Story / Chloe Robinson
Indie/folk and Baroque pop artist Diā has created a truly classic feel with her new video for her single entitled “Valentine”. The video features melancholy lyrics that express a deep longing for what could have been in a story of lost love. Her ethereal and dreamy sound paired with vintage visuals entrances you and takes you to an otherworldly place. In premiering “Valentine” we talked with her about everything from her inspirations to what life was like growing up and how that has affected the type of music she puts out today.
The video for your single entitled Valentine, starts off very tranquil and with the feeling as if you are traveling through space, what made you decide to begin the video with that imagery?
I think of Valentine as something I would have made up as a kid jumping rope. The instrumental intro is a sample from an old pinball machine recorded by my producer, Tim Carr (HAIM, The Americans, Fell Runner). I wanted the video to evoke the past and to start by going back in time and showing the origin story of the creation of the universe, the earth, a life. The computer programmer is a god of some sort, pushing the buttons and setting things in motion.
Watching your video you can see it has a very 1960’s vintage vibe, what was the process in choosing your visuals and the order in which you have placed them?
When Tim and I talked about the production style for Valentine, we wanted it to have a distinct throwback sound of the early 1960’s. To stay true to that era visually, I started scouring public domain footage from the beginning of that decade and found videos that ranged from visions of a home of the future, to grooming essentials tips, to an instructional video for women training in the army. There was a psychedelic film from late 1960’s that became the glue. The cultural shift during that decade was so clear looking at the visual contrast of the imagery. Because this is a coming of age song, the surreal content is a way of echoing that change and addressing disillusionment. My editor, Robert Condol, layered the pieces together so that the worlds of the past and present become a dream-state kaleidoscopic collision of memory. At one point, I am sining to the dad from the futuristic video and, in the next moment, dancing at his cocktail party. It’s intentionally playful.
When writing Valentine, did you have a specific person in mind as inspiration for your lyrics?
I was dating a banjo player when I first started writing Valentine and I must have been listening to a lot of old-time music. I think it was a response to a certain wholesomeness. The song is tongue and cheek; it really applies to almost any prospective Prince Charming, all the fairy tales and all the projections. There have been many.
I find it interesting how the video is filled with different clips from the 60’s era, but only once in the video a question quickly appears reading, “How do you choose a date?” Is there a hidden meaning behind that message?
Oh yes, that was from an instructional dating video! I really liked how straightforward that moment was in contrast to what we were doing with the rest of the imagery. That shot felt like an opportunity to simply call out the underlying question at the root of all the experiences.
Has folk music always been something you’ve been drawn to and who are some of your biggest influences within that genre?
I have loved folk music since I was a teenager and listened to Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez, and early Van Morrison if that counts, but my appreciation for folk has grown so much over the years, especially since I started writing my own songs. I spent a long time in the classical world training to sing opera, which I still love, but I found a completeness in the simplicity of folk that is so vulnerable and essential. Lucinda Williams is a perfect example of this.
How has being raised on a Hindu Ashram inspired your musical style?
My mom recently told me that she chanted every single day she was pregnant with my brother and me. This continued through our early childhood and now we are both musicians, so I think we have that deep desire to express ourselves through sound. The ancient chants are dark even as they conjure the divine, or perhaps in order to. Songwriting and singing are two of the most transcendent human activities I have come across. I haven’t yet been moved to write anything that isn’t somehow mournful, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.