Why can’t they make more music videos like this?
Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Gene Micofsky has released the music video for his new track, Not That Strong.
The video, directed by filmmaker Gregory Kasunich, features a ballerina who dances her way through a theatre, where she eventually comes across Micofsky on the piano. Together, the two put on an emotional performance that slowly builds up to a dramatic finish.
Completely devoid of colour, not to mention mostly filmed in one take, the video perfectly complements the somber tone of Micofsky’s track. Speaking to The Big Takeover, he explained:
“Not That Strong is about accepting that you are not willing to go down certain roads with people you care about, and the turmoil that comes with that decision.
“As the song builds to a dizzying crescendo and inevitably implodes, the performance and the film editing mimic this in a frantic but exhilarating manner.”
Micofsky is set to debut his self-produced debut LP Amusia on October 12. In anticipation of this, we spoke to him to know more about him and his work.
Tell us a little about your background. How’d you get started as a musician?
“When my family first moved us to New Jersey, I initially only had one friend. He happened to play piano, and we started writing songs together. The following Christmas my parents gave me my first electric guitar, and it all went into hyperdrive from there.
“I was obsessed with classic rock guitar, but eventually matured into appreciating blues, soul, jazz and classical. I studied music composition in college in Philadelphia, and it was there I discovered a knack for writing to film. I composed for dozens of student animated shorts as well as wrote concert and modern dance pieces.
“This led to more advanced classical studies in grad school, and scoring more films on the side. Meanwhile, at night I was always rocking out in some club with a band. I started playing in a professional band at 19 and that dual lifestyle of composer and performer continues to this day.”
How would you describe your music?
“Like many die-hard music lovers, I have really eclectic taste in music. It used to be unusual, but nowadays it’s pretty common to say you listen to everything and really mean it.
“Subconsciously, I may draw from elements of rock, soul, blues, folk, country, jazz, classical, and even soundtrack music. I see them all as equals, and blend them as necessary.
“Both lyrics and music are extremely important to me, so I try to strike a balance where both matter. I want someone to be able to enjoy the song on whatever level they chose to engage. Because of my history with film music, I find that mood and narrative play a big part in how a song is shaped.”
What was the inspiration behind your song, Not That Strong?
“Not That Strong is a song about admitting to yourself that you’re not capable of traveling down self-destructive pasts with someone, and the turmoil that comes with that decision. I had a rather disheartening experience with a friend, and after returning home that evening this song poured out of me.
“Although it evolved over time, the majority of the song was written and captured in that initial demo. The coda section was a later epiphany. When I discovered it, that was moment it transformed from a song I really liked to an essential part of the record.”
What do you hope for your listeners to feel or take away from watching the music video?
“With anything you write, you hope the listener sees a little of themselves in the song. Or at least finds an element they can relate to. I’m always intrigued with how people interpret music. The song may mean something different to various people, and it’s all valid.
“After watching the Not That Strong music video, a friend told me it took him on a journey. Even somber music can be a beautiful escape. I hope the video can be that for others as well.”
Not That Strong is from the album Amusia. Could you tell us more about it?
“Amusia is my first record as a solo artist, though I have been writing and recording for years. In many ways it feels like the first time my dual personalities of composer and songwriter have been fused together in a meaningful way.
“When I was young, I would sit in my room for hours listening to classic albums from start to finish. There’s something about the commitment to the songs as a collection that gets lost a little today. I wanted this to be a record that someone could sit down with that same intent and focus and take it all in.”