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The sickly sweet croon Soft as Snow vocalist Oda Egjar Starheim unleashes in “Fluid,” a track from their new EP Chrysalis, sounds like siren songs from another planet. Here, the trippy synthpop atmosphere she and partner Øystein Monsen deliver is couched by equally alien visuals by net artist, GIF maker, and director Kyttenjanae. Her signature androgynous 3D characters run, dance, and feel throughout a melting purple pink wasteland, driven by Soft as Snow’s spacey beats.
The duo, signed to Houndstooth Records, approached Kyttenjanae to design both the Chrysalis cover art and the visuals for “Fluid” shortly after Kyttenjanae graduated from UCLA earlier this year. “I’m a big fan of Houndstooth, so I was immediately very excited about it,” she tells The Creators Project. “My own work really obsesses over themes of truth and belonging and permanence, so I quickly identified with the lyrics and knew it would be a good fit.”
We asked Kyttenjanae about working with Soft as Snow, how she made the video, and got her to explain the marathon of flourescent, beautiful ooze she created for the video, which you can watch below.
The Creators Project: How did you hear about Soft as Snow?
Kyttenjanae: Soft as Snow approached me to create this music video as well as the artwork for Chrysalis. I’m a big fan of Houndstooth, so I was immediately very excited about it.
How did you feel when you first heard the track? Was your immediate vision pretty close to the video we see here?
I loved the lyrics so much! My own work really obsesses over themes of truth and belonging and permanence, so I quickly identified with the lyrics and knew it would be a good fit. I particularly was drawn to the lines, “when you’re gone/they won’t know,” and “one of these days/there is no home.”
Can you give me a brief outline of the story / meaning of the video as you see it?
Conceptually, this video explores themes of environment, identity, and impermanence in both a physical and emotional sense.
I wanted to touch upon both the physical pieces of what it means to be human, the parts of our bodies that sense and feel things, as well as what our identity is comprised of emotionally, and how our environment determines that.
When we’re gone, when our experience ends, we return back to what we came from—back to the earth, I thought that was really beautiful and sad and confusing. I wanted to make a video about that.
What was the conversation like with Soft as Snow, both for getting you on board, then in the creative process?
The band was super kind and amazing to work with! They sent me a song they were really proud of and let me interpret it in my own way. We connected periodically over Skype and email, but they were really on board with letting me interpret the music in my own way.
What software was in your toolbox for Chrysallis? Any special techniques trotted out just for the video?
The whole thing was built in Cinema4D and cleaned up in Adobe After Effects. I came up with the melting/liquid landscape and coloring as a way to communicate this direct relationship between identity and environment. From a technical perspective, that effect was achieved by constructing a ton of colorful objects off-camera that reflected directly on to the environment.
What was the biggest challenge you overcame for the video?
My biggest challenges are always technical hurdles. Rendering times are forever the death of me 🙁 This video took 240 hours.
What’s the difference in your creative process in actualizing a concept for GIF art and creating a music video?
Most of the art I make really focuses on a single instant, and this relationship between emotions and time. Music videos give me a unique opportunity to explore that moment a bit deeper. The process and approach is similar, but definitely requires me to push myself a little further.
Is there a relationship between this video and your previous work with D∆WN?
Yes! All of my work exists within a single canon, a bigger story I haven’t told yet. Every weird piece I put online or video I release all has to do with this larger narrative I’m slowly unveiling.
What’s next for you?
Everything! More videos, more weird content for the internet, maybe some prints, who knows :^)
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