A short behind the scenes look at the making of Static Era’s eighth music video, Dear Me, filmed on a cold NZ winter’s day in Auckland.
Wondering how we did it when Emma G is overseas? Very simply, we decided this music video would be one that tells a story using actors, with our song as the soundtrack to it.
As with any creative process, it took a while to work out what the concept would be. I knew the emotion I wanted to portray as Dear Me is one of the most heartfelt and meaningful songs on our Fit To Fight album. I just wasn’t sure what it was going to look like.
The video concept
After several brainstorming sessions with our director, Mike Kumagai, we finally locked onto an idea I felt happy to run with. It’s a creative interpretation of the song, metaphorical rather than literal.
It’s focused around two characters, a young rebel and an older gentleman who meet on a cold winter day to play chess against each other.
So what does that symbolise and what happens next?
Stay tuned, music video coming soon
— Static Era (@StaticEraBand) July 10, 2015
Sleeping Dogs features on Static Era’s debut album Fit To Fight.
The music video was inspired by those classic criminal investigation documentaries and written, directed and edited by Mike Kumagai at Ruth and Jimby Media.
Just had someone Facebook message me that one of the tracks “Denied” on the Static Era album “Fit to Fight” has given them strength to leave an abusive relationship.
THIS is how powerful music can be. I’m humbled and amazed that one of our songs can positively impact people’s lives. <3
Five long years, two self-funded EPs, seven music videos and the work of a local hero and multi-platinum musician will come together on the 17.4.15. In one of the biggest and most anticipated debut album releases in New Zealand rock.
Having shared the stage with I Am Giant (UK), platinum selling Devilskin (NZ), Vanishing Point (Aus) and Anvil (Canada) it’s time for Static Era to take centre stage with debut album Fit To Fight.
Everybody has those songs that lift them up, inspire them, make them feel they could take on an army and Fit To Fight is an 11 track battle cry.
Vocalist Emma G, winner of the Local Hero Award, is contemplative but nonetheless excited. “It’s taken a lot of tears, frustration, goofiness, dedication, stubbornness, touring, sleepless nights and laughter in order to get to this point, and I’m so excited!”
For Emma it’s been a long personal journey and that’s reflected in the lyrics on Fit To Fight. Emma was born with hydrocephalus (water on the brain) which has challenged her through 23 surgeries, including 10 brain surgeries, the battles and triumphs captured in Fit To Fight.
Guitarist Chris Yong, formerly of Tadpole and Redline, is chomping at the bit to get an album out after 13 long years. “The last time I release an entire album of my creative efforts was back in 2002 with The Medusa by Tadpole…The new Static Era album will be huge personal milestone in 2015.”
Fit To Fight was produced by New Zealand Music Award winning Dave Rhodes and mastered by Sterling Sound in New York City.
The album release party will take place at Juice Bar, Auckland on 17.4.15.
You know what’s strange? Listening to essentially five years worth of music all summed up onto one album. That you’ve made. That you’ve poured your heart and soul into. That you’ve put your blood and (literally) tears into completing. And it all boils down to one 11 track album – each track a snapshot of quite a significant time (or moment) in your life. Each word specifically placed to try and portray the happiness, ecstasy, torture, heartbreak, stubbornness, frustration, confusion or sheer joy that you were feeling at that point in time.
Performing these songs can almost be like acting – because you’re placing yourself into a role where you get to recreate those emotions in the song – and connect with an audience through those lyrics. But listening to an album you’ve created? It’s almost like you’re allowing yourself to reconnect with yourself. It’s strange.
I realize that many people reading this probably have no idea what I’m talking about – some are potentially glad they don’t – so I’ll break it down a little bit.
I’m currently listening to the fully mastered, final product that is the next Static Era “Fit to Fight” album, and truth be told, I’m getting a little bit emotional. Next Friday 17th April is our last show for the forseeable future, before I head off to the States on the beginning of my OE / trip of self discovery / getting to know my family, and I’m really going to fucking miss playing in my band – but what a way to leave NZ; by releasing our debut album as a tribute for the last five years of hard work and achievement.
So I thought I’d take you through some more of our songs on the album, and what they’re about/what led us to write them…
When I first moved to Auckland, I frequented an open mic night in Ponsonby. Ponsonby is often affectionately / not so affectionately referred to as “Pon-snobby”, but this particular bar was a little bit alternative. Not in a hipster kind of way (no, thank you!) but more in the “I just want to kick it with some good beer, good music and good people” kind of way, as opposed to “check out my labels and my swag and my dolla dolla bill yo” kind of way. Haha. Anyway, it was at this open mic night that I met a range of beautiful people – musicians and music lovers alike – whom I became very close with. One person, in particular, and I hit it off (after I gave him absolute hell for smoking), and we became a sort of a thing…. but not quite… and I could never really get the balls up (as the saying goes) to actually DO anything about it. Truth is, I’m still incredibly awkward and shy when it comes to relationships. Seriously. Ask any of the men I’ve dated. I’m pretty strange. Ha. Anyway, eventually things kinda just dwindled, and he ended up moving overseas. We’re still good friends now though – even though he is WELL aware that that song was written especially for him!
The thing that tends to annoy me the most about creativity is the fact that it can strike at the most inopportune times. Sleeping Dogs was one of these songs. Back in 2012, I was staying at my then-boyfriend’s house, and I couldn’t sleep. The entire house was REALLY quiet, but I suddenly got this lyric and melody stuck in my head “I am the queen bitch, I am Ms Cynical…”. Before I lost it, I grabbed some paper, and literally 20minutes later, I had the song completed. El Boyfriend at the time mumbled something about what I was doing, but thankfully he seemed to understand creative madness, and when I shyly showed him the lyrics the next day, he was well impressed, stating that there were actually no suggestions he could make to improve them. I took that as a good sign, and since then, I think the only change I’ve actually made is adding in the third verse “I am a nightmare wrapped in candy…”. Truth be told, I’m not sure what inspired the song initially. It’s a cynical love song, that’s for sure. A definite “don’t fuck with me, cos I will eat you”… which is not really my style at all… but I think that everyone who falls in love has a tendency to bite back when they’re feeling threatened. Love is scary shit.
Warning: this one’s a little bit more sensitive. In 2013, contrary to my 2012 romance and opinion on relationships, I found myself in an abusive relationship. I’ve talked before about Te Whare Tapa Wha, which is a similar concept, but it’s relatively common knowledge that there are five parts to a person: the mental, physical, social, spiritual and emotional. This particular relationship failed miserably in all of those areas, but the thing about abuse is that it is often done so subtly that you have no idea that it’s actually happening. Something might seem a little odd from time to time, but we always seem to shrug it off as our own minds playing tricks on us, or we’re overthinking things, or we misinterpreted something. One day you wake up and barely recognize yourself. This relationship was like that. Mentally, my intellect was always questioned. My ideas trivialized and my thoughts were discounted. Socially, my friends weren’t good enough to hang out with, so I was discouraged from such things. Spiritually, my beliefs were belittled. Emotionally, I was ignored, or made to feel like something was wrong with me if I questioned something. But the physical side of things was the worst. I was made to feel severely overweight and not good enough. I had to take fat burning pills, work out with the aim of getting skinny (I now do crossfit and weightlifting – I’m all about muscle over being thin!), and wear clothing that he approved of… and that was only the start. Never mind the violence, intimidation, or sexual abuse that occurred.
Anyway, it took a while for me to cotton on to what was actually happening, and by the time I DID, I had, thankfully, the support of my friends and coworkers to say goodbye, and “Denied” was born. It’s rather aggressive, I guess, but it was important for me reclaim myself, and songwriting is the best way for me to do that.
And now I have this album – this little musical offspring – a momento that represents the last five years of my life – and I get to share it with you. The actual CD will have all the lyrics as well, so that you can read, sing along, understand, connect (if you like), and share this adventure with me.
Bring on April 17th!
I’ve been writing music now for over 20years. Not even kidding. I’ve kept the lyrics for over 400 songs that I’ve written / half composed. I’ve recorded two EP’s now with my band Static Era, and we are just about to release our first album. It’s pretty exciting. But it’s also terrifying. Why? Because every song I have ever written is an up-close, intimate snapshot of my life – a window into the life that is Emma G – and by sharing that music with the public either online or on an album is literally giving the world a piece of my soul.
I love it.
As I was going over the lyrics for the album yesterday, I couldn’t help but chuckle a wee bit at the wonder of it all. This album is the culmination of hours of frustration, hard work, tears, laughter, foolishness, idiocy, smiles, success and creative word vomit. So I thought I’d give you an insight to the behind the scenes of some of our songs on the album…
It’s pretty obviously a frustrated love song (I’ve written a few of those haha) – about a comedian I briefly dated actually. When I wrote this song, Dave (drummer) told me two things: 1. I say too much, and 2. I’m too blunt. Both are pretty accurate statements, really. But while I’ve always reveled in being a straight shooter, it WAS a wee bit awkward when he (the comedian, I mean), finally heard the song… ah well. Perks of dating a creative, I guess.
I actually wrote this song when I was 15. With the incredible support of my music teacher at the time (whom I’m lucky to still have as a friend these days), I wrote out a lot of my teenage angst in songs. I was processing quite a bit in So Sore; strange relationships, drug addictions that I wanted to leave behind, the societal pressures of religion (or being told I needed religion), and, believe it or not, the racial pressures of having gang expectations – for lack of a better term haha – placed on me. It was a particularly strange period of my life. Though, life is pretty strange.
Originally, this song was called Walk Away, but as a band we decided to completely rewrite it, and it became this little rebel of a thing telling you to not walk away from life’s problems, but telling those problems to essentially fuck right off. Filming the video for Nobody’s Toy was incredible too, because subconsciously I was able to harness the lyrics from the song, and work up the courage to leave an abusive relationship…. but that’s another story.
Chris (guitarist and one of my best friends) and I actually wrote this song together. We wanted to acknowledge the number of obstacles that people are faced with on a day to day basis, and essentially giving them/us/me the permission or ability to say “bring it on! I’m stronger than you!”.
I find a lot of what I write is for me. My lyrics are there to spur me on and give me courage, hope and strength. If they can also help others… well, that’s an epic bonus.
One of the only times I’ve actually written for someone else though, is with our new song “Dear Me”. Inspired by one of my students, I wanted to give her a ticket of hope when she was feeling suicidal herself. So I wrote her a letter of song; reminding her to hold on and think about the potential for tomorrow’s.
I’m excited about the album release, and about sharing my life with you.
We sat down with Francis from NZ Blokes to talk about Static Era, how we got started in music, current and future music plans, Emma’s experience with X Factor, the upcoming Music Is Dead music festival plus more.
You can feel the chills creep up your spine, spread out across your shoulders and crawl down your arms. The music is loud, deafening (but if it’s too loud, you’re too old), it’s moving through your body. It’s the moment you’ve longed for, waited for, lined up outside the venue for, watched the seconds tick away for, waiting for the download or tearing the wrapping off the CD case.
It’s that moment where everything melts away from you, where nothing matters but the music as it moves through your body, the chills, as they prick the hair on your arms. You forget everything, the fear, the pain, the anxiety, all of your worries can’t touch you here, not inside this song.
Emma G, the charismatic front woman of Static Era, is one of many that bleeds onto a lyric sheet in search of those moments, but also in search of something that’ll bring us all together.
“We’ve got this tool to unify people and get people hooked,” she says, “and that video [‘Addicted To A Dream’] is a bit heavy and it’s based on a few life experiences and we wanted to make sure that we were able to give people an idea that, ‘hey, look, we’re human, we’re all human, we’ve all been through stuff but there is a way out and there is hope.’ You go through trials and tribulations but at the end of the day you have the power to control your destiny.”
‘Addicted To A Dream’ is the new music video, about an abusive relationship, and getting out of it, but it isn’t only abusive relationships that are in Static Era’s firing line – they know their music brings people together and they also know how to use it: against the Black Dog.
“Coming from New Zealand,” Emma says contemplatively, factually and with a certain gravity, “where our youth suicide rates are really high, and the second highest rates of suicide in New Zealand are middled aged, Pakeha, men it’s really important for us to say, hey, look [suicide and depression] do exist and it’s really important to us [to talk about it].
“We don’t want to pretend that we’re all bubble gum and candy floss or whatever. We want to be able to identify these things and say hey, once I know who you are and what’re you’re doing, let’s kick it to the curb because there is a way out.”
For Emma, music was the way out. It was the Constantine to her demons and now, she wants to use to exorcise whatever’s lurking in the depths of everybody’s minds.
“I decided I wanted to be a songwriter when I was nine years old and the reason why is because I have a condition called hydrocephalus so in my life time I’ve had 10 brain surgeries (having brain surgery’s not at all that fun, don’t recommend it). It was during one of these stints in hospital where I turned to songwriting as a way of dealing with my demons.”
Though she laughs at not recommending brain surgery, her openness, vulnerability, in those moments isn’t something you can experience and then walk away from unaffected.
“Over the years,” she continues, half solemnly, half as though imparting a great truth of the world, “I’ve realised that we’re all going through some sort of battle and trying to find that one thing that to hold us all together. So to me, the most important thing about music is that ability to be a voice for those going through a struggle.”
“Everybody wants to be heard,” Emma says, seriously, not oddly seriously, but the gravity has returned to her voice, “but nobody wants to listen…”
It feels like an age old truth, just like Twitter can be like standing in a crowded room with everyone talking to themselves, we all want to be saved but no one wants to do the saving.
For those that do reach out a hand, it can be a minefield of disaster, but that can’t put you off.
“Chris [Yong, guitarist] is a lot more tactful than I am,” Emma laughs nervously, “I’m really blunt but the underlying thing is as long as you’re honest about your experiences and about where you want to go and what you’re doing, I think that’s the best way to approach anything.”
She sums it up succulently, better than I ever could, hell, better than most people ever could.
“Music is one of those things that brings people together and if we can use that as a tool to help save the world, awesome.”