*The Following Press Release Was Issued By JATK*
|The debut JATK music video is out now! What started as a project with my longtime friend and collaborator Shaun Clarke turned into a 35mm film shoot with his grad students and a literal field trip with my partner and my 12-year-old niece. Read all about “Conscious Wonder” below and watch on YouTube!|
Watch Conscious Wonder
BOSTON, MASS. – Over the past few years, JATK’s debut album Shut Up And Be The Light came together as a purely collaborative affair. Matt Jatkola’s name sat atop the figurative masthead, but the songwriter, musician and multi-instrumentalist led a creative vision that included many of his friends and colleagues, taking what appeared to be a solo record on the surface and exposing something far more communal and intimate with the peeling back of each sonic layer. In April, Shut Up And Be The Light hit the streams alongside a CD release; this month, the LP gets the vinyl treatment and the release is marked for the occasion with JATK’s debut music video for album standout “Conscious Wonder,” which premiered on Tuesday, October 18.
And like the album, the video is yet another collective affair, with Jatkola teaming up with a host of creatives: Longtime collaborator in director and editor Shaun Clarke; his partner Aneleise Ruggles and 12-year-old niece Amelia Geddes; and Emerson College Graduate Advanced Cinematography students Brianna Cox, Richa Iyer, Asma Khoshmehr, Isabel Miranda and Roxanne Wan, working together as a class project under their professor Clarke.
The video was filmed in two segments: In the studio in April with the Emerson students on 35mm film and then digitally for the vibrant field and car scenes in July. The colorful video for “Conscious Wonder,” the third of six kaleidoscopic singles from Shut Up And Be The Light, swirls around a few different themes – primary colors, balloons, donuts “and a loose idea of a celebration… for what, we don’t know,” says Jatkola – to bring the power-pop song to visual life.
“‘Conscious Wonder’ has always felt like a song that sums up the album,” Jatkola says. “It’s certainly a pop song in structure, but in terms of genre or overall sound, it’s not terribly well-defined – in a good way! There are jangly guitars, a ton of vocal harmonies and there’s some lap steel that gives it a tinge of country; but it’s not just any one of those things. It feels greater than the sum of its parts, which is sort of what the song is about – grappling with ideas that are part of you, but also bigger than you or maybe even beyond your comprehension. I wrote the song thinking, ‘What is it to truly wonder?’ You’re wondering about wondering, consciously. And what is consciousness? What does it mean to be alive? To die? It’s a head trip. It’s finding your place in the sun. It’s existential. Again, in a good way! We hope.”
When “Conscious Wonder” first surfaced as a streaming single last summer, it arrived with press photos of Jatkola out in a sunny, grassy field clutching a balloon. The visual gave the track a bit of innocent child-like wonder and some levity as much of the musician’s music for the album was inspired by the heaviness of his cancer journey after successfully battling Hodgkin’s Lymphoma the year before. That visual helped inform the art direction for the video, from the studio scenes led by the Emerson students to the outdoor locations, where the photos and video were shot in the same field near Jatkola’s hometown of Ashburnham approximately one year apart.
“I’ve worked with Shaun Clarke on many projects,” Jatkola says. “We’ve been collaborating for well over 10 years now. He’s directed videos for other bands I’ve been in (The Bynars and FBGM) and I’ve worked with him on various films and shorts. He’s a really talented cinematographer with a penchant for capturing movement and dance. For this, we kind of stepped back. Instead of the two of us driving the project in a hands-on way, we let the students take the reins. His students were great and it was really fun to see them learn how to shoot on film for this piece. I’m biased, but working with my niece was also a joy. It’s really meaningful to collaborate with family on a creative project and especially this song.”
While the Emerson students brought the song to life in the studio, Ruggles and Geddes joined Jatkola for the car and field scenes – filming as they drove around and even showing Jatkola’s grandmother’s house and the lake near where he grew up, which made the final cut. “We directed Amelia and showed her the ropes on how to use the camera and described the type of movement we were looking for – we wanted it to feel human, handheld and alive,” Jatkola says. “We got all the shots on our list, but there are a bunch of shots that were totally her idea, which we used in the video.”
Even the Krispy Kreme donuts featured in the video were purchased from his niece for her school chorus fundraiser. So the youth and education play a rather significant part of the video’s overall dynamic.
“Shaun and I discussed many ideas before landing on this,” Jatkola admits. “I originally wanted to incorporate all my friends into this video because it’s the song on the album that was most collaborative when we recorded it. But as we started talking about it back in 2021, it was still really hard to pull something off like that because of COVID restrictions. It ended up becoming really simplified, centered around just me and balloons, which actually seems even more fitting for the song.”
He continues: “From a conceptual standpoint, the balloons signify that wondrous something just floating in the air. Balloons are these round, weird, colorful things floating in the sky. They’re kind of magical. That’s why kids are drawn to them. Relating to the song, the balloon is a simple distillation of a potentially complex concept – explain the physics of a floating balloon to a child and you will surely kill their dreams, or at least bore the hell out of them. In a way, the song is tackling an equally difficult concept – existentialism – in the digestible form of pop music.”
When JATK poses an existential question, he knows he’s got a friend, a collaborator, a partner, a family member, and even a whole classroom, right alongside to help him find the answer.
Music Video Credits
Directed & edited by Shaun Clarke and Matt Jatkola
Studio 35mm film, Graduate Advanced Cinematography, Emerson College (April 2022): Brianna Cox, Richa Iyer, Asma Khoshmehr, Isabel Miranda, and Roxanne Wan
Field and car digital (July 2022): Amelia Geddes, Matt Jatkola and Aneleise Ruggles
THEY’RE VINYL-LY HERE
The vinyl copies of Shut Up and Be the Light have arrived! On beautiful baby blue, these look and sound fantastic. If you’d like to order a copy and haven’t already, you can do so on Bandcamp. Thank you for your patience and support. Turn it up!!!
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