Q&A on “Delicately Poised” with CAPITAL THEATRE’S Adam Stevenson

The lyrics to the chorus—”It’s delicately poised/For the girls and the boys/To find their voice/And shut down the noise”—perfectly frame the song and the video. Is there a social message shared in this video you most want people to walk away thinking about?

ADAM STEVENSON: “Given the band wrote the album in the sequence of a hero’s journey archetype, ‘Delicately Poised’ sits at number six on the album, just before ‘Force To Fight,’ the crescendo battle song. When looking at the moment just before the battle, the experience that the hero undergoes is usually one of delving into the innermost cave, some kind of serious soul-searching and ultimately building up whatever gumption and resources required to fight the ensuing fight and seize the reward. So, what you have in the song ‘Delicately Poised’ is some very personal and intimate disclosures in the verse before it opens up to a much more universal chorus line. To me the chorus line can be interpreted a few ways, but what we were very aware of is that the use of the pronouns ‘girls and boys’ gave us almost ammunition and a conviction to celebrate and delve into gender identity and identity itself with the music video. We would expect viewers of this video and song to just feel and understand that uniqueness is cool and diversity should be embraced and celebrated.”

Adam Stevenson

The title of “Delicately Poised” suggests something exquisite in character and delicate to the senses (smell, taste and color).  How did the visual concept and character actors come about?

STEVENSON: “Because the song delves into themes of identity on the whole, we wanted to find an authentic space with authentic characters to be themselves within our music video. The characters in the video were all briefed to simply come as they are, or how they would normally make themselves up for their own art or performances. Each character is an artist, dancer or performer in their own right, so the team in Barcelona did a great job at finding these authentic beings and letting them celebrate their identity without any interruption or direction from us. 

Due to New Zealand being in lockdown, we also needed to work globally to ensure we could shoot in locations that could film freely and in close proximity.”

Who directed the video, and how close was the director’s vision for this video compared to Capital Theatre’s vision?

STEVENSON: “The video was co-directed by Capital Theatre along with Bruno Amaral Pereira and Julie Gomez of Kalapa Studios and also by Alex Hargreaves who shot the NZ-based content of the band’s performance. There were many Zoom calls between us all to coordinate how these two worlds were going to come together, it was a real collaboration. From a relatively specific brief and mood board created by Capital Theatre, it was a real score for the band to land on this concept with the team at Kalapa Studios in Barcelona. They picked up our brief and took it to a really authentic place which is exactly what we were after. The band’s original brief needed to be tweaked given the separation between us in NZ and the shoot in Barcelona, so the idea of placing the band in the TV was chosen. From there, the narrative and dynamics of how these two worlds were to interact were mulled over at length, but the overall relationship is one where the characters in Barcelona are somewhat ritualistically entranced by the Capital Theatre ‘Delicately Poised’ act on an old TV set. Likewise, the Capital Theatre performance, which begins in black and white, is then affected by the ritual and we see a manicness evolve as the clown switches into colour and the TV set comes to life, as if the two worlds clearly have some influence over each other.”

–Is the club in the video a real place in Barcelona? If so, why was that location chosen and tell us a bit about the vibe of the club and how you heard about it?

STEVENSON: “When we landed on this concept, the location of Bagdad was the first suggestion from Kalapa Studio, and it was beyond perfect. Bagdad is a real underground adult entertainment club that has been putting on live sex shows for over 40 years. Again, this authenticity of using a space that has been involved in sexual liberation since 1975, was a key part in creating a video that is true in all aspects.” 

–The cinematography in this video is excellent including the colors characters’ comfortable expressions along with their interaction. What was behind the decision to put Adam solo in the TV and in black & white? 

STEVENSON: “We wanted to explore the identity of the clown further, having now used him in various videos and photoshoots. Given the songs exploration of identity we wanted to show a step-change or deterioration of the clown itself. So, the first part of the video shows the clown as composed and somewhat demure and classic, but by the end of the video he is frantic, makeup running and he is desperately clawing at the TV screen almost trying to breakthrough to the world of Bagdad through the TV screen. Within the Bagdad club we see the cast of characters inhabiting their own identities in a very comfortable and known way, as if this ritual is familiar to them and more importantly that they are bold and confident in themselves.”

–What excites and inspires the band most when viewing this video? 

STEVENSON: “To us this song has an energy about it, beyond the lyrics and chord structures, there’s simply an energy that deserved a world to be made for it. So from our position of being locked down in New Zealand, we set about finding that world, and to see it come to life in this video with such exquisite characters and cinematography is a real pleasure for us. It has shown us that reaching out globally and finding other creative professionals to collaborate with is a really effective approach and ultimately has provided this song with a very authentic piece of content.”

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