Musical pioneers make their mark in Queens

Musical pioneers make their mark in Queens
Photo by Naeisha Rose
By Naeisha Rose

On a Friday evening last month, the Arthur Moon Band performed at Queens Theatre to celebrate the release of its first album, “Our Head,” and to screen the video for “Wind Up,” one of the songs from that album.

The evening was hardly the band’s first time in that space, however. Not only have they played on its stage, they also shot their video there. According to Taryn Sacramone, managing director of Queens Theatre, the recent show was just the latest chapter in the connection between the theater and the band—especially its lead vocalist and front woman, Lora-Faye Åshuvud.

“The president of our board of directors, Frances Resheske, has known Lora-Faye for a long time,” Sacramone said. She is a family friend. She went to see her perform and thought she would be fabulous as a performer in Queens Theatre.”

Sacramone followed up on that interest.

“I met her when she filmed her music video here. So I Googled her music, and watched things online. She came out here and I got to meet her team and her director, and the producer. I showed her the stage and she had a definite vision of what the music video was going to look like. Our theatre suited it and I was thrilled that she was able to do it.”

While there have been other film and television shoots at the theater, Sacramone said, this was the first time a music video has been filmed there during the three years she has been with the theater.

For the Arthur Moon Band, charting new territory is just another day’s work. In addition to Åshuvud, the band is composed of vocalist Aviva Jaye, keyboardist and vocalist Rachel Brotman, guitarist Nick Lerman, drummer Dave Palazola and bassist Marty Fowler.

“I don’t have any training,” Åshuvud said. “I can refer to chords by their names occasionally. I will often call them by their wrong name just to amuse the band. I love not reading music. It helps me make weird theory decisions. I think it helps me write unconventionally.”

“When I tell people about this band,” Aviva Jaye said, “one of the first things I say is that it’s highly artistic, but then I have to say more things so that they don’t get the wrong idea. It’s very artistic, but it is in the rock department. It’s curated in a very unique way.”

That sense of working with the unexpected also came into play during the production of the video at the Queens Museum.

For Allison Egdahl, the video’s producer, it was her first experience making a music video. Along with director Sam Jones, she worked with the goal of bringing the artist’s vision to life.

“There is very much a hierarchy in film production and television production,” Egdahl said, “but what was very cool about this video was how it was collaborative between Lora-Faye, Evvie Allison [the choreographer] and Sam Jones. It’s cool because they really conceptualize ideas. The process takes a bit longer since it’s not just one person calling the shots, but the end product is something that everyone is happy with.”

Nick Lerman, the band’s guitarist, also edited the music video. “When it comes to the music video,” he said, “I had a friend that went to film school and asked me to score one of films. After that, I said, why don’t I do this [editing]. Most of the editors I know are also musicians. There is something about rhythm, and timing and pacing that just work together.”

Choreographer Allison saw unique opportunities in the Queens Theatre’s space. “I’m very visual, so right off the bat I was thinking about framing, perspective…So I was like can we do an aerial shot in the Queens Theatre?” The story of “Wind Up” is about a bird that is ill and gets its parts replaced with mechanical parts, so the aerial shot is particularly fitting.

In addition to its appearance at the Queens Theatre, the Arthur Moon Band has recently appeared at Le Poisson Rouge in Manhattan, and will be onstage in Williamsburg at Baby’s Alright July 24.