“There’s lots and lots of very talented student bands going on,” Paul Nungesser, CC ’15, said of the Columbia music scene as we chatted about his upcoming collaboration with Jeffers Win, a student band also made up primarily of CC ’15-ers. “But what always kind of stood out with me,” he continued, “was not just the individual talent that’s present in the band, but that they’ve definitely got a vibe going.”
That vibe, which the band describes—albeit with a touch of cheek—as “experimental freakfolk,” has earned Jeffers Win a fair amount of attention. From an effusive write-up by Bwog in preparation for Lowlapalooza earlier this month to reviews in music blogs as far from our virtual campus gates as the Canadian site Yeti Music, the band has been steadily building their reputation online since they first started playing together last January. Though they recently lost their female vocalist to other pursuits, the band has forged ahead with bold plans for a new EP as well as the music video project.
Nungesser’s involvement with Jeffers Win has sparked a larger conversation about the lack of opportunities for aspiring amateur filmmakers on campus.
“The idea of the project,” Nungesser said, “is shooting this music video, but also getting film interest from people around and across campus…because, just in terms of…film, outside of CUFP (Columbia University Film Productions), there’s very little organized community for filmmakers.”
In that spirit of recruitment, the music video has evolved into a multi-affiliate endeavor: “The project itself [is] comprising quite a few student groups,” Nungesser said. “We have a very close cooperation with PostCrypt—there’s quite a big overlap just in terms of people that are involved with the project, but also they’re supporting us by providing us with their venue [for a screening]…WBAR is involved with supporting us and promoting us and ADP [Alpha Delta Phi], because most of it is going to be shot at ADP.”
Currently, Nungesser and Jeffers Win hope to have the music video, which will span the roughly 4 ½ minutes of the band’s new song, “I Can’t Call You (I’m in the Army),” shot by the end of October. And in keeping with the band’s alternative sensibilities, Nungesser plans to take a less-than-conventional take on the music video genre.
“So the very basic approach is not to do a conventional music video where you see the band performing their song and dancing happily along, but the idea is really to tell a story,” he said. “ The video follows this one woman… just kind of doing everyday things…But throughout…there’s all these flashbacks and all these memories, like for example…when she walks into this empty room, she remembers this dinner party that she had going on there with this guy that she was involved with before… It’s a very fragmentary approach to storytelling.”
It is Nungesser’s and Jeffers Win’s hope for the final product to be screened at an event hosted by PostCrypt in December. In the meantime, Nungesser is excited about the prospect of getting the movie itself underway, especially because the genre of music video keeps the project short and self-contained: “The song is 4 ½ minutes—you can shoot that in two days!” he said.
–Laura Booth, CC’15