The year is 2017. Gone are televised highlight reels showcasing the biggest music videos of the month or week. In their place is a world of social media and instant gratification, marking a setting perfect for virtually anyone to put out their own music video. But, with so many being uploaded at a time, it can be argued that most videos now saturating the market are less than standard quality.
To stand out amongst the crowd, some artists have gotten crafty. Such is the case of Future States. The Canadian psych-pop wonders have put out their latest music video for their single, “You Got It All Wrong”, and it’s sure to turn some heads and keep some eyes glued to the computer screen.
First and foremost, it’s a genuinely interesting listen. The psychedelic angle is on full display here, with an offbeat vocal arrangement, distorted guitar riffs, and ominous pops of synth and sound abound. It never feels like a hard listen despite the quirks of its construct, and comes across as a charmingly lo-fi affair throughout.
The nature of its accompanying music video fits the same vibe, though the real flair comes in the form of interactivity. Listeners have the opportunity to change the course of the band’s performance live with the help of some behind-the-scenes magic spent while developing the video. It incorporates state-of-the-art programming so that the actions of each member can be changed on the spot, fundamentally changing the course of where the performance goes both sonically and visually at a moment’s notice.
The original version of the tune is already something completely enjoyable, but Future States elevates themselves to another level entirely given the dedication that they have put into providing a unique user experience for their fans to enjoy.
On the music video, they say: “The idea for the video came from wanting to create a project where we could work with our good friend, Aaron Krajeski, who is a talented developer and interactive media artist. We had previously collaborated with him on visuals at a few of our shows (he’s also collaborated with the Besnard Lakes on projections in the past). For these, he programmed projections that would track and respond to our movements on stage using an Xbox Kinect sensor. These were weird and beautiful, and we knew we wanted to work on a larger project together.
“Aaron’s skills provided us with a huge realm of possibilities, and we asked ourselves – how do we involve listeners/viewers in performance? How do we invite people into our song? We chose as our starting point something we’re all super familiar with: the music video that features a band’s performance. We then settled pretty quickly on the concept of mixing or remixing the track – of allowing people the opportunity to choose when each of us would play. And then really liked the idea of building a visual choose your own adventure, where the user could kind of escape the performance and see us doing something different. We imagined that every time a user plays the video, they could create a new version of the song and keep having fun with it. We wanted to prioritize this fun and creative aspect, handing over control to the user/viewer/listener.”
“As a band, we’ve enjoyed taking each new project as a learning opportunity, and this was no different. We’d teamed up with a talented friend to help with the technical aspects of the project, then decided to art direct, shoot and edit the footage he needed ourselves. We rented a bunch of gear, prepped costumes and lighting, and spent a single day at a local creative space in Montreal called NOMAD. We invited our friend Daniel Slapcoff to help direct the shoot and give us an outside perspective. We got the performance footage down pretty quick, then came up with different ideas for the alternate background videos and shot a ton of them. It was a day spent having fun together and coming up with funny things to do on camera. Only six made the final cut, but we have five or so additional background vids that may see the light of day eventually. Nick (keys) edited the footage for Aaron to work with, and then he and Chuck (vocals/guitar) worked with Aaron towards refining everything.
“We’re really happy with the final product: it came out as lo-fi, goofy footage meets high tech coding, and back-end, which sort of reflects our musical aesthetic and personalities. We spend a ton of time perfecting arrangements and vocal harmonies but are also wary of making our music too perfect or shiny; the same goes for this video. We’re super grateful that Aaron was able to help us make the idea a reality, and that a MuchFACT grant helped us with the funds to make it all happen.”
30 November 2017 @ Brasserie Beaubien – Montreal, QC W/ Ports of Spain, Manners and Old Soul Rebel
1 December 2017 @ SINK Gallery – Nashua, NH W/ Ports of Spain
2 December 2017 @ O’Brien’s Pub – Boston, MA W/ Ports of Spain, Colbis the Creature and Giant in the Lighthouse
3 December 2017 @ Cafe Nine – New Haven, CT W/ Ports of Spain