Creative direction has always been a controversial yet constantly attention-grabbing topic. Whether it’s the cover of Muse’s 3rd Law vinyl record, or every Rolling Stones album that has made a livestock branding of the essence of rock n’ roll, there are pieces that embody ideas we cannot usually see at firsthand. Artists with consistent visual aesthetic and sound raise the bar for every record company or advertising agency thriving through the industry. MGMT’s 'Kids' is a brief example of consistent design, from sampling voices of children to wittingly adding them as main working elements in the music video. This time, we tilt the spotlight to Brooklyn-based synthpop duo Chairlift has raised our spirits high with every tune and visual aspect of their discography.
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After 8 years of waiting, the Philippines has been added in the roster of countries for their tour. Thanks to our friends from The Invisible College, we began the month of gifts and fairy lights with a show better than having a well-decorated Christmas tree. Black Market wasn’t fully packed at the beginning of the evening, yet the venue was laced with an opening set from St. Vincent and The Grenadines as the crowd gradually increased. As nostalgic waves of the 80's crashed during his set, BP Valenzuela continued the ripple with her own taste of electronic pop. From crowd favorite tracks such as 'Pretty Car', to covering what she considered as her “favourite Radiohead song”, and a new track reminiscent of the uncertainty and emotional current in a sea of chaos—her set was full of vigour and freshly-brewed spirits. With the night growing in momentum, CRWN and Jess Connelly claimed the floor during their set as they overlapped from one calming beat to another heart-stopping melody.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
The excitement of watching or even a slight glimpse of the main act of the night seemed to bring more people together. From overhearing answers to “what’s your favorite song?” to whispers about how spectacular Caroline’s outfit must be, every conversation seemed to find its way through the frequencies. The whole band entered through the crowd and up to the stage, as each fan gasped in awe with how infectious their energy is even from the beginning.
Caroline’s all-fuschia pink outfit complemented every visual and setlist they had prepared. As versatile they had meticulously stitched their performance together, the crowd had nothing but praise and tears as they belt out every word to their songs. With the recent debut of their album 'Moth', they had a spread of performing tracks such as 'Polymorphing', 'Ch-Ching', 'Show U Off', 'Crying In Public', and so. They even travelled back in time enough to play 'Bruises', 'Amanaemonesia', and a Japanese version of 'I Belong Into Your Arms'. The band shared the love in various ways as Caroline would swayed and reached out to the crowd at the low end of the stage, and even at times Patrick did the same. The expression on their faces was priceless as Caroline exclaimed, “You sing better than the Americans!” as she added so with how surprised she was the crowd knew the songs by heart. Closing in with a 2-track encore, they send off their heartfelt thanks to everyone.
After the show, we had a brief chat with Caroline and Patrick that wore all smiles and shared how much they enjoyed their stay.
Bandwagon: What are your thoughts and feelings about this tour?
Caroline: I wish it was longer but we’re already having a great time
Patrick: We’ve met amazing people
Caroline: And eat really amazing food. We had so much good food yesterday, I love Filipino food. Where we ate at [ABE], it has really great Filipino food.
Bandwagon: The art direction between your videos is interesting. How do you proceed in making them?
Caroline: For this record, we’ve been working with directors but in the past I’ve directed them
Patrick: She’s being modest. Usually it’s her.
Caroline: [On inspiration for their videos] It’s 100% from the music. Sometimes it’s from the lyrics but mostly it’s from the sound. It’s like from the spirit of the music itself. Even the color choices, the art, are very much from the sound. The thing is there are so many songs we haven’t made videos for and the sad thing is I can see them all so clearly in my head. So that’s the thing: you’re going to have to pick which ones you’re going to do. That’s the kinda psychedelic thing in making music, it’s how visual it is.
Bandwagon: What changes have you noticed through the past records you’ve made?
Caroline: It’s grown up. It’s definitely grown up. We’ve learned a lot especially from the last few records, and this was the first time we were really confident with our skills as producers to produce it ourselves.
Patrick: And it changed with us as the level of partnership we had for the past 10 years of our lives
Caroline: We got more emotional for this record, did we? We’ve become more confident in front of audiences, in the studio, and with ourselves like being comfortable [enough] to opening up with ourselves.
Bandwagon: Where do you usually find music to get inspiration from?
Caroline: My sister has a music blog called listentothis.info and that’s where I’ve been going lately to find new stuff. She posts like rare ambient jazz. It’s amazing, but I’ve also been into more NTS Radio a lot. I love that program.
Patrick: I feel like I’m often inspired by listening to music that sounds nothing like the music that I create. There are a lot of songwriters like Harry Nilsson, Brian Wilson… but I don’t ever feel like I’m making songs ideally to sound like [something else]
Bandwagon: Given the chance, if you could own any song in history and call it your own… which would it be?
Caroline: That’s sick. That’d be so sick. I used to think about that all the time when I was in elementary school.
Patrick: 'Paranoid Android'.
Caroline: Maybe just the whole David Bowie catalog. I’m just gonna go ahead and grab that one.
Bandwagon: What are your upcoming plans in the near future?
Caroline: We’re on the road for now and we’re looking forward to continuing the tour in spring so we’re gonna bring some older songs back that we haven’t played in years and years. So we’re going back to the studio to rearrange the material a lot.
Bandwagon:Which artists would you wish to work or collaborate with?
Caroline: Oh god, maybe we should collaborate with people.
Caroline: A duet with Bryan Ferry, that’s what I want.
Patrick: Justin Timberlake. Justin’s gonna teach me how to dance too, hey.
Bandwagon: If you weren’t musicians, who would you be in an alternate timeline?
Caroline: I would probably be an animator or an editor. I just feel like those things are so musical, and making music is kind of like animating and editing. I would probably just go for video, and that’s where I’d be.
Patrick: I would be a scientist but I still can’t decide which field of science I’d be in.
Caroline: He looks good in a lab coat, though.
Patrick: [After mentioning Bryan May from Queen as an astrophysicist] That’s what I’d be: an astrophysicist.
They capped the evening with a meet n’ greet with the fans. A wave of enthusiasm has spread through the crowd, and to the back of even a single hint of Chairlift in our minds.
Chairlift Live in Manila was presented by The Invisible College.