Local bands Aka Belle, Mantooth and singer/songwriter Ryan Bayne are, musically speaking, fairly different, but they have something in common: a love for the Boise underground music scene. Soon they'll have something else in common—a video release party slated for Saturday, Nov. 9, at Neurolux. Directed by Bayne, Aka Belle's video "Wonders of the World" and Mantooth's "Going Wrong" will get their premieres, and all three acts will play sets. Bayne, Catherine Merrick of Aka Belle and John Edsall of Mantooth met at the Record Exchange to discuss the upcoming premier.
"When Ryan told me the videos were going to be done around the same time, it just seemed like the obvious thing to do, to reinforce the collaboration between us all," said Merrick. "And, it brings all three of our varied musical audiences together, plus the Boise indie film community—it just seemed like a no brainer."
All three stay busy in the local music scene, have released multiple records and played at Treefort. Aka Belle has been a staple of the Boise music scene since 2008, recording and performing a delicate and haunting blend of Americana and rock and roll. Mantooth has been around since 2014, and its mix of garage, punk and indie, coupled with the lead singer's outlandish performance style, is a crowd-pleaser. Bayne released his first album in 2011, and his music can best be described as a mix of alternative, blues, country and rock.
"I started shooting videos because I was a musician and there's a niche in independent music in the film world where there is a lot of creative collaboration happening," Bayne said. "And that's what this is all about, the common theme to both videos is love."
Bayne started his company Apple Blossom Productions in 2018. As a musician, he saw a need in Boise for local, quality video production. Bayne, Merrick and Edsall have been acquainted for at least six years, and their two bands have worked with Bayne on previous music videos. Aka Belle's earlier video "War on Love" and Mantooth's "Cockroach Brain" were both produced by Bayne and released in 2018. Doing another project felt right for both bands.
"It's a way to celebrate and really work with talented musicians and express myself through these other creative people," said Edsall.
"Going Wrong" by Mantooth explores growth through personal reflection, and praised Bayne's adaptation of the song into "a very concise video."
"Its about how I've constantly made bad choices trying to find myself," Edsall said. "[It's] about coming out of bad decisions hopefully wiser than before."
- Ryan Bayne
- Ryan Bayne
"'Wonders of the World' started out initially being about things that are disappearing—through human disregard," said Merrick. "I was thinking about how tired and depressed so many of us were of fighting every day for basic rights and a sensible, science-based, truth-based, compassionate world." She said the song is "a motivational piece, to remind ourselves to keep fighting, to rise up, to protect our world from those who try to divide and oppress, and that the real 'wonders of the world' are human beings."
Bayne added that the song alludes to the divisive and fractious atmosphere, "but the important thing is the love and the connections that we have," he said. "We have to pay attention to that to get past the divisiveness so that we can create change."
Bayne has worked closely with the artists to establish their intent to create videos that convey the deeper meanings of the songs.
"These big themes are a lot of work," Bayne said. "And because of the low budget, the pre-production is pretty extensive."
But for Bayne, Aka Belle and Mantooth, all the hard work seems to have come together. The three acts look forward to playing a combined show and sharing their musical projects with the community they care about.