Music: January Sun

How’s 2016 treating you so far? Well, lemme tell you, Matt—Honeybee—has the right idea. A new album that is right on time for the season, as meditative as the ocean’s surface. He kindly submitted to a quick interview.

January Sun is an entirely new release exploring ideas initially recorded in 97-99. What made you want to begin again? 
I wanted to re-record it because I felt like the songs were good at showcasing musicianship and creativity—not just my engineering skills. I really like creating songs people can get into on another level besides the surface. And it’s better than just sitting on the shelf for almost 20 years where no one could enjoy it. Even myself! They were great ideas, poorly executed. I like expounding upon potential and making things better.

Which song sounds truest to your vision?

The first 3/4ths of the album came out precisely as I wanted. Toward the end things shifted a bit.

Which is the most surprising and why?

…Like Water and Minimal Velocity fit January Sun’s theme surprisingly well considering they were recorded for fun in the intervening years and never made it on to an official album of their own.

Favorite song?

My favorite song is the finale, Deeper Sinking pt. 2, despite it being  different from what I’d planned.

Suggested activities while listening??

Chilling out and opening your mind a bit. It’s music for having quiet conversations, making art, being creative, yogic breathing. Very mellow.


Of course, my favorite song on January Sun is A Song for Sunshine, but I’m completely, entirely, just wholly biased. Listen for yourself on Super Plaid’s BandCamp. Hang tight in our Super Plaid Jam as seen through Bethany’s lens on her site, Pistol Pix.

And thanks for stopping by our little corner of the internet. Don’t forget to Like, Comment and Subscribe for more Wrays of Sunshine.

Brianna Wray Signature

credit: Cover Art by Jared Wade


To the Death, Critique & Self Evaluation

Critique is one of my favorite parts about art school. You’re provided with this opportunity to view your work through new lenses and, considering that these are other art-minded folks, imagine what other-minded folk might think, too. There’s infinite potential. In a sense, though, critique is also daunting. It’s not fun to stand there and defend yourself against some opinions sometimes; especially when the notes are more observatory and less useful. It’s way different when someone says, “I don’t get it” versus, I don’t know, the colors could have been warmer to convey the romantic imagery you were shooting. You know? One of those is constructive. There are helpful things one could say, but there’s no guarantees with critiques.

The critique for this To the Death video was easily the worst critique I’ve had and that experience really solidified how important good, constructive criticism is to me. I always want to promote that, keep that dialogue going, so I thought I’d start right here, with To the Death.

Notes from my professor and classmates:

  • death reference seemed a little stiff
  • cut into action
  • love the energy
  • your work surprises me in a good way
  • music fits well with the mood of the video
  • I didn’t care for the fancy shiny transitions, they seemed a little cheesy
  • I think the pacing was a little problematic- the tone of the second half is completely different than the first, and there wasn’t any indication in your first act that that was gonna happen.
  • The part with the band lasted a little too long

My self-evaluation:

Overall, my goals for the To the Death were to document the true-to-life experience of the talented musicians and all around good people my bandmates are. I wanted specifically to document the transition from whatever it is that we do in our daily lives to the moments when we come together to make music. The biggest challenges were that I actually had no footage of all of us together and the fact that this particular configuration of my band is not the same as it was when we recorded the song. I chose it, though, for two reasons: the first was because of our strict 2 minute time limit. I didn’t just want to fade out on one of our longer songs, I worked with our engineer to cut out a short chunk of time without losing the falling action of the song. The other reason this particular song was chosen was for our listeners who, upon hearing it, deemed it a morbid concept. I wanted the video to show the opposite: that we live our lives on the day-to-day to leave an impression on the world  so that if were to die today, you could look back at the records of what we’ve created together and trace our histories. I illustrated this by focusing on what each of my characters’ hands are in the act of making or doing. Lighting was a really important factor, as well. Although I borrowed and set up other lights, it became apparent as I shot footage that what I really wanted was the light as it is at my house (kitchen window faces west, so the sunset lighting specifically and crazy colors downstairs), in the backyard with the flies swirling, especially when the sun comes in the kitchen window as we do dishes. It’s the little things like that that make the biggest impression on my everyday life.

All that said, there were a few edits that weren’t perfectly timed. While I tried to keep my transitions few and consistent, my classmates took that as being cheesy. Considering it was my second video attempt ever made, that it was my band’s original music, that it was my band starring in it (during real work time, etc), including filming myself, with $0.00 budget, I’m calling it a success.

Have opinions? Do tell.



to the Death

Through this midterm I have learned that being a director means knowing how to concisely ask for what you want; that I am a documentary director who throws a handful of strange requests out there in order to get the cut I want because people bloom when they’re confused.

So, I’m sharing this video for my band, Super Plaid’s song, to the Death. Besides the strict 2 minute limit, this particular song was chosen because several listeners thought it was a bit morbid and I wanted to take the opportunity to show quite the opposite. The point of this song is not that we are daredevils seeking death, rather that we live our lives in such a way that, if we did die today, you could find our hearts in our music. Our albums are literal records of time well spent.

In a perfect world all the musicians who made to the Death possible would’ve been stars in its video, but due to distance Jesse Mack and Kevin Gibbons were sorely missed. Mad love! If you’re curious, click through for the stipulations of the assignment…

Continue reading “to the Death”