Heartbreaking Bravery

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2015: A Year’s Worth of Memories (Stephen Tringali)


Last year Stephen Tringali turned in a piece for this series about working on Chastity Belt‘s “Black Sail” music video. In 2015, he worked on a slew of new projects including his debut feature-length documentary Corridor Four, which centers around an officer from the K-9 unit — and military veteran — who was experiencing PTSD after the bravery he exhibited on 9/11, rushing into the Pentagon to attempt to save as many lives as possible.  It’s a big leap from directing and serving as the cinematographer on videos for bands like Big Ups, Low Fat Getting High, and Roomrunner. Here, he talks about seeing Pile play for the first time, discovering Pill Friends, shooting their latest music video, and lists his top 10 albums of 2015. Read it below and hold onto the things you find inspiring.


My first great musical memory of 2015 was finally getting to see Pile perform. I live in Los Angeles, and I don’t think the band makes it out to the west coast that often. When I saw they’d be playing Los Globos in late March, I marked the date on my calendar and prepared myself to turn down any gigs that might conflict with it. Needless to say, the show was excellent.

Pile, Los Globos – March 29th, 2015 – Ilford 35mm Black & White 3200 ISO Pushed One Stop

Later that year, I had the chance to make a music video for this group from Pennsylvania called Pill Friends. I honestly can’t remember how in the world I found their record Blessed Suffering, but hearing it brought me straight back to high school in Central Pennsylvania. Since moving to Los Angeles, I’ve grown increasing interested with nostalgia and childhood. What images bring up those memories. How to access them after a long time has passed. I wanted to somehow recreate that feeling of growing up in suburban/rural PA for this video.

The band didn’t have much in the way of a budget, so flying back to PA to shoot this video was out of the question. I decided instead to hitch a ride with a college friend on his way back to Denver, CO and stop off in this small town called Leadville, CO where another college friend was working. We spent 3 days filming the people in the town in a kind of documentary style. It was perhaps the scariest premise I could have come up with for a music video because there was such a huge chance that it would fail. What if no one there wanted to be filmed? What if the town didn’t really have the look I was after? What if we were snowed in for most of the time? There were a million things that could have gone wrong.

And maybe that’s why it’s one of my most memorable experiences from this past year. I wanted to make a video that felt less staged, more impromptu, and more genuine than previous videos I had done. Strangely enough, it worked out. There was something exciting about having no clue what we were going to film that day. Plenty of people said no thank you; please don’t film me. But there were other folks who were completely open to the idea. Mechanics, barbers, skateboarders, kids playing basketball. The result turned out to be a really wonderful portrait of the town.

LEADVILLE, CO – November 2015

And finally, I got to have coffee with Michael Sincavage of Low Fat Getting High. I made a music video for his band in early 2015, but all of our communication up until that point had been via e-mail or phone. It might seem a little strange, but I don’t actually get to meet many of the bands I make music videos for in person. I’m really proud of the video I made for LFGH and so thankful that Michael gave me an unusual amount of creative control. It was great to finally meet him in person and talk over coffee. There was just something so encouraging and positive about that experience—that I could make a new friend simply because we connected over e-mail and collaborated on a project together.

My favorite records from 2015:

1. Sleater-Kinney – No Cities To Love
2. Dilly Dally – Sore
3. Car Seat Headrest – Teens Of Style
4. Screaming Females – Rose Mountain
5. Built To Spill – Untethered Moon
6. Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit
7. Yowler – The Offer
8. Ava Luna – Infinite House
9. Pile – You’re Better Than This
10. Protomartyr – The Agent Intellect

-Stephen Tringali

2015: A Year’s Worth of Memories (Gabriela June Tully Claymore)

Photograph by Megan Manowitz

A few years ago I started noticing a lot of the bylines for Stereogum pieces on bands, songs, and videos I loved were consistently attributed to Gabriela June Tully Claymore. We started following each other on twitter, occasionally trading thoughts about bands or some of the other small things more enjoyable. She turned in a massive piece for this series last year on Bad History Month’s “Staring At My Hand”, demonstrating an intense care for the music she loves in the process. Last year, we met for the first time and then ran into each other on a startlingly regular basis, taking in countless shows in the process. Whether we were getting rained on at a pier in Manhattan and bolting for a Times Square diner or just winding down on the roof of DBTS, there was usually an underlying sense of adventure- something that informs Claymore’s personality. Here, she fondly recounts a moment at the Heptagames and celebrates some quiet adventuring in the process. Read it below and remember that the biggest rewards are usually reaped from taking risks.


Heptagames, 7/19/2015

Summer softens me. Something about humidity and sweat and sticky hands makes me feel like I’m crawling out of some great big New York City womb every morning and into a very different kind of urban space. People slow down in the summer, they take their time, they hang out more. Summer makes me feel nostalgic for places I’ve never been to, for oceans I have yet to swim in. This is corny as hell to say, but it makes me feel like literally anything is possible. It’s a needed reminder that I am actively living a life and not just existing in one that someone created for me.

This particular summer, I joined the eclectic group of artists-in-residence at the Silent Barn, and it was one of the best experiences I’ve had in a long time. One weekend in July, a huge group of people traipsed upstate to a retreat in Franklin, NY called the Heptagames. There we spent two days swimming, hiking, meeting new people, and eating. Ironically, it felt very freeing to go hang out in the woods with a bunch of people I didn’t know well with no means of escape. On the last day, everyone hiked up a trail to the top of a little hill, following my friend Noah as he played the flute.

He was the pied piper. We sat at the top of the hill in silence as Noah performed some of the music he makes as Cuddle Formation. At the end of the short set, he pulled out a telephone receiver connected to a looping pedal, and cooed into it quietly before passing the receiver on to the nearest person in our fairly large group. They passed the phone on to the next person, then the next, as Noah recorded each of our individual songs. Together, as a group of familiars but not necessarily friends, we made a song out of “oohs” and “aahs” and “hellos” and “ribbits.” It became a noisy, joyful chorus, and people around me giggled as it played throughout the shallow valley.

It was a simple, participatory moment that reminded me of something that I shouldn’t really have to be reminded of: Being present is important. Sharing never-going-to-happen-again experiences with people and recognizing that they are special as they are happening is important. Letting your guard down, all the way down, is important. Giving a little bit of yourself to the Bigger Picture is important. Watching a stranger’s back as closely as you watch your own is important. Staying playful, no matter your age, isn’t just important; it’s necessary. Because sometimes, even though the state of the country, the world, breaks my heart every morning when I scroll through the news on my way to work, I need to cling to my truth: That it really is just small interactions that hold us — you and me and everyone we know or don’t know, or may never meet — together.

-Gabriela June Tully Claymore