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  • Writer's pictureMatt Levin

The High Violets | Love is Blinding

Updated: Apr 5, 2020

The fascinating thing about doing video work, or any artistic endeavor really, is that it acts as a diary of sorts. It captures a place in time in your life, and brings back a lot of memories. I did this video for the brilliant, The High Violets, back in 2006. I had moved to DC from Portland, OR in 2001 to start a new life. This clip takes me back to time where I was still feeling a bit self-conscious and getting acclimated to my new surroundings. Having these young teenagers act in the video(I think they were each 14)reflects those feelings. I took comfort in making this video for my old friends from Portland. It was a blending of the familiar and the unfamiliar.

Looking back 14 years later, a few things jump out about it. While the video itself is sweet, it's a bit clumsy and green in terms of the filmmaking. Nothing could be further from the truth about the song. Love is Blinding is just a stunning, gorgeous tune, which shows The High Violets in their prime at the height of their powers with all of the confidence and swagger the best rock & roll bands have always exhibited. The combination of Kaitlyn Ni Donovan's beautiful, etheral voice, with Clint Sargent's otherworldly psychedelic guitar playing, was a killer one-two punch. The album it's taken from(To Where You Are, 2006) not only holds up, it gets better with age, like a fine wine. Simply put, The High Violets are the best shoegaze, psychedelic band, since the first wave of RIDE, Slowdive, and My Bloody Valentine came out in the late 80's early 90's. The HV's came along at a bit of an in between time, 1998. Shoegaze was a bit on the outs, replaced by grunge and harsher sounds, and wouldn't see it's revival and meteoric rise in popularity until the 2010's, with all of the aforementioned pioneers of the genre, reforming and putting out new records.

Of course there are some newer shoegaze bands, that are great(Chatham Rise, Moon Duo, and Flavor Crystals to name a few) but The High Violets are pioneers in their own right. They took the classic shoegaze sound, modernized it, and made it their own. Their music is exotic, yet soothing. Powerful and emotionally rich with a timeless quality. If you're unfamiliar with all of their back catalogue, it's well worth your time to investigate. The have a release as recently as 2016's Heroes and Halos.

I also wanted to mention the Romeo and Juliet connection in the video. We tossed around different ideas for the video until we finally settled on the Romeo & Juliet theme. 9 years later when were deciding what to name our daughter, the inspiration for Juliet had nothing to do with the video, but everything to do with my partner Natalie's, grandmother, Judy! But a nice coincidence in any rate.

Lastly, it's nice to seem some of the locations in DC that I still frequent. Malcolm X Park, true story, the cops were wondering what we were doing with a bow and arrow in the park! I said we were hunting and they let us go! No actually, they said we couldn't shoot it! Duh, really...So we improvised with that shot of the arrow flying through the air with someone holding it and walking with it to make it appear that it was flying!(My fav shot in the vid) and Idle Time Books(Now renamed, Lost City Books, but still going strong) 14 years later, I've definitely settled into DC quite a bit more, maybe too settled, but that's another conversation for another day...

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