeper level the messaging and theme of both songs is very similar. These are songs that explore the conclusion of romantic relationships. With Slumber, you have brief, concise phrases while the message of Altar is drowned in a lot of superfluous language... The concept of duality was present in this music video as well. Our director worked tirelessly to weave the straight-forward performance footage with the alternate, darker concept footage.
The balance between the surreal footage and the straight-forward footage could be easily be considered symbolic; on some level there is a distinction between what one see's and what one feels. There is a lot of movement in this video even though we were standing in the same spot for 10 minutes. One could argue that where your feet are need not indicate where your thoughts are, and in this way the video speaks to the dizzied effect of love, conflict and change. The overall effect conveys peace, duress, calm and chaos.
MC: For someone who's never seen Plume Varia but who watches this video, what would you want to say about your live show compared to this live video?
PV: In our live performances we strive to represent a broad range of emotions through sound variations and instrumentation... This video is a great introduction to what we do but in each performance we try to stretch, we try to engage, we try to make an audience stop and consider. Our hope is that we make even one connection where a listener finds themselves in a moment that sounds beautiful, that feels like the truth and that makes them want to hear more.
MC: How did you come to find and work with your director Lisa Kingsbury?
PV: We had the good fortune to meet and work with Lisa for a previous project where she created original visual artistry to be used for projections at one of our shows last year. When we decided to attempt a live music video, we reached out again to explain the idea. We met Lisa and her partner, Alex Clem in early February to record the video. Lisa and Alex are thoughtful, intelligent artists who shared their ideas, inspiration (drawings) as well as the technical prowess with cameras, lighting, design and a very unique editing approach to deliver on our hope. In the end, we are thrilled with the result and admire and respect Lisa greatly and look forward to partnering again soon.
MC: What can we expect next from Plume Varia?
PV: Our goal for 2015 is to continue to release new music. We hope to have a summer release available late June/early July. We've met so many talented local musicians that it seems likely we may solicit some to join us on a future release. We would also like to branch out regionally a bit, as well as plan out some mini-tours before years end.
In the immediate sense however, we are looking forward to Friday, March 20th when we will join some of our local favorites - Snake Rattle Rattle Snake and Pale Sun at Hi-Dive in Denver.