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THE SPECifics: Boys and Frogs Talk Music Videos

In their two years of music making, Boys and Frogs have done more than what is expected of a do-it-yourself band. With the help of family, friends and fans, they’ve released two albums, recorded three music videos and continue to book shows and make new music.

The Peoria-based group is made up of Michael Alexander, Carissa Encinas and Daniel Seckler. Michael lends his voice and plays organ, piano, acoustic guitar and auto-harp; Carissa alternates between drums and flute; and Daniel performs on the saxophone and piano. But that’s not all. The band has incorporated instruments such as tubular bells, kettledrums, violas, French horns, cellos and trumpets into their music, creating a sound that even their fans find difficult to classify.

In June, Boys and Frogs released their second album, Rain Dance Snowed In, and third music video for “Heir to Stares.” The band’s videos are not easily interpreted, but what better way to find out than to ask…


Boys and Frogs “In Dreams” from Boys and Frogs on Vimeo.

Music and lyrics: Michael Alexander
Director: Daniel Emerson Williams
Art: Eric Kasper
Choreography: Bree Burrell

CONCEPT:

The concept of “In Dreams” is purposefully not a direct visual representation of the lyrics. The video conveys its own story. Art plays a vital role – incorporation of music, dance, visual art and cinema. Boys and Frogs is expanding the definition of “band,” encompassing many genres of art, not just MUSIC. “In Dreams” is Boys and Frogs’ way of interpreting the art of Eric Kasper as a film, bringing it to life.

Teeth have a special significance in both Eric Kasper and Michael’s art. To acquire teeth for each of their projects, Michael and Eric pose as dentists or dental students and collect teeth from dentist offices.

AESTHETICS and THEMES:

  • The art of Eric Kasper – characters from Eric’s paintings are represented through the story and characters’ mannerisms, wardrobe and makeup.
  • Feather dress – Carissa wears a dress made of the same feathers as Eric’s multimedia art piece.
  • Teeth – Michael and Daniel wear jewelry made of human teeth (Ashley Fair).
  • Gold – Michael’s face is painted gold.
  • June Bug – Ben wears a June bug above his eye.
  • Black face paint – Dancer/choreographer Bree Burrell’s face is smeared with black paint. Black masks are worn by the entire band during the dance sequence.
  • Wooden chair – The wooden chair is used on the cover of the “In Dreams” single on iTunes, t-shirts and in the final shot as the curtain closes.
  • Tear – Carissa’s drum tears like the rip in the painting.
  • Dreaming and surreal imagery inspired by Michael’s lyrics.


Boys and Frogs “Old Tribes” from Boys and Frogs on Vimeo.

Music and lyrics: Michael Alexander
Director: Keith Peters (Los Angeles Unit)
Director: Daniel Emerson Williams (Phoenix Unit)

CONCEPT:

The lyrics for “Old Tribes” were inspired by the novel Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence. The main concept is about who would be more frightened: those who live in wide open spaces and come to the edge of the dark woods, or those who dwell in the dark woods and come to the edge of a clearing.

Another of Michael’s lyrical concepts is about a character who believes so strongly that others are out to get them that it is as if their false perception has become a reality. After finally detaching from what you’re running from, you now long for the people and things from which you have lost. You now seek out what you were once running from. “Rain Dance Snowed In.”  To rain dance is to ask and pray for rain, but you may get overwhelmed with the results of your prayer, if they have been fulfilled. Snowed In.

AESTHETICS and THEMES:

  • D.H. Lawrence, Sons and Lovers
  •  East of Eden (film) – Scenes from “Old Tribes” are filmed as an homage to the movie East of Eden.
  • Criminal Minds – High production, Hollywood-style video with crew of CBS show Criminal Minds.
  • Los Angeles – “Old Tribes” portrays a distancing from their collective homes in Phoenix, showing dirty cross sections of Los Angeles that many people don’t see, especially those in Arizona.
  • Musical accents portrayed by striking: Stick clicks, smashing bottle over head, smashing chair and punching.
  • Themes of drugs and drug abuse, philosophy and religion
  • Bicycle/Travel – Michael closely bonded to bicycles. He once rode from Phoenix to Chicago on bicycle.


Boys and Frogs “Heir To Stares” from Boys and Frogs on Vimeo.

CONCEPT:

The concept behind the “Heir to Stares” is an intentional departure from the storyline formats of traditional cinema such as those employed in “In Dreams” and “Old Tribes.” “Heir to Stares” is shot as an impressionistic-style art film with a non-linear storyline. No beginning, middle and end.

AESTHETICS and THEMES:

  • An “Heir to Stares” is a beautiful person. One who has inherited the stares of others because they have inherited beauty. Born beautiful.
  • Gold cable running from Michael’s microphone and wrapped around Carissa’s neck that tightens as the music builds. This relationship represents Michael’s powerful, destructive and violent lyrics. Michael has been confronted by people, both closely tied to him and complete strangers, with mixed reactions between praise and contempt, regarding his lyrics. Some of his friendships have even been strained because of the personal content he includes in his song writing.
  • Running theme of Michael injuring Carissa. Old tribes bottle/hanging her.
  • The hair of Carissa, Daniel and Michael is an individual take on the same uniform, a trim hair style representing a solidarity and oneness. Michael and Carissa also share the same makeup style as way of further exemplifying solidarity.
  • The overall look of “heir” is a perversion on classic themes of beauty and glamour.
  • Lyrics gloss over religious and sexual themes.

CONNECTING THEMES/INSPIRATION BETWEEN ALL VIDEOS:

Gold, Daniel Emerson Williams, Eric Kasper, relationships, dreaming, cinema, literature, philosophy, teeth, violence, sex, art, drugs, D.H. Lawrence’s Sons and Lovers, Edgar Allen Poe’s Berenice, native/tribal peoples and “Rain Dance Snowed In.”

Though the band has offered some insight, they note that many of the meanings and themes of their productions are open for interpretation by the viewer.

Boys and Frogs has a few projects in the works that include collaborations with Daniel WilliamsChris Labadie, Trevvor Riley and Keith Peters. For now, check out their two new songs “A Child Cries” and “Manières (Pour Audrey)” on SoundCloud and watch their buzz session on The Wild Honey Pie.

 

*Interview text taken from emails with Boys and Frogs and edited for grammar and clarity.

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