Collaborations - Album Release Show

ACKLAND has had quite a year... we released our single "Rain" back in January, played some really fun shows around LA, and then went on to release our debut self-titled album via a multi-media, multi-disciplinary show at Art Share LA. We've done some really fun collaborations (music videos, etc.) but this was probably the most involved, with a LOT of moving parts. Get ready for some great film photos taken by photographer Pete Agraan.


Working with dancer/choreographer Felicia Skye was wonderful - we met up at CalArts a few times in the dance room to conceptualize and try different approaches to the two interlude pieces from the album. My concept when I asked her to perform on the release show was that she'd do some sort of ritualistic movement, involving covering her body and face with white paint throughout the two pieces of music. I didn't want it to be completely choreographed, as the music is never played the same exact way twice, the dance shouldn't be performed the same way either. She was 100% on board with this, as I expected she would be. I explained to her the meaning of the pieces - they tell the story of a person who is losing themselves in their depression, and not seeing their own beauty. The ritual represents the control the person has over their own disappearance, though they go through this ritual as if in a trance. Felicia asked so many amazing questions about these ideas that all aided in her beautiful interpretation of the pieces. Because we didn't have a way to actually practice with the paint in the CalArts dance studios, that aspect was all improvised. I think this element added refreshing spontaneity to the performance at Art Share.

If you haven't already seen them, check out both of the short films I produced (and star in) for these interlude pieces, which employ a different interpretation of the ritual/white paint concept:

Morning and Moment Videos Playlist

For many years (really, since I was about 16 and saw Feist perform during her tour for "The Reminder"), I have wanted to collaborate with a artist who uses projection and water/oil art. I never forgot how immersive my experience was at that Feist concert - she had a huge projection behind her for the entirety of the show of oil and water that was being manipulated live by some cool artist. Feist gave the artist a shoutout but I alas, I did not write it down. This was before I had an iPhone and a "Notes" app. Well, it turns out I didn't need that artist's name, because by some miracle, I met Miranda Kahn. She does a lot of different stuff, but when I mentioned to the dean of the CalArts music school, David Rosenboom, that I was looking for a projection artist, he laughed - because the project we were working on together for his show at Redcat (Hymn for Insurgent Arts), included someone who had experience with just that medium - Miranda! In the Redcat project, she was going to be acting, but she also does shadow puppetry that incorporates swirling backgrounds created with water, oil and food coloring. I immediately called her up and asked if she'd be willing to do just the latter, without the puppetry, as a live performance aspect of the ACKLAND Album Release Show. We met up for coffee, and it was obvious that she completely understood what I was looking for, and that she was going to go above and beyond. Like Felicia, she asked a lot of great questions - about the meanings of the song lyrics, the flow of the album, overall themes and visual ideas I had while putting the album together, color schemes, etcetera. When we got together with the band to do the dress rehearsal, I was floored by how much the music and the meaning came through in her improvised art. Here's a video from the dress rehearsal of Miranda's interpretation of "Rain".

So many people came together to make this show a reality.. including but not limited to Bradley Butterworth (he did the sound), Erika Bell (she helped produce), Fahad and Cynthia Siadat (they ran the box office), Art Share LA itself, and of course everyone in the band. It was such a great learning experience for me, and only strengthened my urge to do more collaborating, more concert curating and producing, and more creating. I'll leave you with this - evidence of another collaboration with my good friend Michael Lopez, who actually went to that Feist concert I mentioned with me back in the day - he made the amazing outfit I wore for the show!


Rain - The Making of

By now if you follow us you've heard the song "Rain" and seen the music video that has been out for about a month! I (Molly) thought I'd share a bit about the process of writing the song, and about my experience working with the artist behind the animation. In case you haven't seen the video, here it is again:

“Rain” was a songwriting experiment for me - I wanted to see if I could write something with almost completely static harmony (an idea my composition teacher Marc Lowenstein gave me) that could still hold listeners' interest throughout. As my songwriting process began, I was sitting at a table in the CalArts coffee shop with a notebook, staring at the other humans around me. I jotted down notes about my experience, and began contemplating what it means to connect with someone else. Sometimes, I thought, you can lose yourself in another person, even when you don't have a relationship with them. It happens even when you're observing them and feel a sense of admiration, jealousy or curiosity. I was interested in this aspect, rather than the widely-covered idea of losing oneself in a lover. As a result of my coffee shop writing session, the metaphoric lyrics "you feel the rain (the rain of emotions caused by your experience of someone else), you fall (falling into a pit of self-doubt, or imagining what this stranger's life is like, or getting lost in your new infatuation with them)"  were born, and subsequently married with the drone-like chord progression and giant crescendo that is "Rain". 

 A little while later, a really great thing happened.. I met Spanish artist Ana Pérez López! Well, first I caught a glimpse of some of her animation work, and then I introduced myself and asked her to collaborate. After talking about the concept, we shared Pinterest boards back and forth. I was happy to discover that she totally got it - all the photos she shared with me fit right into the mood I was hoping for, and of course so did the storyboards, clips, and final product as she sent them to me throughout the process. Here are the links to our two Pinterest boards, in case you're curious: 

Molly's "Rain" Pinterest Board

Ana's "Rain" Pinterest Board


Anyway, the entire process was new to me but so much fun. Ana proceeded to create a film that captured the song's psychological journey through surrealist imagery and psychedelic storytelling. It feels so amazing to have this piece of art out in the world, and I hope others enjoy it as much as I do!

Check out this review from Emerging Indie Bands

And this one by Jazmin Valdez


Thanks for reading!