They've done it again. Just ten days ago, the Arizona-based, rising-star trio Simply Three released their hit 'Demons' video. This morning on YouTube, a sparkling new creation, their cover of OneRepublic's 'Counting Stars,' posted, and it may well eclipse their previous work. Cellist Zack Clark and bassist Nick Villalobos visited in Phoenix earlier today about the cosmic occurrences in violinist Alex Weill's home town of New York City last week that helped birth the project.
This is music video storytelling at its simple best. The musicianship and innovation are consummately vibrant. The song is an ear-grabber. The video concept teems with fiery friendship and community.
"It was INSANELY cold when we got to New York. The high one day was NINE DEGREES!" laughed Villalobos about shooting the warm, friendly vibe that the video exudes. "Arizona blood isn't made for that kind of weather."
Yet, the song's unheard lyrics 'I feel the love...feel it burn...that makes me wanna fly' radiate from the tune on their classical instruments. The video opens with light and playful dancelike music in the New York streets. Weill's whimsical violin melody hands off to Villalobos' buoyant bass and then passes over to Clark's chillin' cello, while the others fill in with dainty, skipping plucks. The others, being more tracks of themselves.
"We wrote more parts for each of us-- accompanying pizz parts, extra harmony parts, more percussion parts-- with a goal of a competitive pop track in mind," said Clark. "We started to envision/hear the arrangement. We find that when we get inspiration, we need to follow it."
"Ed Boyer mixed the track (he also mixed 'Demons' for us) and did a phenomenal job. This time, we told him to mix it like he would mix a mainstream pop song, not a classical song. (He mixes the Pentatonix stuff, and he mixed tracks for the movie Pitch Perfect.)"
When Villalobos flashes an infectious subway smile toward the film's beginning, it ignites a sort of musical energy challenge. Even the inventive cinematography by Arizona's Mindmaze joins in. A splashy, rainbow-kaleidescoped grafitti wall scene the band is jamming in front of suddenly morphs into the real New York city skyline. Rhythmic video splicing that builds to lightning-speed cuts immerses us visually and auditorily in the smack-dab middle of crazy, busy New York. The camera follows the trio until they meet up on the Rockefeller roof to play the sun down.
What seems like split-second production was actually unbelievably time and labor intensive, a goal that's been years in the making. "This takes a ridiculous amount of hours and a great vision. That’s something that we are constantly trying to work on," shared Clark. " The song 'Counting Stars' was conceived, arranged, recorded, mixed, and mastered in just 9 days. Over the next 8 days we filmed and edited, for a total of 17 days from start to finish."
The explosive grafitti color in the video was shot near "where Alex lives on the Lower East Side," explained Villalobos. "She (Weill) loves it there and showed us the cool graffiti around the neighborhood."
"Oh. And some guy started yelling out his window at us while we were finishing up at the graffiti wall. He said to shut up or else he would call the police. Lucky for us we were just finishing up," chuckled Clark about the ironically stereotypical New York episode.
Villalobos' bass is a whole rhythm section unto itself in today's release. The music's intensity ramps up with gypsy-like flare and abandon building to unison in octaves that herald an explosive finish.
"Just for fun, we stuck our logo onto random places in the music video 3 times. One of them is indeed somewhere on the graffiti wall at some point," said Clark with a mischievous twinkle. " Let’s see if anybody can find all 3!"
Certainly, the brilliance of the new Simply Three video warrants multiple views. The trio themselves, however, needn't worry about neck cricks from upward gazes as they count. With their recent tens of thousands of views and those sure to come in the days ahead, the group is spiraling at eye level amongst the stars.