From the moment some gloopy, astrally projected "black sludge" manifests itself on a woman at the beginning of Toronto electro-poppers Pick a Piper's "All Her Colours" clip, the power of pigment becomes the video's focus. Director Matt Yarrington, who makes music clips under the name Abandon Building, humbly describes the Technicolor kaleidoscopic sensory overload that follow simply as "a play on color," but it's so much more than that. There are bubbly potions, hallucinations, stop-motion unicycle rides, more astral projection, a summit of good witches and more before it finishes. "The first time I watched it, I thought, Wow, a lot just happened in four minutes; I need to watch it again," Pick a Piper's Brad Weber says. "You really need to see this a few times to catch everything. I love that."
The video's blink-and-you'll-miss it warp-speed presentation makes for a stark contrast to Pick a Piper's serene song, which features guest John Schmersal of Enon and Brainiac, as well as Caribou's touring lineup. In our interview Weber, who also spends time touring with Caribou, he plays coy about the song's subject matter, but he does say, "I came up with the original loop for the song on my laptop on an airplane while on tour with Caribou in 2010. I put it on the backburner for quite a while and then finally started to structure it out a year later." He then sent the tune to Schmersal, who was mixing the record, and he in turn offered to sing on it. "I kind of thought the song would be instrumental at the time, but was open to ideas," Weber recalls. "What he did was totally perfect and exceeded my expectations of what this track would become."
Taken by Yarrington's "manic animations" in other videos, Weber hired the director and gave him carte blanche. To the director, the video, or "audiovisual poem," as he calls it, is simply a play on color. "It is intended to portray color and light itself, personified as a female human and broken into a collection of archetypal aspects of the 'oneself,'" he says. "Each color is like a vital center of the whole. The shadow character is the negative aspects of a 'Macrocosmic Oversoul,' who, in an effort to harness the power of light and wreak havoc, has trapped 'White Light' in a prism and refracted her into the individual colors of the visible spectrum. The dark shadow being is manipulating each of the colors into playing tricks on themselves, keeping them cycling through various pointless games and puzzles in a sense of underwhelming purposelessness, and therein blind to their being all 'one.'" When we asked Yarrington where such a treatment would have come from, he says, "It was mostly written inside a small geometric dome with a splatter-painted parachute covering."
In the end, the psychedelic experimentation, which included superimposing one actress, Liz Kelly, seven times in the final scene, was worth it, and Weber says he found himself smiling throughout the whole video. "My favorite parts would probably be the early scenes of the doll in the dream world," he says. "But everything puts a grin on my face for different reasons."
Pick a Piper's self-titled debut will come out April 2 via Mint Records