Some say that music videos aren’t just what they used to be. They say that music videos used to have a specific character and theme to them, like the perfect visual embodiment of the music being played. While I do believe that music videos are made either as pure promotional material, like Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself,” or made just to spark controversy, like Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda,” I do believe some artists make videos just for fun. Local band Edison Chair does just that.
On February 26th, Edison Chair, a band that describes itself as “vocal-driven rock n’ roll,” released their latest music video, “Sí Se Puede.” In the video, the band plays the song as the theme music of a scene taking place at The White Horse. The scene depicts Edison Chair’s lead singers Rachel Thompson and Ellen Gruber as two confident women looking for a challenge – an arm wrestling match. Drummer Wes Armstrong plays a suave and rich-looking gentleman, who sends off keyboardist Wes Ballew to face Rachel in a match. Hilarity ensues with bassist Jacob Draper as an unapologetic bartender, and lead guitarist Martin Aker as a bookie. Tensions are at a high level as Rachel must face the tall and muscular Wes in this seemingly impossible match.
My thoughts on the video
I absolutely loved the video. Having the entire band play these eccentric characters in an alternate universe where Rachel has an intense face off with Wes was a wonderful idea. I highly appreciated that the video had a narrative as its basis, as opposed to many music videos that are only the band playing as random stuff goes on simultaneously. Those types of videos are fine; but, I do like narrative driven videos more.
I also couldn’t help but feel as though there were some strong Quentin Tarantino vibes in the video’s production, from the Hispanic-like tone of the song, the sincere and focused lighting, and the casual dark humor inserted at the end.
I generally believe that videos like “Sí Se Puede” are great examples of authenticity within an artist. With this video in particular, there’s a strong indication that Edison Chair is a band that takes itself very seriously, but not too seriously.
Getting a glimpse of the band
A day before the official release of “Sí Se Puede,” I had the opportunity to meet the entire band at one of their main hangouts, where the video was premiered for their close friends and production crew. It was here that I was able to sit down with singers Ellen and Rachel for some insight on the workings of the band and their experience with the music video.
Ellen and Rachel explained to me that Edison Chair has actually been a thing for about 10 years now, and that their inclusion in the band is a relatively recent development; they’ve only been part of Edison Chair for about 2 years now. They reassured me, however, that despite how many different lineup changes Edison Chair has had throughout the years, the band’s current form is most likely the definitive one.
In terms of influences, Ellen and Rachel revealed to me how the entire band looks heavily up to The Beatles for their inspiration. The guys in the band looked up to the Austin-based band Fastball during Edison Chair’s formative years, while the girls told me they really loved Heart. I personally found that part hilarious, as I can never get the riff of “Barracuda” out of my head whenever I think of Heart. But the influences don’t stop there; the girls went on about the other artists that personally inspired them, like Janis Joplin, Grace Slick, Norah Jones, etc.
Rachel and Ellen commented about how strange it is to record music nowadays because of how advanced production technology has become. In fact, Edison Chair’s latest EP We Got History, was only recorded in two days at Suite 2E, a house that was converted into a recording studio.
The girls explained to me that the band plans to record more material with the bassist of Blue October at the Orb Studio in May to record two new singles. They wish to shoot music videos for these singles as well.
Making the video
Ellen and Rachel said that it was the idea of the music video’s producer and director, Samantha Bennett and Lee Mendez, to make the video into the quirky narrative that it became. They had come to Edison Chair with their idea, and the band was thrilled to go with it.
The girls said that the process of filming the video itself was very fun but exhaustive, considering they had to wake up super early before filming. The filming took place for two long and busy days. The girls said they loved the treatment they received from The White Horse and that the bar’s aesthetic matched the band’s tastes. Everything ran smoothly, but they said it was hard being really tired and having to act like they were wide awake.
Potential for the future
With all my recent experience with Edison Chair, from meeting the band members, watching their videos, and jamming out at their show at Lambert’s last Friday night, I can say with complete confidence that they have an immense amount of potential. If you still haven’t heard of Edison Chair, check out their latest video below and get hooked on their catchy choruses.