“Deep in the wilderness of Vermont sits a house. Inside that house is a bedroom, and inside that bedroom works the mysterious Black Fly.”
Our mission at News-Decoder is not to peddle scoops, but today we offer one to our readers. It has a name: Black Fly.
“Deep in the wilderness of Vermont sits a house. Inside that house is a bedroom, and inside that bedroom works the mysterious Black Fly,” is how Consequence of Sound put it in a review of the enigmatic musician’s new single, “Sign 2.”
So, ok, Black Fly is not a total secret. The “Sign 2” video has been up on YouTube for a week and already has more than 36,000 views.
Still, Black Fly is not yet a global meme — and only a few of us know the artist’s real name.
Full disclosure: I grew up with Black Fly’s father, who tipped me off to “Sign 2.” But my appreciation of the single and the music video stems from more than childhood loyalty. In fact, you don’t need me to tell you Black Fly is refreshingly different.
The Fader called Black Fly’s latest single a “moody yet insanely joyful dance track” that “will have you bouncing from moment one.”
Earmilk is “really into the goth-synth offerings that are emerging from [Black Fly’s] backwoods bedroom in Vermont” and says “Sign 2” offers “pulsing energy at 110% to the end.”
Should you feel anxious or charmed?
But why would News-Decoder, which focuses on geopolitics, diplomacy and public policy, feature this budding musician?
Three explanations, really:
1. Black Fly is international: The “Sign 2” video is shot in Vermont, New Orleans and Scotland.
2. “Sign 2” represents original, authentic expression by a young adult — the kind of multimedia expression that cuts across borders and which we want to foster.
3. “Sign 2” is ambiguous, both exhilarating and haunting, as Consequences of Sound put it. And News-Decoder appreciates ambiguities that complicate politics and international relations. (The black fly insect, of course, is considered a nuisance, in some cases a danger to humans. Anyone who has been in the woods of North America in June immediately has mixed feelings towards this musician.)
Part of our mission is to help young people recognize that not everything is black and white, that we need to try to comprehend shades of grey. “Sign 2” offers “a dichotomy that has you questioning whether to feel anxious or charmed,” according to Consequences of Sound.
“I wanted my video to be a bit different.”
So I contacted Black Fly and asked him what he was up to in his video. Here is what he said:
“I knew from the start that I wanted my video to be a bit different from a lot of music videos one sees. Usually the characters in them can be be somewhat hard to relate to. They portray an objective ‘coolness’ that I don’t necessarily see in myself.
“The general plan was to do something that was fun, not too serious, but still had good cinematography and strong composition. Why not make a dance video where the main character can’t actually dance perfectly, and set it against beautiful and striking backgrounds?”
For young people keen to do things in the blink of an eye, beware: It took Black Fly five months to complete the video. And it was no easy task lugging the equipment to remote spots.
Why did he chose Vermont, New Orleans and Scotland?
“I knew I wanted the video to take place mostly outside in nature but didn’t want the whole video to be shot in Vermont. Mostly I chose them because I thought they were striking. I’m drawn to the harsh windswept mountains in Scotland and the snowy woods and back roads of Vermont, and I thought the urban environment in New Orleans could be a cool counterbalance to the two others.”
“Nothing to hide behind, just goofy me in full display.”
What are his artistic influences?
“I’m influenced a lot by Bob Dylan, Bon Iver, Radiohead. The dancing of Samuel T. Herring, the lead singer of Future Islands, was also a big inspiration. Not classically good, but captivating nonetheless.”
Why the balaclava? And why dance alone?
“I wanted to have fun with the absurdity of my video and music videos in general. Balaclavas have become popular in fashion and music through people like Odd Future, Kanye West and Harmony Korine movies. It’s just kind of a ‘cool, mysterious,’ modern trope.
“So the fact that I only wore mine half the time didn’t make that much sense, I wasn’t trying to stay mysterious. I danced alone simply because I knew I was the only person that could be at every shoot. Convenience. But it had a good effect, there was nothing to hide behind, just goofy me in full display.”
What equipment did you use?
“I filmed the video using the Blackmagic Design Production Camera, which shoots in 4K resolution. For the moving shots it was rigged to the DJI Ronin Gimbal, which helps stabilize image even over rough terrain.”
“The video is a creative commercial for my music, really. Luckily I like making films, so I’ll do more videos. I don’t know what’s next exactly. More music, hopefully gaining a bigger fan base. Eventually put out an album.”
Want to know Black Fly’s real name? Drop me a line …