Photo: Ginger Fierstien
I’m a big fan of musicians that take their art into other realms beyond a basic music video. Oakland’s DRMS did just that with their release of American 707, an ambitious 17-minute film and soundtrack directed by Elia Vargas. DRMS keyboardist Rob Shelton tells me the project began with some “highly experimental recording sessions” in 2012. “These sessions left us with a lot of material to use in a new way, not so much as writing a song and recording it, but recording something and then writing the song.” The end result is an incredibly cool mixture of jazz, pop, electronica, and some studio effects you likely haven’t heard before.
Shelton tells me the music wasn’t created with any visuals in particular in mind. “The music was totally done before we made the film,” he explains. “But I think the film’s creation was along the same ethos. Start creating to be in the act of creating and that brings its own direction to it.”
Filmmaker Elia Vargas echoes Shelton’s sentiment:
“The video itself sits nicely in a vague place of documentation and experimentation. It really was just a journey through these odd California and Nevada landscapes, but it was also a journey through digital signal flow. The events that emerged happened because the three of us simply decided to do them, to go here or there, or not to. In this sense, American 707 the visual album is the impulse the music caused in us, and caused in a computer space – literally.”
DRMS will screen the film at Rickshaw Stop Saturday night as part of a performance that will include sets from DRMS, Con Brio, and systemritual (which features Vargas and Nate Blaz of Geographer). For now, you can enjoy the film below or purchase the music on DRMS’ Bandcamp page.