YUS Paints a Cinematic Picture With "Girls"
A scene from YUS' "Girls"
See also: YUS Is Giving You Something to Chill To Local one-man band/synth wizard Youceff Kabal, better known as YUS, has a strong dedication to musical aesthetic. Packed with electronic blips and bloops, the electronic sounds nonetheless teem with soul.
Teaming up with director Gordon Cowie for the "Girls" music video, YUS pairs that musical aesthetic with a visual one.
"'Girls'" live is very different," Kabal explains. "I'm playing guitar, and the drums are different. It's one of my favorite jams, even if it's been over two years since I wrote it."
The song acts a perfect gateway to his sound, and makes perfect sense as a catchy cinematic single.
Check out that shot composition.
Up on the Sun: How did YUS team up with Above the Radio?
Gordon Cowie: The owner at Above the Radio, Trevor Martin, is a good friend of mine and when he heard I was willing to give a free music video away to get my feet wet, he called me immediately. We talked it over for a week and decided that running a free video contest would benefit both parties. We are now running a second free music video contest right now so check out above.fm and submit your music as well have your friends submit. Youceff Kabal: Above The Radio posted on the YUS [FaceBook wall] telling me that I should submit my songs to their contest. It seemed legit, no stupid "one with the most votes wins" set up, so I entered "Girls" and "Choice." I was later told that Gordon, the director, was the one who chose my song out of all of them. I gotta commend him for his good taste.
GC: I had listened to 50 different bands and had my choices narrowed down to three different groups. YUS, was the last submission and right when I heard his track, I knew he was the winner of the contest. It was a song that stuck in my head.
UOTS: What inspired the song?
YC: The song is just me going to college for the first time in 2009 and being star-struck at how many pretty girls there were on campus. I went to Metropolitan Arts Institute, where there was under 300 students in the entire school, so it was pretty moving. There was this really, really pretty girl this one time, and I never managed to get her name, and I never saw her again, so I was just like "Man, I wonder if she saw me too". Probably not [laughs]. The song kinda sounds like "One" by Vampire Weekend, but I tried to copy LCD Soundsystem for the production aspect of things. Obviously, I failed completely. [Laughs].
UOTS: How did you select the girls?
YC: It was mostly Gordon coming up with different approaches. There had to be girls in the video, but how could we portray them in a complimentary manner, like none of that sexual BS. He proposed doing point of view stuff, where the girls' POV would change from girl to girl as the video progressed and I liked the idea. He was like: "What if they're passing something, like a briefcase and each time they pass it we change point of view to the girl that got the briefcase. I think we just mutually forgot about the POV technique, and just decided to roll with the briefcase idea.
GC: I wanted to make something visually pleasing to the eye as well as tell a story. My favorite videos are the ones that tell a good story, and it's what has me watch a video more than once. As far as the girls, I wanted the girls to stand out, not because they were beautiful -- which each one of them is -- but stand out because they were unique.
YC: The acting was kind of impromptu, as in we just did it on the spot with a general idea in mind. He also edited everything -- pretty neatly, if I may add. I've received positive comments for how cool it makes Phoenix look. I can't say that was our goal, but I can agree it's definitely a result. I just thought Phoenix was pretty cool-looking in the first place. It seems people forget about that sometimes, I mean downtown Phoenix is a dope place, all the architecture is dope, the way the sun flows through, the wide sidewalks, the plants. I wish I spent more time down there.
UOTS: Here's the million-dollar Pulp Fictionquestion: What was in the suitcase?
YC: It was actually empty; I was kinda pissed. I don't know if you can tell. [Laughs]
UOTS: What's the deal with the trashed Beanie Baby?
GC: We wanted to say Beanie Babies are trash. Actually, it was just sitting there when we arrived, and no one really wanted to touch it, so it stayed. While I was editing, some friend who saw the video kept asking me what it was, so I figured if it could grab their attention it, will grab other peoples' attention.
UOTS: Does the girl in the blue dress represent the Virgin Mary?
YC:[Laughs] I don't want to assign religious figures to Katherine, but yeah she's definitely the spiritual one. She's kinda like that naturally, it was her dress so it looked natural. I think that's one of the themes we were going for, all the girls being as natural with themselves as possible.
YUS is scheduled to open for oOoOO on Saturday, July 28 at Crescent Ballroom.
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