Little Memories

Beautiful Melancholic Melodies set to Dreamlike Music Video

American electro/folk duo Overcoats aka Hana Elion & JJ Mitchell went to school with talented young director Raphael Linden. As the group were starting to get some recognition, Raphael suggested they collaborate on a music video before they all graduated from college, and Little Memories is the glorious, if slightly melancholic fruit of that labour.

“The shoot ended up happening only a week before graduation,” recalls Raphael. “The whole thing felt like a bittersweet send-off amongst close friends and a fitting artistic conclusion to our college careers.” The video has all the grandeur of a palace party from a bygone era, providing a fitting setting for the mournful yet soothing vocals of Overcoats.

The video was actually shot on campus in one of their university’s beautiful old buildings. But it had to be kept quiet. “The one thing I’m a bit hesitant to admit is that the entire shoot more or less took place clandestinely,” Raphael told us furtively. “Our university (whose name we could mention but absolutely won’t) has its fair share of old architecture and well preserved, time-capsuled spaces. The one we ended up using was too much of a production value goldmine to ignore, but the building’s administrators weren’t too keen on letting a bunch of kids shoot there in the middle of the night.”

So did they get away with it? “Towards the end of the night we were alerted that a guard was approaching the building and had to scramble to wrap up the last few shots. We literally got out of there minutes before the security guard made his nightly rounds. Here’s hoping our school never finds out about the video!”

After that revelation, we were desperate to learn more:

The Plus: How does the video enhance the song?
Raphael Linden:
I think that’s up to each individual viewer to decide. When I first listened to the lyrics for Little Memory, I could tell that they were very specific to the band’s personal experiences, so I thought that addressing them directly or interpreting them literally would be misguided. Instead, I tried to focus on rhythm and tone as the basis for the video—the way JJ and Hana’s voices are both lulling and haunting, soft yet strongly evocative. It seemed for me to be a song filled with subtle contrasts and shifting moods, so I tried my best to convey that feeling visually.

TP: How did you come up with the narrative?
I slept on it. That is to say, I dozed off to the sweet melody of the song one night and when I woke up, I couldn’t quite disassociate it from my unconscious state. I started to think of the song as the soundtrack to a dream I might’ve had, and that’s exactly what it became.

TP: Where was the video shot?
We filmed in a beautiful, old and incredibly well preserved building on our college campus. In many ways, the university was responsible for most of the video’s budget. . Given the ungodly amount we pay in tuition, though, I think we all felt pretty good about getting the most bang for our buck. For those of you still in school: milk it for all it’s got!

TP: What were Overcoats like to work with?
Working with close friends is always a pleasure and I hope to find a way to do that for the rest of my life. It was like a fun sleepover where we all got to play dress-up, except there were cameras rolling and everyone was stressed out of their minds.