PREMIERE: Flounder Warehouse reflects on intimacy and solitude in the "What To Do" video - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart
Photo courtesy of the artist

Flounder Warehouse formed in 2012 in Philadelphia, and has showcased the work of frontperson and songwriter Seann Cantatore in the five years since. Lately, Cantatore — a Key intern alumus — has been living and working in New York, but continues working with Philly regional musicians on the project, today releasing band’s latest: a simple-yet-elegant video for the new “What to Do.”

The song is rooted in the band’s signature progressive pop and soul sound, and Cantatore gave some insight into representing it visually.

“This project was really personal for me. The song is based off a life experience. It’s from the point of view of a woman who is falling in love with someone, but she is hesitant to reveal her feelings to him. As she’s struggling with that decision though, she is unaware that there is no real possibility for a future between them: he’s leaving, to somewhere she can’t follow. By the last verse, she discovers his impending departure, and she is sort of left helpless, scrambling with her emotions. Hence, What To Do.”

The video itself was shot in a brightly lit rehearsal room, with Cantatore seated at a grand piano. As the camera circles, her bandmates phase in and out of the shots. Continues Cantatore:

“We wanted to support the emotional story of the song visually, but without chaining it to one specific sequence of events. So we began with just me alone at the piano in this huge open space, and as the song progresses the other band members sort of just appear around me out of thin air, which to me is a metaphor for the storyteller building a world in her mind for this potential relationship. As the song progresses, though, and she realizes this can never be, the band quits playing and packs up, her imaginary world disappearing rapidly before her eyes. Meanwhile, she is stuck in the same place she started – alone, at the piano. The pacing of the cuts and camera movements are all designed to support the emotional arc of the song, and we shot chronologically with all natural light so that throughout the video the sun literally sets on the idea of that relationship.”

The simplicity of this video really is beautiful, from the color palette to the stillness of the people in frame to the lighting. There’s not much movement aside from the panning of the camera and the natural gestures of the musicians, but it distills the elaborate narrative of the song down to a direct visual. Watch it below.

Cantatore points out that the other thing that made this project special is that her brother Alex directed the video. “He has been writing, shooting, and directing for a long time, like I have been playing music for a long time,” Cantatore says. “But this was the first time we really got to collaborate through our art forms. It was such a unique and rich experience to work with someone who has this separately developed creative process and background, but who also held me the day I was born and has been there for all the most awkward stages and growing pains in my life. We definitely communicated on a different level than would be possible with anyone else. Our work is very personal to the both of us, so at times putting yourself on the line like that can be scary. But it felt natural with Alex. There was a lot of trust.”

Photo courtesy of the artist

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