As silly as it may sound, I’ve never felt more like a “reporter” than I did just a few weeks ago. When I found myself outside the back of Houston’s Post HTX venue awaiting an escort through the dark hallways and disheveled staircases of the relic of a bygone era that is the eerie former Downtown post office, I teemed with both eager anticipation and focused attention to detail.
In this case, my escort was a headlamp-clad Thomas Mumford, and he was taking me to the upstairs corridor to view the recording of a music video for his new indie pop meets synth rock band, Veso Vega, for which he plays bass. That music video would ultimately become what you see here in “Beaches,” premiering for the first time right now on FPH.
I was invited to come watch the surreal shoot by the bands leader and vocalist Cory Sinclair, also known by his solo project, Hescher. He was joined in the shoot by other fellow band mates Chris Landry on drums and fellow sonic architect Omar Al-Bochi on keys and guitar, who also wrote the arrangement for the song.
The video, shot with help from Director of Photography and longtime collaborator Alejandro Sescosse, features the four performing in front of a projected image of a beach, using a mixture of a silhouetted shot of the whole band overlaid with dissolving cuts of close-ups of each member. Interspersed throughout are also wide, birds-eye drone shots of various western-Galveston beaches.
“It is supposed to appear on face very traditional, just a band performing in front of a beach, but of course it’s not actually a traditional beach,” Sinclair explains. “I wanted it to lack any geographical context, like it could be any beach, but importantly it was still in fact a Texas beach.”
What made the shoot particularly intriguing, however, was that it was filmed in front of Threshold, the interactive, video-wall visual art installation created by visual artist Lina Dib and technical designer Taylor Knapps for display at Day for Night just this past year. The piece features a projection of a beach (Surfside beach just due south of town, to be exact) that responds to the presence, motion, and sound of what’s around it through the creation of artificial “waves” on the image.
In fact, it was filmed entirely in the same space that the installation resided in during the festival, with assistance from the artists throughout the shoot to alter its appearance and behavior uniquely for the video.
The song itself, coupled with the fantastical nature of Lina’s piece that one might not describe as just a beach but rather the memory of a beach, is meant to evoke the contrast present in feelings of limerence, or a feeling of intense love or adoration that is not necessarily reciprocated.
“There is beauty and joy present in the song and the video, but simultaneously there is this sadness and longing present in both the lyrics and the music itself,” Sinclair expresses to me. “I think we often trick ourselves into believing this is the right thing or the righteous thing. In that way, many relationships can be so one-sided. There is a beauty in adoring something from afar, but also such sadness.”
Al-Bochi agrees with the sentiment almost verbatim, but also goes a step further in how he perceives the significance of working with Dib and Knapps. “[working with] Threshold brings a strong relationship to our work as well,” he adds. “It’s our hometown in the video, and we’ve known the artists for quite some time. Also, the emphasis of technology, I think aligns with our philosophy as a band very well.”
The artists made the decision to work with Cory after seeing him perform as Hescher in the Neon Garden concert series at Axelrad. “It wasn’t only the music, but more importantly the way he moves through space that sold me on the project,” Dib tells me. “I have always loved having dancers perform in my work, so it was very exciting to have another opportunity to do something like that.”
While the screen built specifically for the piece still lives in its original place affixed to the brick wall of the post office, Threshold does not intend to stay there forever. According to Knapps, the artists are waiting to get final confirmation on an appearance at the International Degrowth Conference in Malmö, Sweden in August before finding a resting place a little closer to home when it is moved to the Galveston Arts Center in November.
As for the bands future, they don’t see it as anything new outwardly, but rather a new approach for themselves. “We’ve been performing many of these songs as Hescher for a while now,” Sinclair admits. “Now, for the first time it feels like we’re finally recognizing this as something that we’re doing together. Something that we can all take ownership of.”
With that mindset, the band intends to keep on the grind after their grand reveal. “After Madness on Main, we’re gonna lock ourselves in a studio for a few months and just record,” he says. “We have another song that’s even more electronic, and sort of sultry, that we’re gonna try and release in a few months, and then hopefully after that an EP or an album out by the end of the year.”
When asked what the band had in store for their main stage debut this weekend for the 5th annual Madness on Main Music Festival at White Oak Music Hall, Sinclair posits that it will seem familiar to many.
“It will be a lot like the Hescher show many saw at Day For Night,” he says, explaining that the DFN show was actually sort of a Veso Vega show disguised as a Hescher show. “We are going to get people sweaty, and happy, and just a little sad.”
“But we are gonna fucking bring it so hard.”
Check out the music video for “Beaches” right here on freepresshouston.com before anywhere else, and stop by Madness on Main this Saturday, June 9 to see Veso Vega perform alongside 20+ other bands, live art, handcrafted wares, and good eats. The event is all ages and tickets start at just $20.