FEATURE: Alison Wonderland – Peace (Dir. CUE THE BIRD)

We creep along the dank wet floor of a dark space, illuminated only by dancing beams of light, where we find a huddled and harnessed Alison Wonderland. In “Peace”, Wonderland sings of the emotional strain of loss, the way an occurrence can completely disturb your self-worth and happiness. As Wonderland leads into the chorus with the line “Someday I’ll find peace” suddenly she is in a completely different space. Bathed in blissful white light and flowing cloth, this is Wonderland in that illusive peaceful place.

Directors JP Stiles and Harrison Macks, who make up the visual creative powerhouse that is CUE THE BIRD, tell of how the video came together through collaboration: “The original concept of the two worlds, light and dark, came from creative director Gabe Fraboni. He knew this song existed as a representation of both the strain of being trapped in emotional turmoil and the release one finds in coming out of that.”

“Once he called us up and we brainstormed on building out this concept, we came up with the light installation together and decided to have her tethered to represent the feeling of being imprisoned in one’s own mind. The white space with the flowing chiffon fabric represents the endless bliss we all strive for but only receive in small doses. And even in those moments of bliss we sometimes still are plagued with darkness. It’s about the balance of the two worlds.”

Alison Wonderland – ‘Peace’ (BTS photo by CUE THE BIRD)

This balance is represented as a clear separation of the two worlds for a great deal of this video. The two conflicting versions of Alison Wonderland exist separately in these very different spaces, however, as the video nears its climax, the worlds start to bleed together. The dark Wonderland holds a beam of pure light in her hand, seeing the possibilities of getting through the worst times and returning to the light. Meanwhile, the light Wonderland finds herself being gripped by the dark dirty hands of creeping doubt.

When asked about this, Stiles and Macks reply: “Even during happier, more peaceful times, our demons can still reach out and grab us. Happiness is not a state we can achieve, but something we can obtain in moments. At the same time, during our deepest lows and periods of pain, there is always a glow of positivity and hope for peace that everyone can find deep within. It’s important for us all to respect that as we struggle through the good and bad in life. The breakthrough of the dark into the light represents that here.”

While the more rhythmic chorus sections of the song are edited with very dynamic to-the-beat cuts, the more withdrawn verses are populated by these long shots of Wonderland’s performance. This really highlights the personal nature of this song to Alison Wonderland and engages the viewer with her plight. This was a very intentional approach for CUE THE BIRD in editing, as they describe it: “At its core, this is a performance piece, and Alex put her heart and soul into this song and it was important to let the viewer sit with her as she lets the emotions consume her.”

Alison Wonderland – ‘Peace’ (BTS photo by CUE THE BIRD)

The scenes involving Alison Wonderland in the dark place, are punctuated by an absolutely stunning lighting display which brings an incredible gravity and dynamic to these shots. When asked about how this part of the video came together, Stiles and Macks reply: “This whole process came together insanely fast, we came up with the final light design just one day before the shoot. The light installation was conceptualized by us and Gabe Fraboni and then built out by Gabe’s Team at PHNTM Labs with producer Jake Kasheta leading the charge.”

They continue: “Once the light installation was set up we brought in Davey (Martinez, Light Director) the day of the shoot to program the installation. He programmed the lights as we were shooting in the white space. Then we moved to the dark space and went at it. Not only did Davey program a whole light show to the song but we were also able to freestyle with the lights during different sections, which is what really brought the intensity and allowed us to push Alex (aka Alison Wonderland) for a performance when she was under the strobing lights.”

Intensity is the perfect word to describe this video as it is absolutely packed with it. Being able to bring light to the incredibly personal nature of this song, while still delivering a bold and energetic experience is truly impressive. By taking cues from the potent and ever-intensifying energy of the song’s production and feeding that into the dynamic of the editing and lighting, CUE THE BIRD and all of the extensive cast involved have been able to construct a thoroughly entertaining music video experience.

Here is the official video for “Peace”

Music Video Credits

Director: CUE THE BIRD. Creative Director: Gabe Fraboni. Director of Photography: Gus Bendinelli. Production Company: PHNTM Labs & CUE THE BIRD. Producer: Jake Kasheta, Harrison Macks, and JP Stiles. Production Manager: Rachel Cohen. AC: Q Rodriguez. Gaffer: Chase DuBose. Steadicam Op: Brian Sergott. Jib Op: Victor Pancerev. Production Designer: Brooke Ashe. Set Design Asst: Leone Anne Reeves. Stylist: Monica Rojas. Light Director: Davey Martinez. HMU: Lindsay Garrison. DIT: Bryan Bangerter. Movement Coordinator: Aaron Czuprenski. PA: Nicole Franzen, Vico Olsen. Colorist: Arianna Shining Star. Editor: CUE THE BIRD.

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