by Hallie Switzer
Last month, Montreal musician ggpeach released a music video for her song 'Lacy' off her EP 'Melt'. The 4-track EP is dreamy, reverb-y, catchy and a ridiculously awesome debut. For the 'Lacy' video gg partnered with Toronto director Sarah Li-Lun MacArthur.
Set against the backdrop of winter in Montreal, the video reflects a more visually rich version of the current winter landscape: when the weather is unforgiving so people find other forms of warmth. The video follows gg as a love blossoms between her and another girl in her group of friends (played by Sydney Sheedy). The chemistry and naturalism between the two makes their love story immensely watchable. The video follows them as they begin spending more and more time together, creating their own world.
The sumptuous colour palate plays into the emotional throughline and heightened senses experienced by the characters in the video. The video encapsulates the themes of the song so perfectly you will want to return to it again and again. Seriously, if there was any plan to extend the world of this video to a series or film I would be 100% on board.
I had the chance to ask gg and video director Sarah Li-Lun MacArthur a few questions. Check them out!
1. How did the two of you meet?
gg- we met at McGill, where we both were in film studies. We had some classes together and mutual friends.
Sarah – Yeah, I think our friend Sophie introduced us. Specifically I remember the History of Jazz bird class we took together. We used to study (aka listen to jazz) at my apartment with our two other friends, and I have vivid memories of gg sitting in our papasan chair listening to Freddie Hubbard and Ahmad Jamal.
2. What was your artistic partnership like for this video?
gg – Sarah approached me with an absolutely beautiful treatment that she had dreamed up. She saw potential for a mini movie and created a storyline and characters that I loved from the get go. She also had a vision for visual textures, colors, everything was so thorough…I was just so excited to work with her on this project.
Sarah – I think gg and I saw quite eye-to-eye from the beginning, which was really cool. I think it was in the editing phase of the project that we had the most collaboration – the editing suite is really where a visual story forms into what it is. We had a lot of late night back-forth about various cuts when gg was in New York and I was in Toronto. Oh, and gg set up an awesome premier for the video with Exclaim.com, which was sweet.
3. gg did you always see a video for this particular song (Lacy)?
gg – yes! This was one of the first songs I ever wrote, so it's very special to me.
4. Sarah, how did the video concept come about?
Sarah- For me, I always start with visuals – I’ll make a collage of images with textures, colours, and moods that I feel reflect the music, and then start a full treatment from there. Its just based on impulse and intuition really. gg’s lyrics had painted out this beautiful romance, and I wanted to create a story that was sweet and laid back, and most of all feel like the two characters had an equal dynamic and were really in-tune with each other. That's the way the song felt to me.
5. What was the shoot like? How long?
gg – We had three people in the crew: Sarah, Vikas, and Banga, who make a fantastic team. They drove from Toronto to Montreal with a car full of equipment and props and costumes. We shot everything in two and a half days! They arrived friday night and then we immediately set up and shot the party scene. It was a whirlwind of productivity. So much fun creating our own little film set and seeing our friends rally together to help.
Sarah – gg has a ton of loyal friends who massively helped out with the shoot and braved the cold. It was Montreal November and we were shooting outdoors for about half of it! Vikas Vasudevan, our cinematographer, and Karamvir Banga, our 1st A.C, were amazing crew to work with – never any complaints and Vikas had a lot of creative contributions, which was a really nice perspective to have with us. I think most nights we went to sleep around 1:00-2:00AM and were up by 7:00AM to shoot again.
6. The video has such an amazing and particular feel! Sarah, did you have any specific inspirations for the look of the video?
Sarah – Most of the inspiration came from the glittery dreamy feel of gg’s Melt EP. I think my time living in Montreal also informed the videos feel a bit, because it was this innocent and carefree time in my life that I look back on with a lot of nostalgia. Vikas, my friend and cinematographer, also did a fantastic job capturing that dreamy feel.
7. Who are the other people in the video narrative? The friends and the love interest! How did they become involved with the video?
gg- they are my real life friends! My friend Sydney is the love interest and I asked her to do it because she is pretty great and up for anything, and I knew she would act really natural on camera. The people in the opening scenes deserve a shout out because they are probably the biggest ggpeach fans I know, and they spent many hours shooting with us in the bitter cold, always smiling and making jokes. We would do a take, then run back to the car and squeeze into it to warm up for a minute before the next take. It was stuffed like a clown car.
Sarah – They were absolutely the real MVPs of the shoot. Also, shout out to Sydney Sheedy for her amazing presence! She’s more than we could have ever asked for.
8. That big orange location is so amazing! Did you always plan to use it?
gg- I think it's funny that we accidentally made a music video chock full of iconic Montreal places and activities. Maybe sarah had planned it without me knowing, but it turned out to be a wonderful homage to the city where I got started in music.
Sarah – It was planned! I’ve always loved the Orange Julep because it’s just this massive seemingly unnecessary structure, but brings so much joy to everyone who visits it. That scene was magical. It was the last scene we shot before the shoot wrapped, and we were all finally free from the cold!! Vikas, Banga, and I drove home to Toronto right after.
9. From each of your perspectives, as a musician and a filmmaker, what do you love about music videos?
gg- I love how music videos are another way to get to know artists or bands. They can be a glimpse into the songwriter's world in such a different way than the music alone.
Sarah – Yeah, and there is so much creative freedom with visuals in music videos because the music is there to guide the narrative. I definitely want to keep doing them for that reason.
10. What's next for both of you?
gg – recording an album
Sarah – Finishing up some projects in Toronto and then hopefully shooting a short film in New Orleans!
Exciting! Can't wait to see what you create next!