Combining Indie Rock and Fantasia
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Combining Indie Rock and Fantasia

Some Ryerson students are looking for new ways to merge music and visuals with their Violet Sound Sessions.

Julie Doiron plays at the Violet Sound Sessions. Photo courtesy of Liz Gareri Photography.

Violet Sound Sessions
3030 (3030 Dundas Street West)
Throughout December
Times and dates TBA. Contact the organizers to get on the guest list.

For fourth-year Ryerson radio-and-television student Acey Rowe, it was pretty much a given that her thesis project was going to be something music-related. Despite still being in school, Rowe has already done music supervision for films and commericals, worked both on-air and as a producer for Proud FM, and written about music for a number of local publications.

“My background has basically been any angle that you can come at music from, if you’re not the person actually performing it yourself,” she says.

Rowe and a group of her classmates banded together under the name Snow Day Studios to create the Violet Sound Sessions, a series of recorded concerts by established Canadian indie acts. The concert footage will then be edited together and combined with animation to create a series of videos that Rowe says will be “Fantasia meets Waking Life and an indie-rock concert.” It will be released in January.

She adds that the group’s goal is to combine the visual excitement of music videos with the energy of live performance.

“Music videos are really interesting and visually stimulating and entertaining, but they don’t really translate the magical integrity of being at a live show the same way that a session does,” Rowe says. “But live sessions, despite what even the biggest music lovers might say, are incredibly boring to watch. So what we wanted to do was make a live session that’s as visually stimulating and fun to watch as a music video.”

The first Violet Sound Session took place on Monday night at 3030, a venue on Dundas West in the Junction. It featured 20-plus-year indie-rock veteran Julie Doiron, who played both solo and with some of her bandmates on a stage covered in white helium balloons. Doiron said she played the session in part because she’s a big fan of helping with student projects.

“It’s a really easy thing to do,” Doiron said. “When I was giving birth, I said ‘yes’ to all the student doctors. It helps people learn, and if everyone says ‘no,’ who’s going to do this stuff in the future?”

Doiron added that she enjoyed the filming process, and said that she’s curious to see the final animated product.

“It’s totally up to [Snow Day], so I have no idea what it’s going to be,” Doiron said. “But I think it will be really interesting.”

Three more sessions will take place throughout December, featuring bands like the Great Bloomers, the Strumbellas, and the Folk.

Rowe says the name “Violet Sound Sessions” came from her classmate and co-producer Sara Bortolon-Vettor, who was tasked with finding terms related to synesthesia.

“She popped up and she was like, ‘Kandinsky!‘ And so I asked, ‘What about Kandinsky?'” says Rowe. “So it turns out that in the early 20th century, Kandinsky had a series of colour-toned operas, called The Yellow Sound, The Violet Sound, and The Black and White Sound. We were going to call it the Yellow Sound Sessions, but that reminded us of ‘Don’t eat yellow snow,’ so we changed it to ‘violet.’ Really, it’s all based on Kandinsky. We have no original ideas.”

CORRECTION: November 28, 2012, 12:55 PM This post originally stated that Julie Doiron played with her band, the Wrong Guys, at 3030. She in fact played with a few of her bandmates. The post also originally misstated the name of one of Kadinsky’s operas. It is The Violet Sound, not The Violet Sound Sessions.