In this era of what feels like endless social distancing and self isolation, finding ways to fill the time may seem hard. How many hours can you spend on TikTok before losing your mind (no really, let me know)? This is where artists come in. It has been amazing to see how musicians, visual artists, content creators, etc. have been working in unison to create out-of-the-box, innovative art that has us all marveling at our phone/computer screens.
A fantastic example of this innovation can be seen in the latest music video from Charming Liars. The band worked in collaboration with director Maxwell Lloyd and animator Connor Wyse on this stop-motion animated video for their new single 'Blame'. There is a heavy DIY feel to the video, but that aesthetic is what separates the video from many others, rather than holding it back. The visuals are simplistic and exemplify the straightforward, heartfelt message behind the song: come back, and blame it all on me.
We spoke with Charming Liars' Karnig Manoukian about not only the video, but the band's creative process and journey together. Check out the interview below!
The stop-motion animated video for ‘Blame’ was so much fun to watch! How did you decide on taking the video in this innovative direction?
Before any of this corona chaos had set in, we randomly met someone who owns a stop motion production company. His stuff was so cool but mostly short form for social media and for big brands. If we hadn't met that person, we wouldn't have chosen this style of video, so it's all very random. In terms of the heart, we wanted to utilize an object that really echoes the songs meaning.
What does your songwriting process usually look like?
It all depends on the song. It can start with a drum beat and bass line that just inspires us. It can also start from a lyrical foundation that Kiliyan (singer) has or it can start from an acoustic jam where we randomly stumble upon something great.
As an alternative artist creating songs with quite a bit of variety, do you find there to be pressure in this industry to define your sound by a genre?
Five years ago I would say yes. However, in 2020 i think there is less pressure to do so because music is digested from so many different areas and there are less gatekeepers. This means that artists are more free to do what they want. There are less people in the industry telling you what you can and can't do. On top of that small indie artists are being heard all over the world and they're making millions of fans without even spending big amounts of money. So people care less about what others think and they can act on that without worrying about consequences.
As a band that has spent a lot of time touring around the world, what has that experience looked like for you?
It's looked like months and months in a van ... being on top of each other without going home for long periods. It also looks like the greatest memories in our lives. Special moments we'll look back on 30 years from now and know that only WE experienced that very moment with 500 others on that specific night. It also looks like a lot of fights and a lot of happiness.
What is your all time favorite song to play live?
At this point, for me personally I think about the moments where I see people in the crowd, realize that they actually like us, and at that moment they decide mentally that they're going to listen to our music and support us. Looking back at all the shows we've done in the past 18 months, I would say our song SOUL is definitely one of those moments in the live set.
Do you have any big moves planned for the year?
Obviously corona has disrupted everything to do with our business. We have several US tours and a European tour lined up and ready but we can't announce anything as we're at the mercy of the headline band to reschedule the tours and announce them. So our plan is to release a song and video every month for the rest of the year and to do 2 US tours and a European tour. Who knows when they'll happen though.
The music industry is one being hit especially hard by the recent pandemic. How has it affected you guys, and what have you been doing with this time?
We've been writing and working alone and sending each other bits and pieces. We call it making music in the 2020 pandemic. At the same time we've been doing live stream where we play tunes in stripped down form. The biggest thing is we've been releasing music. Before hitting the road in February, we had spent several months writing and recording new songs for the next 18 months so we're lucky that we have those ready to go.
If you were to make a highlight reel of your top moments as a band, what would be on it?
Hmm...definitely opening for Angels and Airwaves all across the US. Then I'd say getting our songs on big Spotify playlists. That exposure is so much more important than radio at this moment. So it's huge for a band our size to get on those playlists.
What do you love most about making music and being a part of the music industry?
Definitely performing live. Thats the best thing by far: being able to get on stage with the people you're closest to and put out music to the world!