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Synesthesia Inspires Steady Sun's Video for "Irises"

Paper cutouts come to life in Sandy Honig and Matt Westrich's new music video for Steady Sun.

by Matthew Sedacca
Jul 14 2015, 8:00pm

Screencaps via

Brooklyn-based psychpop outfit Steady Sun is currently gearing up for the release of sophomore full-length, Flora. Between an eye replacing the moon and eyes exploding into the word "one," the video for "Irises" is the closest you'll get to a lyric video, allowing a kaleidoscopic array of lights and literal imagery to do the heavy lifting. 

The group recently premiered the video for the album's recent single, "Irises," via Noisey. The video was inspired by Steady Sun frontman Dylan Nowik's own experiences with his synesthesia—a mental condition where the product of one sense impression is connected to a different part of the body's respective sense impression. The song itself features luscious mellow guitar strums alongside Nowik's own love-drenched crooning, reminiscent of fellow psych-pop outfit, Unknown Mortal Orchestra.  

"I thought it would be kind of cool/funny/subversive to just take them [the lyrics] so literally that it might add some weirdness in itself," Nowik explains to The Creators Project. "I think the words themselves, when simply heard, just sort of put a feeling in your head—but to see them portrayed literally, I hoped, would add this new dimension of weirdness."

After seeing their work with fellow Brooklynites The Roofers Union for their video of "Smoke Machine," Nowik recruited co-directors Sandy Honig and Matt Westrich for the project. But rather than simply doing a rehash of Honig's previous cutout style, Westrich, who also served as the film's editor, explains to The Creators Project his ingenious editing idea, "that if we separate[d] the cutouts from the backgrounds into individual layers, it [would] allow for a wider range of variables to play with in post." The end result enabled an immense amount of depth and play, with a hi-fi clarity that would benefit even further if 3D glasses were added. The song and video's root concept of synthesia actually comes off as a clever way to bring the viewer as close as possible to experiencing the condition.

"Irises" veers along the lines of lyrics videos with its content's direct alignment with—if not physical manifestation of—the actual lyrics. "I know almost nothing about music videos, somehow I missed them as a cultural phenomenon," Honig tells The Creators Project. "Pretty much the only ones I've seen are those corny 90's one where they literally do exactly what the song says and mouth the words along with it."

"I've heard of your Beyoncés and your Sias," Honig continues, "but what gets me goin' is a literal interpretation."

"Irises” is the second single of Steady Sun's upcoming album, Flora, to be released later this summer. Check out more of Steady Sun's work here


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music videos
steady sun
sandy honig
Stop Motion Animation
paper cutouts
Matt Westrich