RVA Magazine is proud to present the world premiere of the latest video from The Trillions. “Ctrl-X Ctrl-V” (aka “Cut And Paste”) is the second single from the RVA indie-rock band’s debut full-length, Tritones, released earlier this year on Worthless Junk Records.
As with many of the Trillions’ songs, “Ctrl-X Ctrl-V” relies on the skills of guitarists Charlie Glenn and Chris Smith, who spend most of the song’s duration playing clean single-note melodies on the higher frets of their guitar necks, forgoing the distorted guitar crunch that’s become almost de rigeur in the modern indie world in favor of an unusual sound that slightly resembles the soundtrack to an 8-bit video game. With this tactic brought to bear on the incredibly catchy and memorable melodies that make up this song, though, this distinctive approach becomes a major point in the Trillions’ favor, helping to firmly embed the song’s melodic hook in the memories of every listener who encounters it.
It’s the song’s lyrics that provide the true inspiration for the video, though. As singer/guitarist Charlie Glenn explains it, “‘Ctrl-X Ctrl-V’ is a mental conversation with oneself, an acknowledgement of an apparent necessity for reservation, for restraint, for holding back, and that reciprocal frustration of not acting on one’s true desires.” In the song, Charlie responds to the knock of opportunity with warnings: “You best not say a word,” and “best seen and not to be heard.” He explains this as “Self censorship–socially, artistically.” The narrator fears the consequences of true emotional expression (“you know, when they threaten to walk, you’ll wish you kept it in reserve”), and the repression that results creates, in Glenn’s words, “a disparity [between] desire and restricted action.”
Turning his attention to the video, Glenn explains how its imagery reflects the song’s lyrical content. “Contrasting visual elements in the video suggest this disparity,” he explains. “Scenes depicted with cold, washed-out colors, tight lips, straight faces, and minimized movement portray the effect of restraint. Perfect geometric embellishments imply those niggling urges to present a cohesive and well edited persona.” However, even though the video generally demonstrates restraint, there are brief, impulsive bursts of just the opposite. “These scenes are punctuated by images of unrestrained action, singing, high-energy movement, bright lights, and brazen colors,” Glenn continues. “I like to think of these as fleeting fits of desire to say it all, sing it loud, play it hard, and do it big.”
Director Abraham Vilchez-Moran puts his own spin on the visual imagery he used to tell the story of “Ctrl-X Ctrl-V,” helping to explain the mysterious women wearing geometrically-shaped cowls and accessories. “The video for The Trillions “Ctrl-X Ctrl-V” is ostensibly about shapes,” Vilchez-Moran says. “Working directly with [cinematographer] Josiah [Marroquin], we were able to create a unique look that used people like objects to create shapes, to create spaces. The song title sort of influenced this aesthetic as it comes off a little cold and disconnected. I wanted to direct a very stoic performance out of Charlie, and use his disheveled hair and mouth as asymmetrical shapes just like the strange shapes the girls in the video wear.” Said shapes at times make the women appear to be wearing minimalist dinosaur costumes, but are clearly intended to reflect the unemotional outer facade of the song’s narrator, who deep down inside is bursting to express himself.
The final word on the video is provided by art director Charles Rasputin, who spotlights the moments in the video when the repression briefly falls away, and we see the contrasting energetic expression that exists inside deep inside the narrator’s stoic facade. “Shot in various locations in and around Richmond, The Trillions take you into their world of beautiful women, black lights, and bright lazers without ever having to leave the town they love so much,” Rasputin says of the video, correctly pointing to the vibrant artistic sensibility which underlies this entire project. It’s easily traced back to The Trillions, who are one of the most active and inspired groups on the RVA music scene right now, but there’s a lot more to it than that. All of the creativity, talent, and focused effort that went into this video just stands as even further proof of how strong the Richmond artistic community is–and it only continues to grow. We here at RVA Magazine are proud to bring you the latest evidence of that growth: “Ctrl-X Ctrl-V” by The Trillions. Enjoy.
directed by: ABRAHAM VILCHEZ-MORAN
cinematography by: JOSIAH MARROQUIN
camera operator & gaffer: CHRIS ROLL
art director: CHARLES RASPUTIN
From the album Tritones
Available on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/tritones/id544095776
And on vinyl from Worthless Junk: http://www.worthless-junk.com/?wpsc-product=the-trillions-the-tritones-lp
Words by Andrew Necci
Images by Josiah Marroquin