With her haunting vocal stylings and yearning lyrical quality already garnering the attention of Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, Brooklyn singer-songwriter Lia Ices has been firmly positioned as “one to watch”.
Both the title track from her sophomore album ‘Grown Unknown‘ and the Vernon collaboration Daphne have been highlighted with captivating accompanying videos that incorporate interpretative dance and elaborate story lines, and it is clear Ices is connected to the visual aspect of her music.
In a sea of beautiful female voices, Ices is one step above her counterparts, projecting her thoughts and feelings explicitly and gently in her current single, Love Is Won. Set in Rome, the viewer is transported into the private life of Ices and her boyfriend in the track’s accompanying video, which is full of candid moments they filmed of each other.
The talented songstress sat down with Portable to discuss the video’s intricacies and her new album.
PORTABLE: Love Is Won is clearly a song about romance, how did you go about conveying that emotion through visuals?
Lia Ices: My boyfriend took an 8mm film of me on the beach the first weekend we spent together; the fact that I have such a perfect document in such a gorgeous format is what inspired me to do a video in this style…So when we rented an apartment in Rome for a couple weeks after I recorded ‘Grown Unknown’, I borrowed a friend’s Super8 camera. All the footage in the video is shot by either him or me.
The nostalgic, low-fi aesthetic of the video, coupled with the montage style of editing, give it a great “home video” style. How long did it take to assemble all the pieces?
I ended up with 6 rolls of 3-minute Super8 film, which I had transferred into digital. All of it came out so well that the assembling process was mostly deciding exactly what I wanted pieced together and how I wanted to present it. I’ve never released such personal footage, so there were a lot of back and forths in the final editing stage.
You collaborated with director Christin Turner—whose work is almost exclusively on analog film. What did she bring to the project that wasn’t there before?
I always have a core concept/vision for the videos I make but haven’t ventured yet into the computer editing FinalCut aspect of it all. I wanted to be playful and experimental with the edit; Christin is such a unique visual artist and brings in all of her own aesthetic to completely elevate the footage for the song. She blends these amazing layers and filters over analog film, and is able manipulate the footage to create something brand new. In all my work, I’m interested in blending old and new methods to create something that can exude timelessness.
Your other videos are similar to this in their personal nature—almost like the viewer is stepping into your private life. Would you say that is a key feature of your music?
More and more, I’m giving into my tendency to want to blur and blend the lines between art and life, and privacy and sharing. Artists like Sophie Calle who have built careers on this concept are so inspiring to me.
How has your sound changed on ‘Grown Unknown’ since (your first album) ‘Necima’ was released?
It’s definitely opened up and expanded. I think my sound has gone ever further in this direction since ‘Grown Unknown’ came out and I’ve been on tour. I’ve found a lot more confidence and power in my voice, which I think is a natural result of working constantly and performing the same songs everyday for months at a time. On ‘Grown Unknown’, the arrangements are much more fleshed out and fully realized than they are in my first album, but again I think I’m just scratching at this surface…
Are there any styles or formats of video production you’re eager to explore next?
I would love to do a choreographed big dance video.