Creative minds collaborateto create music video

Abigail+Suhr+%28%E2%80%9817%29+and+James+Mueller+%28%E2%80%9816%29+dance+in+music+video.+
Abigail Suhr (‘17) and James Mueller (‘16) dance in music video.

Abigail Suhr (‘17) and James Mueller (‘16) dance in music video.

Photo courtesy of JJ Schrick (‘19)

Photo courtesy of JJ Schrick (‘19)

Abigail Suhr (‘17) and James Mueller (‘16) dance in music video.

Spencer Hodge, Staff Writer

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JJ Schrick (‘19) began work on his solo debut album “Cold Open” during the summer of 2016 in hopes of releasing it Dec. 2016. As a piece of the album project Schrick will also release a collaborative music video project with Luther students Kyle Livingood (‘19), Abigail Suhr (‘17) and James Mueller (‘16) to be released before Thanksgiving.

Schrick characterizes his album as indie folk rock.

“My big inspirations are Fleet Foxes, Father John Misty, Punch Brothers and Andrew Bird.” Schrick said. “In some tracks I like to give my sound more of an alternative rock backbone in a discrete kind of way.”

Schrick played every instrument recorded in “Cold Open” himself including the drumset, bass, 12-string electric guitar and mandolin. He discussed the challenge of translating his solo into live shows is an opportunity he wishes to pursue.

“I always have different people in mind that play each of the different instruments in case some people cannot make it to a show,” Schrick said. “Hopefully I get to [perform] shows during J-term and/or spring semester.”

In partnership with videographer Livingood and dancers Suhr and Mueller, Schrick produced a music video to the album’s single “Bottom of the Hill.” Suhr choreographed a duet dance for herself and Mueller which related to the theme of love that is present in Schrick’s music.

“I usually pay a lot of attention to lyrics to figure out the storyline in my head,” Suhr said. “There are certain emotional parts of the dance that James and I agreed on — that one part is date night where we show everyone how cute we are, another part we’ve just broken up and are walking away from another, but we still get back together at the end.”

Despite her direct response to Schrick’s writing, Suhr reminds viewers that she also serves the role of a creative originator.

“I try to be literal, but not in the viewer’s face about what the lyrics are saying,” Suhr said. “The audience can already hear the lyrics so my job is to put them into a visual form that adds something.”

Livingood has experience with videographing weddings and other content for Luther College Video Bureau, but this was his first time behind camera for a music video. Livingood spoke of keeping his work simple and descriptive of Schrick, Suhr and Mueller’s contribution to the project.

“I really wanted to keep the choreography as naturally as it could be,” Livingood said. “The idea for the video was that their dancing would tell the story rather than the camera movement.”

Livingood commented on the value of the collaborative spirit of the project.

“It was a good learning experience,” Livingood said. “I think it was really nice to branch out with other Luther students in different aspects. A lot of people only experience their single learning track of music, dance or video. It was really nice to combine all of those.”

The music video “Bottom of the Hill” will be released on the artist’s personal media websites before thanksgiving break and the album “Cold Open” will be released sometime in December on Bandcamp and potentially Spotify.

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