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OLGA - Avalancha de Sonrisas

Video director Bradley Smith wrote to me about how he got hooked up with these Argetinians:

Dear Mark,

Before I share the music video for the newest single “Avalancha de Sonrisas” from OLGA (a Buenos Aires based indie electro-pop act) to promote the release of their second album GRACIAS TONALES… if I may, I would like to tell you a story involving foreign broke-ass filmmaking, a promise, a broken heart (so typical!), and this video.

You see, in the spring of 2011, I produced a feature film titled The International Sign for Choking in Buenos Aires (you can see the trailer here). We ended up casting Roger Delahaye (the Porteño whiz behind the songs of OLGA), and since we literally had no budget except for the pasta we were living off of, he was cast as a musician to play a musician. Rocket science I tell you.

The shoot was relatively uneventful, as most post-mumblecore usually is. I guess that’s a good thing to have no crazy shit happen. While celebrating at the wrap party before returning to the States, I drunkenly promised to direct a music video for them. I had never made a music video, but thought “hey fuck it…all I need is a couple friends, a DSLR, and a goddamn miracle. “The problem was that I was when I returned to the States after wrapping the film, I also came back to the frayed and finished ends of my relationship with the girl I was living with and dating for almost three years. Much of 2011 was spent in the house that used to be “ours” alone, broke, and with only my dog to stay in and watch movies since I couldn’t afford to go out.

Then my dog died, young at seven years old, unexpectedly. After a week or so, I was ready to chuck whatever meager LA existence I had carved for myself, put in my 30 days where I was living at the “house of dog and girlfriend past,” only so that I could live out of my car until I figured something out. I felt all the failure of every relationship, endeavor, and job all compounded on me at the same time. and when I got the news that I would be returning to Buenos Aires with my film for its world premiere at BAFICI (one of the most progressive festivals in the world according to some critics), I had an ‘oh shit’ moment. I couldn’t return to Argentina and face Roger without making good on my word. It was the only thing I HAD to do in life at that moment. But really, it was all that I had, period.

I buried myself in the song for days. Roger told me that he woke up one morning with a melody stuck in his brain. Without thinking about it he sat down at his computer, shuffled through loops on his hard drive and cranked out Avalancha de Sonrisas in a half hour. It is a syrupy sweet sounding electronic ditty with a driving rhythm that tells the story of a man who imagines a relationship with someone that doesn´t love him back and he sings to them the irony of this deception and the lengths they will go to capture this imagined person’s love. It was all recorded using loops that were buried deep inside his hard drive playing with the idea of dreams and real memories.

Taking these basic ideas (love, reality, dreams and memories), we wanted to dive into a dark dreamscape to contrast the deliciousness of the song, creating visuals inspired by Wim Wenders’ dance documentary-film PINA, and then edited to display my love for animated GIFs and the power that video jockeys can add to the audio experience. 

But really, the girl in the video who is accosted by strange Gaga-esque dancers is me, or at least how I felt at the time. She is just trying to find someone to love, and when her lover leaves her, all the ghosts of her past return to haunt and destroy her. It’s clearer now in hindsight of course, but the sense of purpose this video gave me started to make me feel a bit more positive. I reached out to all kinds of friends and ex-girlfriends with nothing other than a hello and I hope you are doing great. They were all (well let’s be honest, more like MOST) receptive and returned the gesture, and I realized that the only reason those ghosts of the past haunted me was because I only read into the negative implications of it all. When that girl in my video is reborn a queen, all the ghosts of the past now attending to her and loving her, that was what making this video did for me. It opened me back up to the world.

Thank you again for creating a place for people to share and send what they create. Potentially, none of it matters. Except for when some people feel that they have nothing else, and blogs like yours aggregate all that into a place to visit where the good things live. I am going to wrap up and hit send before I get self conscious about what I wrote. It really is so garden variety ordinary life stuff that I feel silly even sharing. Letters to YVYNYL seems to have that effect on people I guess.

Keep on killing it over there and sharing the good stuff, yvynyl rocks.

Bradley Smith

Director/Founder, GRACEBUNKGINPOP

Read more Letters to YVYNYL

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