This isn’t your typical “music video.” The visuals feature the music of Mega Powers, a Detroit-based ambient electronica duo comprised of producers/DJs/hip-hop artists, Eddie Logix and Pig Pen. Their new song “Virtual Boy” (featuring Jade Lathan on vocals) complement a larger visual project titled “Flamingo”, which was filmed and edited by Andrew Miller and features the colorful creations of artist Michelle Tanguay.
Using warm, glowing, polychromatic light splashed across vibrant turquoise and pink images of flamingos, Miller and Tanguay effectively conjure a visual representation of the signature vibe/aesthetic that Mega Powers invoke with their productions. The fluid synths, woozy bass, and traipsing beats paired with Lathan’s trance-y vocals are the perfect soundtrack for the short film; “Virtual Boy” is a stand-out single from the Mega Powers’ Green tape, but this four-minute video is actually one half of Miller and Tanguay’s short film project, “Flamingo.”
Miller has been making films for years, including several music videos with local artists like the Drinkard Sisters, Bevlove, and many more. But “Flamingo” represents what was truly, says Miller, a creative epiphany. He describes the project, saying “In short it has to do with loss, discovery, friendship and actual birth.”
In December, 2017, Miller went down to visit friends in South Beach, seeking catharsis after suffering the tragic loss of both of his brothers, Brian and Ian Miller, within a devastatingly short time period. “My life had changed drastically; I needed some inspiration.”
In South Beach, Miller stayed with friends Michael Chetcuti and Kyle Evans (who’s home can be seen in the film). He says, “When I got there, I saw Michelle painting a mural for them.” Miller wasn’t expecting to encounter Tanguay, an old friend and contemporary artist who also resides in Detroit, but the pair’s fateful couple of weeks spent in South Beach wound up being “the most creative, productive, and inspirational” time of his life.
Tanguay, a painter and muralist, said that she was pleasantly surprised to encounter her old friend, Miller, down in South Beach. She had been invited to adorn a courtyard wall in Evans and Chetcuti’s new home, which she describes as “an Art Deco dream oasis! Absolutely ridiculous! It was heaven.” As she started to work on the mural, she and Miller shared a lot of inspirational conversations; she encouraged him to just start filming every day, everything and anything.
One evening during their stay at this tropical locale, Tanguay asked the homeowners if she and Miller could take a beautiful, brand new white sheet she’d found “…into the pool with me…to ‘make a weird art video.’ And they told us to go for it! (Miller) had all these fun ideas of things to shoot, so we just went nuts. It was such a wonderful time, and I’m so thankful that (this short film) now exists.”
Tanguay set up a projector to display footage of flamingos, a creative aid she would regularly use for herself when designing her colorful murals, which you can see seen in this video. “We were just making something to make something,” recalls Miller of the initial filming, “but it became something magical.”
The plan was to show the film and celebrate the mural a year later. By the time December, 2018 rolled around, however, Tanguay was pregnant and unable to travel, and Miller had yet to finish what would ultimately become their eight-minute film. Nevertheless, he got to work and finished cutting together the short film in a 12-hour period, staying up all night, poolside at his friends’ home, finishing it all up by the morning. A couple of days later, Tanguay had her baby.
The whole experience, says Miller “reinstated to me that anything is possible. And that we’re at our best when we’re creating something new. That’s going to stay with me in the long run. That I need to keep going. I need to keep making things; that makes me feel better.”
Miller said that his only parameter for the music that would accompany the visuals of his and Tanguay’s creation was that it fit the vibe. The first half of “Flamingo,” features the song “Slow Down” by L.A.-based Poolside (view the full film here). Miller has known Logix and Pig Pen for a while, and he spun through their new album to see which song could best fit this second portion of his film, deciding that “Virtual Boy” was the most evocative.
You can see Mega Powers on Sunday (Feb 24) at PJs Lager House, where they’ll be joined by Jaws That Bite, Rich Jones, DJ Legitimategroove and the mysterious emcee known only as FRED. More info here.