The coronavirus pandemic has impacted daily life all over the country, but Oakland, Calif. artist Thao Nguyen and her band, Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, took the hardship as a challenge.
The group set to film a music video for their new single, “Phenom,” in Los Angeles (where Nguyen currently resides) in late March, but plans for the shoot were cancelled as fears over the spread of coronavirus forced a statewide statewide shelter-in-place order for California on Mar. 20.
Nguyen’s manager made the suggestion that they shoot an alternative using the popular video conferencing platform Zoom. By Wednesday, March 25, Thao had digitally convened with her team for what would serve as the video’s only pre-production meeting.
Directed by Erin Murray (Ed Sheeran, Charli XCX) and Jeremy Schaulin-Rioux (PUP, Calpurnia) and produced by Victoria Fayad (Moby), the video features Nguyen performing “Phenom” from home while a rotating supporting cast performs choreographed routines in individual Zoom windows.
Pieced together on March 29 over the course of nine hours, the video was cut and released to the public within 48 hours. Its brilliantly creative use of technology and choreography saw views for the video quadruple in the last couple days.
The track, which Nguyen says takes influence from the post-apocalyptic utopias of writers like Octavia Butler and Ursula Le Guin, is, in her words, a “direct descendant” of her A Man Alive track “Meticulous Bird.” “Phenom” is available to stream now and will appear on the band’s fifth studio album, Temple, due May 15 from Ribbon Music.
Watch the video below: