L.A. RECORD PRESENTS THE PREMIERE OF MUSIC VIDEO “ETCHASKETCH TREES” BY ERNEST GONZALES FROM BEEN MEANING TO TELL YOU, THE FIRST FULL-LENGTH ALBUM RELEASED BY LOCAL LABEL FRIENDS OF FRIENDS…
We travel inside a pretty girl with long eyelashes in the snow. She’s in the woods. Her eyes are closed. The creek trickles nearby. A breeze shakes little red berries on a tree branch. You can hear nature sounds, but this is what it feels like: “Etchasketch Trees” by Ernest Gonzales playing as the girl, wearing less clothes, dances, maybe floating, behind colorful strings and wisps of smoke in a dark interior space.
This music video, directed by Air—remember her Pity Party vampire cupcake?—truly captures the essence of Gonzales. The songs on his new album, Been Meaning To Tell You, electronically describe or mimic the sensation of blissful moments. Bleeps and bloops come together through cinematic instrumental songs. “Etchasketch Trees” could very well be what this Persian beauty feels when she’s surrounded by snow.
We know the dancer is Persian because Air—aka director/editor Ariana Natale—told us. Her name is Nasim Haroun Mahdavi, and her moves were choreographed by Rani Welch. In the spirit of the Friends Of Friends label’s love for collaboration, Natale decided it was the perfect project to team up with the dancer.
Natale also describes zoning out on church television behind the scenes and some of the inspiration for her video:
“I knew I wanted to do something having to do with meditation because his first album is called Self Awakening, and I’ve been getting into that recently. I saw this installation in New York of a string piece and it looked like colorful energy to me so I had that in my mind when I heard Been Meaning To Tell You. The buzzy abstract sounds in the track reminded me of the energy in the installation and then we worked a dance around that. The whole process was as planned as we could make it, but there was a lot of spontaneous moments while filming where we’d have to tweak the dance or invent new angles for the camera, and it was super challenging to figure out how to edit the dancing.
The song is very cinematic so I wanted to give it a narrative framework in the video, a little opening and closer. We shot it in my grandparents photo studio in Brooklyn and threw their lives into upheaval for a week, which was fun. My DP closed her finger in the car door. That was cute. My grandparents’ were watching lots of church and Jeopardy in the other room. At one point we could hear weird Latin chanting when we were filming that string thing in the morning, lying in the middle of it. That was trippy.”