From Foster the People to Diplo, LA has weathered all trends in hip music-dom by burying itself in excessive synthy layers that whisper urgently of either nothing or everything hiding behind the corner of Mulholland Drive. One of the scene's newer names is an electronic artist who goes by the moniker Saro--who released his first EP last December, In Loving Memory on Mateo Sound. The record was executive produced by the Grammy-nominated beatmaster Robin Hannibal—probably most famous for having a writing credit on Kendrick's breakout hit, "Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe." It also features additional production by David Burris, who has produced with artists that have names like RKCB and Violet Skies.
The vibes on In Loving Memory all, Saro told NYLON last year, involve various stages of mourning. To enact those varying sad times, Saro wanted to make a visual album that would accompany his album, in the spirit of pop hits like Beyoncé's last two records and one of those Frank Ocean albums. Behind the camera, Saro managed to nab the directorial eye of Stormi Henley, a former Miss Teen USA who later auditioned for American Idol and was briefly part of a musical group that Chris Brown once signed.
Wanting to capture the utterly real depths of pain contained with the breadth of human emotion, Henley and Saro set out for Mammoth Mountain, a volcano in Eastern Cali that, fittingly, regularly kills off trees and the occasional park ranger whenever it feels like it.
"We shot in Mammoth and it was cold as shit! I fell in the snow at one point and lost all feeling in my arms."
In Loving Memory has five tracks and Saro has already released four videos so far. Which means we're happy to be premiering the final video of the set, which is for "Rampart."
Get those tears rolling:
And since this is the last one, you can watch all those videos together in one complete musical movie down below. I also had the chance to hurl some questions at Saro about the project as a whole and he told me about shooting sadness in the mountains and how a love for peak-Kanye really got things going.
Popdust: First things, first: gimme your aesthetic.
Saro: Zombie Zoolander with a clothing allergy.
You've said elsewhere that each video is influenced by a "different stage of mourning." Which stage is "Rampart?"
Rampart represents denial. Recognizing my fear of commitment and permanence. Running from realities. The project doesn't quite conclude just yet because my denial lingers. It's more of a "too be continued."
The video involves a lot of running around, half-naked in the snow. Tell me about the shoot.
We shot in Mammoth and it was cold as shit! I fell in the snow at one point and lost all feeling in my arms. My director, Stormi, and I only shot for about 20 minutes before we stopped for fear of hypothermia. Riveting fun.
There's a lot of natural imagery in both "Rampart" and the collection of videos as a whole. What turned you away from the concrete highways?
It comes down to my love for simplicity and timelessness. Lyrically I try not to write anything that specifically references the time that we're in. Visually I wanted to do the same by excluding fashion and architecture.
What made you want to make a short film around In Loving Memory? Are there any musical films that you looked to for inspiration?
As a kid I would constantly watch MTV and record music video compilations to VHS. The first time I saw Kanye's short film for My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, I fell in love with the idea of films comprised of music videos. A few years ago I discovered Iamamiwhoami and was blown away by their full visual albums. My goal is to create a visual for every song I release.
Tell me about what's next.
There's so much ahead! A 2nd EP is being finished. And of course there will be new visuals.