You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Songs for Screens: Nike Stars Foreign Air Premiere ‘Chakra Daemon’ Music Video (EXCLUSIVE)

Songs For Screens is a Variety column written by Andrew Hampp, a VP at New York-based music sponsorship and experiential agency MAC Presents and former branding correspondent for Billboard. Each week, the column will highlight noteworthy use of music in advertising and marketing campaigns, as well as new and catalog songs that we deem ripe for synch use.

The first time musicians Jesse Clasen and Jacob Michael wrote a song together as the electro-infused indie-pop duo Foreign Air, 2016’s “Free Animal,” it ended up getting licensed by Nike for a national campaign. The exposure helped generate more than 8 million streams for the track on Spotify, and validated the band’s choice to go the fully independent route.

Armed with only boutique licensing agency Ghost Town as its representation, with no label, publishing or A-list manager on its payroll, Clasen and Michael could suddenly afford a sustainable career on the strength of one high-profile synch — which quickly spawned other placements for other TV and film work, such as trailers for E!’s “The Arrangement” and REI’s ski film “Rogue Elements” and episodes of MTV’s “Scream” and Showtime’s “Shameless.”

“We both came from different projects where we were sleeping on friends’ couches and floors, so it was kind of nice to be able to graduate from that a little bit,” Michael recalls.

The synch funding also enabled the band to play the long game when it came to crafting its first music video, holding out for the right collaborators that could best portray Clasen and Michael’s shared affinity for maverick filmmakers like Harmony Korine, David Lynch and Andrei Tarkovsky.

The result of that creative search is the music video for Foreign Air’s latest single “Chakra Daemon,” which Songs For Screens is premiering exclusively below.

The video was directed by Sabrina Reiter of Vienna, Austria-based collective Almost Famous, and follows a drag queen struggling with identity into a euphoric connection in the nightlife of Vienna.

“The song’s about coming out of your shell, when you’re living in your head for so long but never externalizing, you don’t find your true self,” Clasen explains. “Lots of people struggle with that, especially in certain communities like the LGBTQ community, so we came up with the idea of a main character having to fight to externalize what they were feeling inside.”

Though Foreign Air are heading out on the road in May with Bishop Briggs and will continue releasing new singles throughout the year, an official debut album may still be a ways off. “A lot of people say, ‘Don’t waste your time throwing a bunch of singles out into the world when people can’t pay attention to the songs individually,’” says Clasen. “But in my heart, I know I love a full piece of work and how songs relate to each other, and seeing how songs play live. We’re starting to navigate how to do that.”

In the meantime, Michael hopes “Chakra Daemon” catches the attention of a few of Foreign Air’s favorite indie filmmakers in the same way that the band’s music has already inspired their most cineaste of fans.

‘“Chakra Daemon’ is our first music video, which was a surprise to a lot of people,” says Michael.” “I think my dad sent me a message saying ‘I like your video.’ I was like, ‘What? We don’t have a video.’ Someone had put footage from that ‘80s movie ‘They Live’ where they see politicians as lizard people with our song ‘In The Shadows’ on YouTube. So it’s a big step for us, to show our fans what we’re ready to put out there.”

More Music

  • Tencent Music Raises $1.1 Billion for

    Tencent Music Raises $1.1 Billion for IPO

    China-based music streaming company Tencent Music Entertainment Group said it raised nearly $1.1 billion in its U.S. initial public offering, according to Reuters. Earlier this year, the company was expected to be valued at as much as $30 billion and raise $4 billion for its IPO, but those estimates were slashed in September. he IPO [...]

  • Katie Vinten and Justin Tranter Variety

    Justin Tranter and Katie Vinten Partner With Warner Bros. for New Label

    As previously reported, hit songwriter Justin Tranter and Warner/Chappell Publishing’s Katie Vinten are launching a new label in partnership with Warner Bros. Records, the company announced officially today. In her new role, Vinten, most recently the company’s co-head of A&R, will also serve as an A&R Consultant to Warner Bros. Records and will continue with [...]

  • Ella Mai

    Ella Mai Signs Worldwide Deal With Sony/ATV Music Publishing

    Singer Ella Mai, who is enjoying a worldwide smash with her song “Boo’d Up” and was nominated for two Grammy Awards last week, has signed a worldwide deal with Sony/ATV Music Publishing. The song peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and has been streamed more than 650 million times in the U.S. [...]

  • Phylicia Fant Shawn Holiday

    Shawn Holiday, Phylicia Fant Named Columbia Records' Co-Heads of Urban (EXCLUSIVE)

    Columbia Records has named Shawn Holiday and Phylicia Fant Co-heads of Urban Music, it was announced today by the label’s chairman and CEO, Ron Perry. The two will each hold the title of Co-head of Urban Music. Previously, Holiday was Senior Vice President of Urban A&R for Columbia, while Fant joins Columbia from Warner Bros. Records, [...]

  • BTS puma collaboration basket sneakers shop

    BTS Escape Injury After Tour Bus Accident in Taiwan

    Korean boyband BTS have escaped injury after a collision that involved three of their tour buses, according to news reports. The superstar pop band were on board the buses after having performed a gig at the Taoyuan Baseball Stadium in Taiwan. At least seven vehicles were involved, according to local reports, but no one was [...]

  • Bruce Springsteen on Broadway

    Film Review: 'Springsteen on Broadway'

    Hope you like the 69-year-old version of Bruce Springsteen’s face, because it’s virtually all you’re going to see for the two hours and 40 minutes of the filmed “Springsteen on Broadway” — other than the bare brick wall of the theater casting a dim glow in the background beyond those gray sideburns, and two songs’ [...]

  • Clueless review

    Off Broadway Review: 'Clueless' the Musical

    How does a musical stage adaptation of Amy Heckerling’s 1995 film comedy of oblivious privileged teens, “Clueless,” play in the era of female empowerment and millennial engagement? True, the principal skills of lead teen Cher Horowitz are the superficial ones of mall shopping and makeovers. But her sweet spirit and independence, plus some added P.C. relevance, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content