Xavia Chen’s charming animated music video for Amber Kuo’s last track
Amber Kuo is a Mandopop singer and actress and after an eight-year hiatus, she is set to release her new album this summer with her own label, Nomad City Records. As a taste of what’s to come, this week she’s releasing a track from the album called A Scarlet Riding Hood. Taipei-based 2D animator Xavia Chen collaborated with Kuo to create a sweet illustrated music video to go with it.
“The clip is inspired by the fairy tale Le Petit Chaperon Rouge. I also titled my song after. The story of the song inevitably turned into a fairy tale, presented as illustrations and expressing emotions beyond words and music, ”says Kuo.
“After hearing the music, I felt like I was running and running with the fox and the rabbits in the animation,” Chen adds. “The feeling of meeting this song is very strange. It’s a story that poked a corner of my mind, even though it came from Amber’s writing.
The style is naive, charming and reminiscent of old videos made by the London collective Shynola. Meeting through mutual friends, Kuo and Chen worked together on the promo. “Basically I started my creation from the text and the music from Amber, then I drew the pictures and slowly put the whole feeling of this music video back together,” Chen explains.
“Because I’m used to using non-narrative animation methods, I first broke the story down and then visually recomposed it. For me, I am not the traditional creative process. Amber is also happy to let me follow my own method. This feeling of trust allows us to save a lot of communication consumption, and it also allows me to continue my motivated creation until the moment of completion.
With the pandemic restrictions in place, Kuo and Chen still haven’t met in person, but the couple feel the process went smoothly despite the distance. “With Xaiva’s simple and pure creative illustration, that’s exactly what I really wanted to portray the story,” says Kuo. “Therefore, from the process to the final delivery, we hardly changed anything and everything was born so naturally!
Chen continuously listened to the song throughout the project, so the visuals were really inspired by the music. She also wanted to maintain a state of mind of total freedom. “The challenge was to think too much and end up drawing something that wasn’t natural. The original idea was to make an animation of a girl’s diary, which contains things like stickers, crayons and origami, ”says Chen.
“This approach can very easily become unnatural due to over-thinking or being accidentally led by standard thoughts. For example, overthinking what a rabbit should look like. And what a fox should look like. In fact. , when a child draws, he has the opportunity to draw whatever he wants. Delivering the innocent expression of the little girl in the animation was like playing a role myself.
Chen thinks animation and music are the perfect partners, one complementing each other, and that’s a sentiment Kuo shares. “[Animation] has the opportunity and the power to refine the basic expression of music, and I get such satisfaction from this animation, ”she says.
A Scarlet Riding Hood by Amber Kuo is now available. The album Vol.13-1986 The Journey of Sleepless Sheep, will be released in the summer of 2021 by Nomad City Records; @xaviamy