Los Angeles based musicians Tori Schachne and Colton Toy – known collectively as Soft Streak – pay homage to legendary filmmaker Chantal Akerman in the music video for their latest single, Reasonable Lie.
The duo join us on Close-up Culture to talk more about putting the music video together, working with director Jocelyn Cooper, reality TV, and more.
Q: I was just speaking to Celia Rico Clavellino – the Spanish filmmaker behind ‘Journey To A Mother’s Room’ – about the influence of Chantal Akerman. What is your connection to her 1975 film ‘Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai Du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles’? Why did the film’s visuals feel a good fit for the ‘Reasonable Lie’ music video?
A: Wow – that looks great, we’ll have to check out her film! I had the idea for the music video and then watched and rewatched a bunch of films that I thought might inspire us or inform the video.
There are so many parallels in Jeanne Dielman that fit perfectly with the concept I had for this video and we wanted to pay homage to that in some of the kitchen and food preparation scenes. It’s amazing how slowly and effectively Akerman is able to build tension while we witness the monotony of Dielman’s everyday life up to the climax at the end of the movie. We hoped to capture some of that in the video.
Q: How did you find the process of making this music video?
A: We had a really great time making the music video. We always forget how much work and preparation goes into film shoots and also how long the shoot days are. It can take so long to set up the perfect shot with the perfect lighting, but we’re really happy with how it came out. We filmed everything in one day and I made all the food (except for the rotisserie chicken) the night before.
The funniest parts are probably all the footage we cut out of me spitting out food into a garbage bag after a couple takes – it got gross really fast. There’s also some good behind the scenes footage of us singing God Is A Woman on the set – we’re huge Ariana fans.
Q: What was it like collaborating with visual storytellers like director Jocelyn Cooper? Did you enjoy that creative crossover?
A: It was really wonderful to work with Jocelyn. I had this abstract idea, but I was pretty unsure about how to bring it to life in a real way. She brought a mood board to one of our first meetings and we were able to create a colour scheme from there, along with ideas on production design. She was really hands on in pre production. We did a lot of thrift store shopping to find props and paintings and pieces that could inform the viewer on the world the character lived in, and she was so helpful in guiding us through that.
She was also great at giving direction on set for how I should act or emote in certain scenes. We really love film and visual storytelling and we hope to make a lot more music videos.
Q: I heard that the concept of the song was partially inspired by the phenomenon of reality TV shows. We currently have the mind-blowingly popular ‘Love Island’ taking up most of the popular culture conversation over here in the UK. Can you tell us more about the lyrics and your views on the reality TV culture?
A: We’ve actually watched some episodes of Love Island…for research…and I think it’s way crazier than most American reality TV shows.
At some point last year around the time I wrote this song, I was thinking a lot about how insane the concept of finding love on a reality TV show is – and having the whole country watch you and ridicule you or root for you along the way. I definitely love watching a lot of reality TV but there are elements to it that I find pretty of concerning.
Q: I’m sure you asked this a lot, but can you share your origin story as a duo with us?
A: We met in college during our second year in a music class. We became close friends by sharing music with each other – we had pretty diverse music tastes but were able to introduce each other to a lot of new artists.
A couple years later, we figured we’d try making music together – we talked about it all the time but always played and made music with other people instead. We’re happy with how it turned out!
Q: What your creative dynamic is like?
A: It really depends on the song/mood for how we start something. We’re always creating and trying to be inspired by films, books, other music, food, and our everyday lives. We have a very collaborative relationship and are very open with each other in terms of giving feedback and notes.
Q: What are your hopes for this EP and the future?
A: Right now, we’re working on what we think might be an album, and playing some shows in LA. We have a show coming up at the Moroccan on July 3. We’d love to tour and make a lot more music videos!