Portland singer/songwriter Anya Marina has a new video for "Notice Me" from her album Felony Flats, and she answered some quick questions about the making of the video for us. Starring Meredith Adelaide and Noel Taylor, "Notice Me" was directed by Spencer Gentz and was shot here in town, at both the Mt. Scott Community Center and at the Oaks Park roller rink.( Justin Koleszar also appears as—in the director's words—the "d-bag boyfriend"; Koleszar's a director in his own right, responsible for last year's excellent One Foot in the Gutter. And Taylor's a director, too—he did, among other things, the Duover video for "Under Mistletoe.)
Since the release of Felony Flats last month, Marina has been busy putting together a variety show, which will happen at the Doug Fir on Thursday, May 3; it's called PDXOXO and it's something she's been planning awhile, with music, comedy, and other stuff. The hope is for the variety show to become an ongoing series, possibly even a podcast at some point further down the road. Marina used to work as a DJ in San Diego before doing music full-time, and in her words: "No longer doing my daily gig as a DJ on the radio—I started to miss hosting or emceeing a show, talking to people, interviewing, and generally being able to engage more with the audience."
The inaugural PDXOXO will feature music from Michael Lerner of Telekinesis (doing a solo set) and Marina (naturally). Comedian Emmett Montgomery and "Notice Me" director Spencer Gentz will also be guests.
Q&A with Anya about the "Notice Me" video after the jump!
MERCURY: Where'd the idea for the roller skating theme come from?
ANYA MARINA: The director, Spencer Gentz, came up with that treatment. Everyone loved it right away.
You don't skate in the video! Outrage. Are you much of a roller skater? If so, do you have a favorite skatin' jam?
I actually spent most of my childhood in a rink, but it was an ice, not roller, rink. I loved roller skating, too, but that was more of a recreational thing. I was a pretty competitive figure skater growing up, but after a skating accident set me back about a year, I stopped. I still miss it, so doing the video brought back a lot of those fond old feelings. Going down the stairs into the rink, the musty smell of lockers and rental skates, the video games, the old PA—all of those things are artifacts of my childhood. I can't tell you how many times I heard "Kiss On My List" by Hall & Oates. I'll never get sick of that song and I'll always be great at Ms. Pac-Man.
The song's lyrics catalog a big range of pop music, which I think works perfectly with the theme of young love and crushin'—a lot of times that's the only way teenagers can express love and other emotions, through records or mixtapes. Is this song meant to be sung from a teenager's perspective?
In my mind, it started as a snapshot of young love. Young enough to be "hijacking your brother's stereo," however old that is. I'm guessing high school. It works for any age, though. "I wonder if you notice me. Do you even notice me? Check your heart, check your head" could be the anthem for anyone—no matter what age—secretly and quietly falling in love with their best friend.
I wanted it to capture infatuation: "I watch your mouth, check out your mind... I'm so high I might be invisible." You're witnessing the awkward moment of the protagonist wondering to him or herself, "Do you even see me that way? Do you... like me like me?" Even though it sounds juvenile, it's a timeless emotion. I know infatuation doesn't end in high school. It happens for people in their 20s, 30s, middle age. I'm sure it's a timeless phenomenon.
Do you ever write and record songs with visuals or video ideas in mind? Or does that come way, way later?
I do. Usually it involves running through a forest or driving away from something at night or driving toward something at night. There have to be lights passing across my face so as to indicate actual motion in a car—none of this fake, green-screen stuff. There should be beautiful streetlight-colored lights passing across my face like in Drive (scored by genius Cliff Martinez). In these cinematic song-fantasies I'm always either running or driving, and often crying while I sing. So, yeah, just like real life.
Have you actually ever been so high that you became invisible? I had the opposite happen once; I ate three-quarters of a pan of pot brownies during freshman year and went temporarily blind. Uh, don't answer this.
My friends in San Diego used to make these atomic-strength, super THC gingerbread man pot cookies and they'd always say, "Just eat the head. Do NOT eat more than the head." Who can eat only the head of a gingerbread man cookie? I'm sorry, but that was the day I became invisible.
Anya Marina's PDXOXO takes place at the Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside, on Thursday May 3, 9 pm, $10-12, tickets here