The Duo Explains: KiSMiT - 'Compass'

California indie pop duo KiSMiT talk to us about their intimate and emotive visuals for powerful single, ‘Compass’.

KiSMiT Explains:
Where was the video for 'Compass' filmed?
Compass’ was filmed at Casement Studios in DTLA.

 How does the video connect with the song?
This music video was a test to trust myself and I chose to improv all of the movement for that challenge exactly, so that I had no other option but to be in the moment and not high on expectations or "needing to get it right.”  Those are big trigger points for me, areas in which I can beat myself up, and that's so much of what the song is about. I can get in my way a lot, and am grateful for this love with Baz [King], specifically, and all the other loving angels I have in my life who help me zoom out and see the better, bigger picture. The movement was a way to explore the darker sides of me that I haven't ever shared on camera before.  

Do you have any interesting behind the scenes stories you could share with us?
t was a really fun and intimate environment behind the scenes. We had a 5-person team: Director of Photography - Alex Tafreshi (Twenty20 Productions); Director of Choreography - Chantal Cherry; Manager - Dana Fors, & Baz & I! Improving the dance moves for 4 hours of shooting definitely left room for "interesting" moments to happen, I was on my toes to say the least.  The owner of the space kept coming in and out and it was starting to frustrate me as I was being very precious about knowing that I was going to have to get myself to the point of tears at some point in the day...but I used that frustration and ran with it - like a trampoline, it helped spring me into the darker shades of myself that I was hoping to portray in the video.

Could you tell us about the ideas/ themes/ imagery used?
Chantal Cherry and I created a language for the improv movement or “scores” (as Chantal put it) so we had structure for the day of shooting. This song, as I mentioned, bounces between light & dark - the verses convey the shadow sides of myself, and the chorus is the remedy, the light, the joy. We worked with three scores: "edge", "wiping doubt" and "butterflies". "Edge" was a way to put my foot on the throttle and GO to the furthest, deepest, scariest parts of me which translated as big leaps, running full force, going as "full out" as we say in dance, as possible. "Wiping doubt" was a repetitive set of movement to mirror the patterns I am not so proud of, this translated to doing the same movement over and over again, the frustration that can come with that and being Ugly. Exploring that personally unflattering space, for me, is hard to live in or put on display seeing that I am a double Virgo perfectionist, but it felt good to accept and express that which is inside of me. "Butterflies" is the complete contrast to all of the other scores. This set of movement is the joy, the love, the peace, the calm after the storm. Chantal painted this very powerful image of butterflies coming out of every individual cell of my being, filling me up and encouraging me to fly.

Is there a message the video is trying to convey?
In a world where mass tragedy has become the norm and numbing our feelings might be the safest option, I hope we continue to open up, lean into vulnerability and trust that our feelings are our superpower!

Interview feature by Karla Harris