Thao & The Get Down Stay Down Premiere Video for 'Pure Cinema'
Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, the Oakland-based band fronted by singer and songwriter Thao Nguyen, debut the new video for "Pure Cinema" from their upcoming album Temple (due this coming Friday, May 15 on Ribbon Music) today. Directed by Justin Mitchell (Death Cab For Cutie, The Postal Service, Phoebe Bridgers, Jenny Lewis), the video finds frontwoman Thao Nguyen and her bandmates performing in their respective homes during California's Stay At Home order.
Watch the video below!
Of the new video, Thao notes, "'Pure Cinema' is such full band song, and it has so much to do with our years of touring as a roving family constellation, that I really wanted this video to highlight and celebrate The Get Down Stay Down. However much of a fraction I have been out there over the years, our band and crew kept me as safe and sane as was possible. They have been my stabilizing force for so long. As it goes with family I don't know if I've ever truly thanked them or told them. It was so sweet and also quite bittersweet to see everyone at home, projected into our home. I don't know when we can play shows together again, I don't know what touring will look like. I miss the band."
Thao goes on to explain about the track, "'Pure Cinema' is about taking stock of how adrift I've been, in every sense of the word. It's very easy to feel lost and alone even as you are surrounded by people. I've had a very compromised relationship to touring over the years. if you're not right with yourself it is only going to be exaggerated as you cast yourself out into the world. I've floated above my life for a long time; I've landed now. It makes me so happy to see my bandmates settled and happy in their own homes and lives, as I am in mine. 'Pure Cinema' is a cautionary tale and also an encouragement to keep faith and keep building home and family."
The video comes on the heels of the band's critically acclaimed video for the track "Phenom," which has been hailed by The Washington Post as "the first great Zoom music video" while Fast Company adds that it is "a fantastic video all on its own, but it's even better as a harbinger of what's to come. Thao & The Get Down Stay Down have thrown down the gauntlet to all comers." The video was also recently honored with a "Sunny Award" on CBS "Sunday Morning."
The band will also be celebrating Temple with a Zoom listening party on May 14, the eve of the album's release, at 7 p.m. ET. Hosted by Thao alongside Hrishikesh Hirway of the Song Exploder podcast and bandmate/co-producer Adam Thompson, the event will be followed by a discussion/Q&A and is open to those who have pre-ordered Temple from any independent retailer. For additional information, and where to send proof of purchase, visit https://ribbonmusic.com/thao-listening-party/.
The band's fifth studio album, Temple is currently available to pre-order on CD, limited pressing transparent salmon vinyl with a 24x12 folded poster, and digital download at http://smarturl.it/TempleAlbum. A limited edition Temple Food Dessert Kit is also available for pre-order with the album at https://thao.merchtable.com. The kit consists of chè, a tri-colored rice pudding with toasted coconut and cashews, prepared by acclaimed chef Diep Tran, the founder of the Banh Chung Collective and former chef and owner of Good Girl Dinette in the Highland Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. Proceeds from Temple Food Kit sales will go to Alma Backyard Farms, a non-profit creating dynamic opportunities in urban farming. It exists to re-claim lives of formerly incarcerated people, re-purpose urban land into productive urban farm plots and reimagine disenfranchised communities in Los Angeles as a hub for transformation.
The album is among Thao's most open and honest work yet, finding her coming out in her public life after a long career in which she kept her queer identity quiet in an effort to avoid turmoil with and alienation from a family and culture she deeply loves. "But that s will kill you," Thao says.
"I have divided myself into so many selves. I am nervous, but hopeful that in belonging to myself, I can still belong to my family, and my Vietnamese community, especially the elders." She continues, "I believe that shame has made my work more general, when I've always wanted to be specific. This record is about me finally being specific. If you listen to my music, I want you to know who you are dealing with."
Thao almost opted not to make another record, feeling that rock music no longer was capable of saying what she needed to express. But it turns out making a record was necessary; it forced her hand to create a space wherein she could finally exist as her entire self. Temple is an album compelled by love and the urgent need to live one full, whole life. Thao and her girlfriend got married recently, and she says, "I have my partner and our home to ground me in this life, in my one life. And everything I do now, everywhere I go, every time I present myself to people, it is finally all of me."
Temple is the first Get Down Stay Down record to be self-produced. Thao teamed up with longtime bandmate Adam Thompson to produce the record; he also shares writing credits on five songs. Mikaelin "Blue" Bluespruce (Solange, Carly Rae Jepsen, Mariah Carey) mixed the record. "Blue mixes more in the hip-hop and pop world and that's what we wanted," says Thao. "More fidelity, more upfront beat and groove-heavy mixes that are filled out and immersive...high highs, low lows, lush tones."
Temple follows Thao & The Get Down Stay Down's 2016 album A Man Alive which was released to widespread critical praise. NPR Music called it a "brilliant, jarring new album...[Nguyen's] most rewarding work yet," while Pitchfork raved that it is "Nguyen's most rhythmically robust, gleefully discordant release to date" and Stereogum called it "explosive and melodically dense." Over the past year Thao served as guest host of the acclaimed podcast Song Exploder.