We’re all aware of the bustling and ever-growing Richmond music scene, regardless of who you are or what you play. And it’s a scene that’s largely self-made – made possible by a unique sense of community that relies on helping each other out when it comes to getting your name and music out there. That’s what the new local music and film collective RVATRACK sets out to do most of all: uplift the music scene by providing local musicians with high quality music videos to add to their repertoires.
RVATRACK founder Scott Lane knows how important a tool a quality music video can be. A musician himself (The Congress) and founder of new local record label American Paradox, he was familiar with the Richmond music scene, but had moved across the country to Colorado for a spell. When he returned, the music scene was blowing up, and he was inspired to have a hand in its growth.
“I wanted to come back and play my part in helping the city. I wanted to be a tiny puzzle piece in sort of the legitimization of the music culture here and the infrastructure,” Lane said. “I want to put Richmond’s best foot forward and showcase some of these folks who I think are doing great things.”
The video collective has emphasized community from the beginning; it was founded by Lane and editor/marketing manager Daniel Bagby who met over a Thanksgiving meal. They shared similar ideas about content creation and Richmond’s music scene and got to work right away.
RVATRACK was born in January of 2017, so while a fairly new project, the high quality of the video and sound for the two videos currently out show the founder’s dedication and skill.
For RVATRACK, putting Richmond’s best foot forward involves relying on the donated time of everyone on the team, which consists of Lane, Bagbey, and camera operators Gabrielle Silvers, and fellow RVA Mag contributors, Craig Zirpolo and Joey Wharton (who you might recognize from RVAMag and other local film collective, Good Day RVA).
They’re a group of skilled, professional videographers who do it out of love for the scene. That’s what sets them apart from other art and film collectives in the city; it’s all completely volunteer-based, and they’re planning to release videos on a more frequent, monthly basis.
“It’s our way of contributing to the community,” said Lane.
For now, the setting of the videos is simple and unchanging. They take place in Lane’s home in Jackson Ward that gives them that warm yet historical atmosphere that’s classic Richmond. When you watch these videos it’s almost like peering into a friend’s home, but instead of old couches and tons of roomates, it’s a makeshift professional studio. And the band only records one song. What that song will be is decided during a collective conversation between the band and the team, but is ultimately left up to the musicians to decide. Then the recording begins.
“Basically what we do is have a band come and set up, do only one song, and we do a multi-camera, 100 percent live take of it and I have a whole studio setup and tracking it, giving it good treatment, mixing it. And then we put it out,” said Lane. He makes it sound easy, but it’s an impressive result of the group’s hard work and professional backgrounds.
For their latest video, the collective got in contact with local indie band Camp Howard who recorded their song “Mismo” with the collecive. The result was a clean, crisp, and live recording of their new track.
RVATRACK has also put out the video “Good Way Home” for local singer/songwriter Sid Kingsley in February.
As for the future, Lane hopes to continue dropping videos each month, as well as opening up the floor to include touring bands that have ties to Richmond. The collective plans on releasing a video this month with well-known local singer songwriter Angelica Garcia, whose debut album, Medicine for the Birds, has been doing particularly well.
“She’s somebody who is touring heavily and has a record that’s doing well, I love her music,” said Lane. “It just seemed obvious.”
And according to Lane, they also hope to diversify the scope of RVATRACK in terms of scenes and genres. After all, there’s definitely more to it than DIY indie/punk/rock bands.
“I want to represent some of those bands. I want to make sure to diversify the pool we’re pulling from,” he said. “I think that’s gonna be both challenging and most rewarding part about doing this – learning about all the different scenes.”
Overall, RVATRACK hopes to continue contributing to and doing their part for Richmond’s art and music scene. According to Lane, they’re really just a group of volunteers hoping to help people out.
“The goal is really simple: elevate the scene. Hopefully these videos get seen from people who aren’t just from Richmond and people who have an outside eye on what’s going on here in the city,” said Lane. “The big goal is to bring attention to Richmond, because in my opinion, Richmond literally has the greatest talent per capita in the country of any place. I think there’s more talent here than anywhere and I want everyone in the country to know that.”
Keep an eye out for RVATRACK’s next video with Angelica Garcia dropping April 17 and keep checking back for more – RVATRACK has some treats in store for the coming months.
Words by Kathy Mendes. Photo credit: Craig Zirpolo