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Matt Kivel's "Velveteen" Video Is a Surreal Journey into 1960s Japan

Found footage illuminates the lush single from the LA singer-songwriter's new LP, 'Fires on the Plain.'
October 21, 2016, 6:24pm

​Singer-songwriter Matt Kivel doesn't know much about the origins of the footage from 1960s Japan that makes up his new video for "Velveteen," and that's kind of the point. Juxtaposing vintage color saturated videography, echoing vocals, and dissonant strings, it's a work of nostalgia greater than the sum of its parts. The historic visuals, which highlight the multihued psychedelic clothing and futuristic architecture of the time period, along with Kivel's hypnotizing guitar riffs, quickly absorb you into a surreal sense of time travel.


Drawing from folk hymns and electronic drum patterns, Kivel's musical inspirations are as widespread as his interests. Currently based in Los Angeles, he spends his days as a speechwriter for the space industry. When he's not doing that or making music, he boxes at Manny Pacquiao's gym. Somehow, he still finds time to daydream:

"When I wrote this song, I thought it had all the makings of a big hit," Kivel says of the track. "Like a song by Phoenix or something. So, I saved it for a while and then when it had fully matured, I released it on this album in the hopes that people who go to The Coffee Bean, Starbucks, and Barnes and Noble might have a chance to listen to one of my songs. I fear at this point that that humble dream of mine may never be realized, because this album currently isn't being sold in CD form at any of the aforementioned retailers, but I'm still holding out hope that someone will one day order a latte and just as he/she is pulling out a shiny $10 bill, the glimmering cellophane encasing Fires on the Plain will catch his/her eye and he/she will purchase the album and listen to "Velveteen." As Steven Tyler once said "dream on," right?"

Watch the premiere of his video for "Velveteen" below, and check out his tops new album, Fires on the Plain, out now via Driftless Recordings.