Japan Soul’s politically charged “Hey Yah Hey” video wins mtvU’s The Freshman

Japan Soul's politically charged music video for latest single “Hey Yah Hey”,an artful critique of modern surveillance, was voted newest winner of mtvU's The Freshmen and goes into on-air rotation this week.

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The song “Hey Yah Hey references the year that Jason Paul travelled with his soon-to-be-wife, artist Eva Orzech, through four continents. They saw incredible things every day for a full year. When they returned to New York it seemed like no time had passed—as if waking from a dream—yet the memories remain vivid. For the video, they commissioned director Christopher Arcella (Bridges and Powerlines “Bushwick”).

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Prior to filming they discussed the conceptual setting of their forthcoming album, Plastic Utopia, with Christopher. That world is a dystopian alternate reality that eerily is the one we are all living through.

The song “Hey Yah Hey” is a hopeful piece on the album as it celebrates escape and personal freedom. These ideas resonated with Christopher who shared their feelings about the precariousness of things. It was serendipitous that Christopher would be spending a few months in Paris where he suggested filming.

The video follows a group of young artists (portrayed by avant garde hip-hop dancers Ismaera and Kimson, and actress Flaminia Vincenti) through the streets of Paris. Their whereabouts are continuously monitored by mysterious drones. The group cleverly finds ways to assert their creative identities and foil the spying drones. Although the video plays like an 80s apocalypse scenario the reality it presents is, disturbingly, not fiction.

About Japan Soul

Japan Soul is a wandering vacuum of ideas influenced by styles as diverse as art rock, sophisti-pop and electronic dance music. It is the music collective of Jason Paul—vocals, guitars, bass, programming, David Rozner—percussion, arrangements, programming, guitars, trumpet, and DaVe Lipp—saxophones, bass, guitars, eclectic instruments. Constantly evolving, Japan Soul is a wandering vacuum of ideas influenced by sounds as diverse as late-era Roxy music, mid-80s R&B and early 90s dance music. Japan Soul seeks to create transcendental music that synthesises art, dissent and euphoria through popular music.

Japan Soul‘s upcoming LP, titled Plastic Utopia, is an artful protest of the times. “The album is mostly a compendium of my thoughts on these troubled times,” says Jason Paul. “The conceptual premise of Plastic Utopia is that we have slipped into an apocalyptic alternate universe caused by a rift in time that began around the year 2000. 911, Iraq, the great recession…it feels like in the 90s we were living at ‘The End of History’ on course to avoid all these terrible calamities. Things are no longer as they should be. On Plastic Utopia, Japan Soul gives voice to the artistic resistance of this dystopian world.”

Plastic Utopia was recorded in living rooms and bathrooms in Brooklyn as well as a Williamsburg practice space. To fully realise their sonic vision for the Plastic Utopia EP, they worked with Craig Levy, an audio engineer in Clinton Hill, to mix the final versions of the songs. David Rozner stepped up into the roll of lead producer and engineer for the final four songs.

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