Postmodern indie-rock artist Spun Mellow’s newest single, “Spotlight,” featured on his upcoming album Plasticity, drops today, January 28. The single is also being released with a haunting dance video, directed by Veronica Zin. “Spotlight” showcases the downward spiral of a relationship as one party fails to see an ever-growing distance between the two, thus creating a need for validation that isn’t met. From its staging to its costuming, the “Spotlight” video takes the song’s already relatable message and adds a level of intensity that only serves the album as whole.
“Spotlight” does a wonderful job of capturing the moment where someone realizes they’re being strung along by their partner. You’ve found a way to turn something that feels so isolating in the moment and showcase it as an incredibly relatable piece of work. Can you talk about the process of writing this song?
I remember being on my balcony in Hollywood taking a break from recording a new song that wasn’t really turning out. I picked up my guitar and just started singing, there were always lights from the Hollywood Bowl and helicopters circling the neighborhood so the word “spotlight” popped in my head. I subconsciously came up with lyrics that tied it to relationship struggles I didn’t fully comprehend at the time. I wrote most of the lyrics and structure right there around the single chord progression and Spotlight was born!
How do you feel that the video amplifies the message of this song?
The song focuses on a relationship where validation between each other becomes toxic. The video really brought that to life with me seeking attention from Camryn, the choreographer and co-star, with her giving it to me in bits and moving on. I seek her more and more as the video goes on and it becomes more difficult to see her go, matching the song!
What was the development process like for this video?
I reached out to Veronica, the director, hoping to do a video and shared the song with her! She liked it and we started brainstorming. She thought of the idea of a dance duet with a dynamic between the two to match the story of the lyrics. She had the vision for the white backdrop and wardrobe. She also thankfully knew Camryn from working with her before and thought she’d be perfect, so I met with her and she created all the choreography to match the song!
The “Spotlight” video uses beautiful choreography to highlight the message of the song. Can you talk about the process of choreographing the video and the overall shooting process?
We booked 3 quick rehearsals and just got straight into dancing. It was my first time learning dance so it was really exciting! Camryn came up with all the choreography on the spot and taught me as we went. She took each word of mine and created movement to match the dynamic Veronica envisioned.
Shooting was fun and easy! It was my first time shooting the video with a team where I could just be the artist and actor. We had a director of photography, lighting technician and production assistant to help as Veronica directed and Camryn and I performed! With all their help we shot in just a half day, going scene by scene of the video, start to finish!
Your partner makes a costume change at the bridge that helps add an almost sinister quality to the piece. Can you explain what you were originally going for with the change in costume and intensity to the choreography towards the end of the song?
The red dress and growing tension in choreography both amplify the appeal of validation. We had to show how seeking it can only be digging a deeper hole each time. Even as I see the warning signs I keep going. By the return of the last chorus (introduction of the red dress) this need has grown so much she has to put it to an end.
Watch the video for "Spotlight" here:
How does this video differ from your previous work?
This is my first big production with a full team! The whole team had all worked on a lot of videos before, I think their knowledge and work made it my best video yet. It is my first time dancing as well! Learning choreography was a blast and performing it felt even better. I also have been keeping a bright colorful tone and vibe to each video and my entire aesthetic up to this point. “Spotlight” is the first to steer away from that, aiding the toxic nature of the story.
How does “Spotlight” stand out against the rest of the songs on Plasticity?
Spotlight is an important piece of my debut album Plasticity! It links the album together in multiple ways. It was the second song I wrote out of the bunch and the one I based the overall sound of the record off of. It ties some of the more pop straight forward tracks on the record, like my single “Like Candy,” with the more psych rock sounding tracks coming with the full record. It also is integral to the story of the record and the relationship that influenced it!
What were some of your influences while you were working on both the song and the video?
At the time of writing “Spotlight,” I remember listening to a lot of Cage the Elephant and Tame Impala. I think the structure and overall tone came from listening to them both but I was wanting to do a more modern and hip hop influenced production. The video was influenced by a few other videos featuring a similar style of dance. “High” by Sir Sly is one that stood out!
As a woman in film, it’s always nice to see a project created by other women. What was it like working with your director, Veronica Zin? How did you two initially come to work on this project?
I was lucky enough to meet Veronica during my time in LA. She was a music video producer looking to start directing and I was a fresh artist in need of help making videos for my songs! Luckily she liked them and we became quick friends. She helped me with another video for my song “Silverline,” which we did just the two of us. We then aimed to do a bigger production video together and thought of “Spotlight!”
Did you take anything away from this experience that you would like to use in any upcoming projects?
I think collaboration is key now. Everyone bringing their different skills leant to the best possible video! I think from this point forward having a full team is going to be crucial. We also got some great behind the scenes footage that has been great to show on socials. I was able to do a TikTok campaign with the footage that gained followers and brought new listeners! Extra content is a must! I really just learned how much fun it is!