D’LEAU COLLABORATES LIKE CRAZY
MEET the MUSICIAN USING TRASH TO FINISH HIS VIDEO
Words by Trash
Videos by TRASH ANGELS
Have you remixed “O1” on TRASH yet?GRAMMY Award-nominated singer, songwriter and producer D’Leau shared the footage from his newest track “01” so that fans and newcomers alike can help finish the video on TRASH. The post-funk stalwart can’t wait to see how people interpret “01” and pair it with their original footage and style in their videos. Everyone is invited to participate, whether you’re a longtime fan or first-time listener. Simply remix his footage and select “01” as your soundtrack. D’Leau will most definitely watch your video, and is going to post his absolute faves all over the internet. (To get started, right now check out his very own remix channel titled “D’Leau” here. )
TRASH loves Brook’s perspective on collaboration just as much as we love his music, which is why we’re including a few snippets from our conversations with him in the Q&A below. Read this if you’re interested in co-creating videos, envisioning the future of fandom in the music industry and / or utilizing the TRASH community to expand your artistic vision.
As an independent artist, how important is consulting your own community while making your work?
D’Leau is a band. My name is Brook but D’Leau is a band. Whether you see a performance with a bunch of people on stage or not, it’s always going to be a collaborative process, not me by myself.
I’m an independent artist in the sense I’m not working with a major record label, but I enjoy collaboration. I have amazing friends, one of whom is a designer named Ted Jewel, and we go over so much together. When I’m inspired to do things, I don’t usually have an understanding of why I’m talking about a certain thing, but sometimes Ted or another one of my friends does.
For example, “O1.” The song is in three parts by chance. I keep my instrumentals in a playlist on my phone, all the stuff I’m vibing with in hopes of developing lyrics. I had four tracks in a playlist and they played all together in a row one day and I was like, “Why does this sound like one song to me?” So I play it for Ted and he’s like, “You’re right. The first three are one song but the fourth is different.” We start talking about love, and even though I had a loose idea for lyrics already, this conversation totally pointed me to what the song was really about. Ted heard the story about love, and the song grew from there. Then I passed the song along to its director and that’s how we have these great visuals.
I don’t believe that videos need to represent what the song is about exactly, at all. When collaborating with a director, I’m more like, “What do you see? What do you hear?” I love seeing things from newer perspectives that I couldn’t see from my own vantage point. I think it helps the song itself grow wings and go into places that I didn’t see coming.
Sometimes I’ll judge my own work and want to get rid of something and one of these collaborators goes, “No way, you should keep that.” The creativity becomes about more than just me and my face and mind. Collaboration helps me avoid being my own worst enemy.
Your fans are now furthering that creativity in their remixes on TRASH. Why is inviting listeners into your artistic process so important to you?
I want to make my audience part of my process in all sorts of ways. I have a lot more songs coming out this year, and I always want those releases to be a dialogue with the audience. I want them to name songs in the future, for example. I just want to cultivate that involvement. As an artist, I don’t think you can dictate who your fans are. Involving fans, or listeners, into the process keeps things open-ended and makes space for somebody to insert themselves into it.
I don’t see fans wanting just music anymore. There’s so much great music out there, but what’s the draw? For me, involving listeners means the draw becomes collaboration. I want my listeners to know I’m open to what they have to say. I want us all to feel like we’re a part of something, versus just a consumer of something. People don’t want a cool shirt or a cool song; they want to be a part of you.
We all love music videos. What’s your all-time favorite?
“Once In A Lifetime” by Talking Heads. I’m a huge David Byrne fan and I like to think I model parts of what I do off of him. He used every device and facility that he was comfortable with to tell his story. I will say I think I’m a better singer than him, but that doesn’t mean I’m better than him. He knew that he was not a traditional kind of singer, but also he knew that he had a bunch of other ways to tell his story and convey his thoughts and feelings.
A lot of times, his concepts would come across as simple but they were brilliant. The simplicity of what you do can also create space for interpretation, instead of mapping out everything for your listener or viewer, simplicity leaves room for them. It’s like, “I’m going to give you the first part of a sentence, how would you complete it?” That’s one of my favorite videos of all time for that reason.
He’s playing a character, but I don’t know what character it is. You just get this feeling. He’s not trying to be literal or explain anything, he’s just evoking the feeling of the song. I’ve heard that song a million times and still don’t know what he’s talking about. I don’t look at music as something that needs to be analyzed, a lot of the time it’s just about feeling it.
Now, go remix Brook’s video!
The three parts of “O1” correspond to the song’s three acts.
And check out these remixes:
Cargo Collective 2017 — Frogtown, Los Angele