Blackbird

Treatment for Blackbird's Music Video

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Dearest Dorothy,

In celebrating 6 months since the release of the Blackbird music video, I've decided to once again give you a peak behind the curtain.

Here it is, the very informal (and crudely written) video treatment for "Blackbird". This final revised treatment was written on July 13th, 2013. That explains why some of the links included are dead today.

It's about as detailed as you'd expect from me. This was written directly for the video's director, Alex Suley. As you can see, I had Kanushree Jain in mind for the lead, and boy am I glad she joined the project.

Enough chat. Without further ado, here is a small peak into how my mind works, I guess:

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"Blackbird" Music Video Treatment

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"Blackbird" Music Video

The music video for “Blackbird” has finally been released!It may have taken a while, but I feel this to be the best initial step into the visual realm of music.

The experience of creating the music video was pretty extraordinary. I remember when I wrote out the treatment, I listed exactly what I wanted for this video. I had everything sketched out from the look of the video, the locations, and wardrobe, to the lighting, the feel, and most of all, the story. Everything you see for this video was exactly as I had pictured it in my brain. Same shots, same camera angles, everything right to the last frame. That's the genius of Alex Suleymanov. He delivered in the most important way. He was able to take what I had written on paper, bring it to life visually, and edit it together so that it all makes sense.

THIS, ladies and gentlemen, is what a director that's dedicated to getting the shot looks like.
THIS, ladies and gentlemen, is what a director that's dedicated to getting the shot looks like.

Then you also have the talent of our two actresses; Kanushree and Vidushi Jain. Kanushree (our main character) showed a dedication and professionalism to the project that I am truly thankful for. I recall telling her that a significant portion of the video would feature her in sweats, while jogging with no make-up. Now I don’t know how most girls would have felt about doing any of that (while being filmed, no less), but she never once complained or had any doubts; just a dream to work with.

It’s been a blast hearing people’s interpretations of the video! A lot of them were pretty far from what my original story, but they still made sense (I love when great art does that)! Here’s a 2 tidbits about the video from my side of the fence:

What the heck is it about? It’s a story that’s happening within 3 concurrent yet alternate timelines/realities. Without getting too specific, after bottling her emotions for so long, we witness a girl having a breakdown. During this breakdown, she breaks through to alternate reality where she is with a person she lost. However, she is comatose because her being doesn’t belong in that universe. As soon as she snaps out of it and returns to her own reality, she realized that her body has been jogging mindlessly for hours. In a nutshell, it was an attempt to display what it looks like to experience the utmost echelon of an emotion, and in this case, the emotion was despair.

Why did you release it on 02/03/15? As you may remember from previous posts, numerology has a way of factoring into my decisions, one way or another. Simply put, it made the most sense. There were actually a ton of reasons that pointed to this date, but in my never-ending haste, and because I didn’t log any of them down, I can’t remember a single one. If you’d have asked me a week ago when I still had them fresh in my brain, I would have had an answer, but a week is a lifetime for a musician. Rest assured though, that there were quite a few signs. I’ll edit this post if I recall any. (They were really deep too =/)

I hope you guys enjoyed the video as much as the team and I enjoyed creating it. If you haven’t seen it yet, well, what the heck are you waiting for?!

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Easter-Eggs and Clean Chakra

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Dearest Dorothy,

You must have been worried as to why this message comes to you so late in the month. Well my precious, it’s quite simple, I’VE BEEN BUSY MAKING PROGRESS. Steps in the right direction take a certain amount of effort, regardless of how small they may or may not be, because at the end of the day, it all adds up. Summing it up quickly; live shows will happen soon, music video will happen soon, new music will happen soon. Yea, PROGRESS.

But that’s only half the reason. I specifically waited until this day to write you. Why? Because I work with numbers, I work with time, and I work with energy. Heck, if you factor in sound, then that’s what all we musicians do! Those initial three elements however, aren’t as separate as you might think. As a matter of fact, they’re very much intertwined. You see, I believe that dates and numbers work in tandem to (and bear with me here) give off certain energies at certain times of the day, to steer you a certain way (meta-Dr. Seuss in the house). None of this is to say that we’re puppets on strings with no control of ourselves. But rather that we are locomotives constantly moving forward, and are presented with countless options for paths. Every path has always been available; it’s just that some are presented more clearly at certain times than others.

So what about this day? What happened today that was so damn important?

Well? Come on, you should know this…

THAT’S RIGHT!

It's my birthday!

Yea yea, so I wanted to write you on my birthday. There’s no way I’d rather spend it, to be honest. But maybe in writing today, I’d be more clear than usual. Or perhaps I’d write in a way you’d relate to better. I believe in things like this, I study things like this, and it’s all because of what happened on Halloween night last year.

The year was 2013, and it was (and hopefully shall remain) the worst year of my life. I won’t go into the details of all that, but it was rough. Yet on October 31st, 2013, I sat on my floor with a guitar on my lap, in the dark, with the moon shining down on me from the sky through my window. I began to reflect. The year was pure shit, but it did have some “interesting” moments. One in particular had to do with a demon bitch. Not demon like she was “evil”. She was just a girl who was… a stranger. A girl who just needed to be saved. A girl who didn’t give a fuck, but really could.

Sitting on that floor, strumming that guitar; it instantly came to me. The verse and chorus, BOOM, music and lyrics right there. That song made its way onto SUADADE. It was the first complete song I wrote for SUADADE, and therefore made the most sense to put as the first song on the album. The song was “Black Sclera”.

If you listen to it, you’ll perhaps notice that it’s one of the darkest songs on the album. That was an intended effort on my part. Yet after I finished recording the song, I noticed its length came out to exactly “10:31”, the day I wrote it. That was not intended at all. From that moment on, I knew. Everything had a purpose. Everything had a meaning. If you can’t see it, it’s because it hasn’t been completed enough to be presented to you yet.

Keyword: YET.

This is by no means an original thought. There are countless musicians that have been examining the correlation between numbers in relation to music, and the ether long before I ever attempted to. For example; my personal favorite jazz wunderkind, Pat Martino, has pointed out connections such as the 5 black keys on a piano to the 5 human senses, or the 7 white keys to the 7 chakras. He’s even delved deeper so far as explaining how consonance and dissonance is the same thing. But that’s an entirely different conversation…

By opening my mind to notice the ethereal, I saw how it gave meaning to my work, more than it already had. I noticed it in other places, and decided that this trend must continue. Continue it did; sometimes intentionally, and other times not.

More instances regarding track length include:

  • “If Only You Knew”, whose length is indicative of the time of day mentioned in its second verse.
  • “Ibid.” continuing the theme from “Black Sclera”, therefore sharing the same track length minus a digit.
  •  “Illunga” being “07:07”, with 7 in numerology meaning all things regarding the inside of a person, thus corresponding with the story and theme of the song itself.
  • “The Callout” being the only track with a length consisting of consecutive digits. Thus setting it apart from all the other tracks as not really being a part of the whole. It also serves as a source of juxtaposition between both halves of the record, while having almost nothing to do with either. Yea, think on that one.

 

Track listing was important as well:

  • Track 10, consisting of digits 0 and 1 whose numerological meanings when juxtaposed correspond with the song’s theme.
  • There are 12 tracks in total. If the album was a play and you split it down the middle, it would have two acts. Tracks 1-4 are Act I, tracks 5 and 6 are the interlude/intermission, and tracks 7-12 are Act II.

 

Other easter-eggs in the album were simply audio-manipulation and production-based:

  • The binaural beat occurring all throughout “Black Sclera” that gives off the effects of a certain “narcotic” when listened to in a certain way (if you downloaded the album off of BandCamp, the instructions are already in the track).
  • The spoken-word/poem going on in latter half of “Illunga”, which offers a completely different meaning to it than what is being sung.
  • The poem in the beginning of “Creationship” which offers a suggestion as to what the latter half of the album is about.
  • The 2 audio messages occurring in “God’s Teeth” that reminisce on a few key plot points of the album.
  • The not-so-hidden sound effects that basically paint the picture of what happens to the main character at the end of SUADADE in “DNR” (Hint: That title is quite telling).

 

Even tracks like “Ironrockhard” that are completely frivolous and out of context to the larger picture were intended to be just that! I mean, listen to what the heck he’s saying for crying out loud! Whereas “The Callout” is more of a concrete realization and exploration of the tone set in the previous track.

But this wasn’t part of the process for making just the music. I took on this methodology when naming the album.

It was originally going to be called SAUDADE; this was the plan all along. The definition of the word was what I wanted to define with the music, because it already described the sound of the album. But when choosing the font type that would be printed on the cover, nothing looked right. I tried other fonts, and they didn’t look right either. I already had the font type that I wanted to use for “spells and curses”, but nothing for SAUDADE worked well in relation to the overall vibe of the cover. That is, until magic happened.

I’d like to be clear; I can’t remember if the so-called “magic” was due to the late-night delirium that set in as a result of slaving away for hours, or just sheer luck. Either way, I was messing around with the font and the album cover, and figured I’d type it again. I did, only this type I typed it as SUADADE.

SUADADE

‘Hmmm… I misspelled it’ I thought. But I remember looking at it for what felt like a solid 10, maybe 15 seconds. It fit, and it worked. I couldn’t explain why, and I didn’t understand why. But the way it sat above “spells and curses”, the way it took up its space in the picture; it was perfect. I learned earlier in the recording process not to question those little moments of magic. I learned to just trust that voice inside and go with it. I figured hey, nobody gave The Beatles shit for not spelling it “The Beetles”, so this shouldn’t be a big deal. Thankfully, I was right.

WELL, that sure was a lot of info. Aren’t you tired of all that reading? Damn, I would be. I feel like I’ve been rambling for HOURS! But how about that, right? I mean, does daddy make up for the times he drops the ball, or what? I figured you’d be a little miffed after that last post, so I hope this makes up for some of it.

We’ll get more personal next time, or rather, I will. I’m feeling a lot more comfortable writing to you. I’ve got some work to do but I’ll write you again real soon. But there you go; now you know me. Or rather, now you know how I think, when I create.

Love Actually,

theRave