Unleashing the Audiophile – Musings on Music
I was squished in a van filled with my siblings and cousins, heading back to Ottawa from a trip I cannot remember. It was a crisp night and I was fast asleep, snuggled between my brother, Cung, and my sister, Nicky. My brother impishly tickled my nose with a piece of white polyester stuffing from his winter coat, waking me into a grouch. Once Cung was scolded for waking me and I knew that my cousins had failed to convince the adults to take us to the golden arches lurking a few blocks ahead, I fell back to sleep. To this day, I can’t remember where we went or why but I do remember waking to Careless Whisper by Wham! (from the 1984 album “Make It Big”, track 8 or the b-side, track 4 if you have it on vinyl). I was four.
Many people have fond childhood memories of falling asleep to the sound of their parent’s voice reading a favourite book, or the thrilling freedom of finally riding a bicycle, leaving behind those unwanted training wheels. Some proudly remember their elementary school graduation day, or anxiously preparing for their first date. Some can even vividly recall their first kiss. But I can’t. I have no memories of how I felt during my first kiss (no offence J.B.), but I can tell you that Get It Together by the Beastie Boys (from their 1994 studio album Ill Communication, track 7) was playing in the background when it happened. It was at a house party and I was fourteen.
I remember my mother teaching me the cha cha (a very popular dance enjoyed at Vietnamese weddings, by the way) to the delicious latin-flavoured sounds of Oye Como Va by Santana. I remember watching my dad drum on phone books to Hey Joe by none other than the great Jimi Hendrix. My life is a playlist. I shop, buy groceries, and write project schedules with headphones on. I have a different playlist for rushing in the morning and decompressing at night. I even have a playlist for writing RFPs. Music is a part of me. It’s a lifeline I can’t survive without. It is a powerful art form capable of evoking every human emotion in the spectrum and I am confident in stating that it is the ONLY art form that is globally loved by everyone.
Now, people often say that you only get one great love in your life. I’ve been very fortunate to have two: music and film. And to combine the two makes my heart explode. I take great comfort in being surrounded by audiophiles. One can walk through our studio to find most of the staff bopping to the musical score of an online edit or immersed in a carefully crafted playlist while storyboarding or blogging (I’m presently listening to Abbey Road as I write this. Mean Mister Mustard is playing.) We exchange songs like hockey cards in between exports, uploads and deliveries to our clients, though when it’s crunch time, the songs are paused and we get down to business. The inMotion team welcomes all projects with enthusiasm and then tackles and executes them wholeheartedly. But on one fine July morning, our hearts did indeed explode with glee: inMotion was asked to produce our first music video, ‘Long Days’, by country music artist, Jeff Callery.
Each team member brought a fresh vibe and new perspective to the video and it was during one of our creative meetings when I really noticed how differently we approach a new project despite having the same goal. Our production manager envisioned the video in the form of schedules and call sheets. Our editor heard rhythms, beats and pacing. Our make-up artist painted shades of skin tones and selected complimentary wardrobe colours. Because I live a life of music, I deeply related to the song’s passion. Our client is the lovely and very talented Jeff Callery. He is childhood friend of Sarah Fodey, inMotion’s vice-president, and he recently gave up his career and business in life insurance management to rediscover what gets him out of bed in the morning: music.
This film involved two days of shooting, packed with laughter, hard work, an incredible cast and crew, and some very adorable children. On the second day of shooting, as I hid under Jeff’s coat that draped over the monitor, ten feet away from the train tracks where we had our last set up, my eyes welled with tears of bliss. I realized that ‘Long Days’ is now a part of Jeff’s life soundtrack. It is a song that marks a terrifyingly exhilarating moment in his life and a euphoric moment in mine and I am honoured to have taken part in Jeff’s return to passion.
- Han Nguyen
Go behind the scenes in Jeff Callery’s “Long Days” music video: