Est. 1941

D-WHY • Young Madonna (Official Video)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Date: 08-17-13
Shot by: Rex Arrow
Editing & Creative Direction by: Luis Valdizon
Produced by: Matt Morris, David Morris & Orestes Navarro
Female Lead: Maria Papathanasiou

In 2011, I had an ambitious idea to take the guerilla-style music video to new territories. Shooting videos on no budget is obviously limiting, so variation in landscape is key to making enticing, unique visuals. Upon brainstorming upcoming songs and potential videos, we decided that knocking out four in one week would be ideal. We joked about making a trip overseas to shoot them, a move that we hadn't seen done yet by independent music artist at the time. But the joke turned to reality, and we soon had booked a nine-day trip to England, France and Italy. We intended to shoot the video for "Macchiato Music," as well as a mini-movie that would be comprised of three separate music videos for my songs "Crave You", "Limitless" and an unreleased track, "The Night is Young."

Just a few weeks after coming up with the idea, my brother Matt, my friend Maria (my co-star in the above video), OJ (my friend and collaborator who played a big role in making the trip happen), and Ian (a.k.a. Rex Arrow), were off to Europe, a continent that only OJ had visited prior. We shot an enormous amount of footage. Savings accounts were emptied, frequent flier miles were used up and nine days were spent adventuring throughout four countries. We slept on floors, got cursed at in foreign languages by hotel maids, spent the night in airports, dealt with border security and of course, got crazy looks while shooting all of the videos with no permits or licenses.

Upon returning to the states, Ian encountered some hard drive malfunctions. It took us nearly six months to recover, edit and release the video for "Macchiato Music." When the time came to start piecing together the other videos, the status of the tracks had changed and the hard drives were misplaced.

Nearly two years later, after moving on from the original concept and accepting that the Europe footage would probably never be released, the hard drive was found. Ian sent it to me. At first, I was discouraged due to the amount of time that had passed. But after watching it all with fresh eyes, and in the company of Luis (the mastermind behind The Cleanest Corner who edited what you see here today), we realized there was something special in the footage. We had captured a beautiful story of a time when we were genuinely mystified by the new places and experiences that were in front of us. Young people falling in love, exploring, being caught in the moment and enjoying life--this is a big part of what the 'Young, Loved, Hated & Broke' theme is about.

Around the time we received the footage, we had just finished mixing "Young Madonna" and it all kind of clicked. The song is dreamy, yet reminiscent. It's about desire, what could be and what could have been. We found these same themes in the footage and decided it would be cool to match the two up. Now that I watch this, it's almost as if I subconsciously wrote "Young Madonna" with our trip to Europe in mind. I hope you enjoy taking a look back at this special time just as much as I had living it. And I hope you enjoy the song, too. It was produced by Dave Cappa, who also produced "One Day," and it will be included on the 'Young, Loved, Hated & Broke' EP, out November 19!

D-WHY • One Day (Official Video)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Date: 08-17-13
Shot & Edited by: Jakob Owens
Creative Direction by: Luis Valdizon

I grew up writing graffiti. My friends and I would get together and write it everywhere during our adolescent years. Missions during the day, night and beyond were exhilirating and down-right awesome. Today, I channel my creativity and artistic expression into music, but my appreciaiton for visual art still runs deep. Thinking back on my days as a graf artist, I sometimes ask myself, "why did we do it?" Well, for one, we wanted recognition. We wanted to be EVERYWHERE so EVERYONE could see our work.

On the contrary of the graffiti mentality are two incredible artists who have taken to the desert sand of California to create and display their incredible pieces/exhibits. To think that an artist would make something so inspiring that people would want to travel from all over to see it is just next-level. Instead of the in-your-face, you-can't-avoid-me approach that I took as a youngster, Leonard Knight and Noah Purifoy have applied the "if you build it, they will come" mantra and watched it flourish. They created Salvation Mountain and the Desert Outdoor Museum in places where you must seek them out to appreciate them. Both are permanent installations that were built by hand and created piece-by-piece over time to yield truly stunning results.

When plotting out the video for "One Day", we wanted to embody the dreamer, yet common-man mentality showcased in the song. When I came across Knight and Purifoy's masterpieces, I felt a connection. Folk trap meets folk art. There's a certain desire for recognition--no matter how humble--behind any artist who's putting their time, hard work and dedication into something; but no matter how much recognition is possible, integrity must always be maintained. There's a certain feeling I think all artists have that makes us believe, "what I'm doing is great, it just needs to be executed the way I envision it and given to the people in the biggest, yet most authentic way possible." That's how I feel about the music, anyway, and that's how I like to think Knight and Purifoy felt when they set out on their missions to create Salvation Mountain and the Desert Outdoor Museum.

If you ever take a roadtrip through Southern California, be sure to check out these legendary art fixtures. Check out more info about Salvation Mountain here and Desert Outdoor Museum here.

Niland, CA • Salvation Mountain

Date: 08-16-13
Location: 63030 Blair Lane
Photography by: Luis Valdizon
Words by: David Morris

Salvation Mountain is a folk art installation located near Slab City in Niland, CA. It is made from adobe, straw and thousands of gallons of paint. It was created by local resident Leonard Knight and encompasses numerous murals and areas painted with Christian sayings and bible verses. Since its inception in 1986 Knight and other volunteers have continued to expand and maintain the site and its artwork.

Joshua Tree, CA • Outdoor Desert Art Museum

Date: 08-16-13
Location: 63030 Blair Lane
Photography by: Luis Valdizon
Words by: David Morris

Set in Joshua Tree, CA, Noah Purifoy's 'Outdoor Desert Art Museum' is 7.5 acres of open land displaying Purifoy's assemblage sculptures, all created on-site between 1989 and 2004. Inspired by the harsh landscape of the Mojave Desert, the museum features a variety of "environmental" sculptures and installations, welcoming harsh winds and fluctuating temperatures. The art pieces are not formally maintained, but the wear, tear and aging process is all part of their beauty and appeal.

Silver Lake, CA • Forage

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Date: 07-04-13
Location: 3823 W Sunset Blvd.
Photography by: Luis Valdizon & Katrin Weber (*)
Words by: Luis Valdizon & M. L. Morris

I, along with everyone who has ever spent time in Los Angeles, could go on and on about how agonizing the traffic is and how discouraging it is to attempt to venture anywhere more than a few miles away. Often, spending a few hours somewhere can seemingly take all day. That's exactly what happened on a recent sunny Saturday. With nothing but motivation to get out and explore a new area, we braved our way to Silver Lake to see what makes it one of the most trendy and talked-about neighborhoods in L.A. It was love at first visit.

It was 3 p.m. and we hadn't eaten a single thing all day. Luckily, we stumbled across Forage, a highly-praised eatery treasured for its community-cultivating, no-compromise-on-quality approach to business. They strictly work with ingredients that are sourced from local farmers, friends and neighbors that all share the same passion for delivering all-natural, delicious food. This results in an extremely appetizing menu, much of which is laid out on display behind the counter. On our first visit, Matt sampled the Grass Fed Beef Burger and Potatoes with Rajas and Crema Mexicana side, Katrin had the Avocado sandwich and I had the Short Rib Bowl. "The owners are Korean, the Short Rib Bowl is our specialty," responded the gentleman at service regarding my question about his preference between that and the Pork Shoulder. What a specialty it was. Everything about it was outstanding, especially the homemade cucumber kimchi, which was the perfect balance of tart, spicy and sweet. We left satisfied and ready to see more of what Silver Lake had to offer.

San Francisco • Tartine Bakery & Cafe

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Date: 07-04-13
Location: 600 Guerrero St.
Photography by: Luis Valdizon
Words by: Luis Valdizon & M. L. Morriss

Every now and again, I come across someone's life story I wish were my own to tell. The autobiography of Chad Robertson, half of the genius behind San Francisco's iconic Tartine Bakery & Cafe reads beautifully. At heart, it's a tale of the relentless pursuit of perfection within one's craft. His desire to create the ideal basic country bread would take him and wife Elisabeth Prueitt on a journey spanning over the country and world, culminating in a shop with baked goods in such high-demand you would think they held a long-term Jordan account if you saw the morning and weekend line-ups.

I remember specifically being in my home lusting over the life and work of Mr. Robertson: early mornings spent creating the extraordinary out of the most humble food item on the planet, setting out to the ocean to surf while the bread rose, coming back to finish the process and selling each of the 240 loaves made daily. The thought of fragrant mornings filled with the aromas of freshly-made bread and brisk morning sea air eloquently interweaving in and out of Mr. Robertson's daily regiment is nothing short of inspirational. I'm a longtime admirer of Mr. Robertson's and Ms. Prueitt's work, but until this July, I was only a fan of what I had heard, seen and read. I had never been to Tartine.

With a few days break in between shows on the Young, Loved, Hated & Broke summer tour and the next stops being Spokane, WA and Seattle, we decided to take our time driving up to the Northwest and to spend Independence Day in San Francisco. My only request while in the city was to make it to Tartine. It was the only thing on my mind from the beginning of the trip to "The City That Waits To Die" until Matt and I stepped inside the bakery. Thankfully, Independence Day traffic didn't stifle our journey there and the holiday line wasn't long. It was almost as if the leaven gods had heard and answered my heavyhearted prayers.

Not only had the gods split the sea of probable patrons before my arrival, but they chose Daft Punk's Random Access Memories as the sound scape of my first experience. The stars had aligned. We ordered an Almond-Lemon Poppy Seed Tea Cake and cappucinos, and sat down. The bakery's interior is a well-balanced blend of industrial / diner and is quite cozy. With the standard fare of hustle and bustle momentarily removed, Matt and I enjoyed our afternoon treat in a calm ambiance. Elizabeth's tea cake is undeniable. For me, it completely elevated my concept of what pound cake could be, and I've yet to find one better. It's crust was the perfect balance of crisp and buttery, and the inside was better than you could ever imagine such a simple baked good being. It alone was worth the years of patiently waiting. I'm a little bitter that I didn't get to try Chad's basic country bread, but I like to think that it was the work of my subconscious setting up the subsequent chapter of my love affair with Tartine.