Music is a balm to which we can all turn in times of trouble. And during challenging times such as these, it has a special way of bringing people together, while staying apart. That’s exactly what the musicians behind the CO-VIDeo Collective are doing.
A project initiated by local musician, photographer and graphic designer Ritche Perez, the CO-VIDeo Collective consists of a revolving door of musicians who are using technology to jam together while practicing social distancing in various locations – the ultimate example of collaboration in isolation. The musicians (located in St. John’s, Torbay, Portugal Cove, Bloomfield, even as far away as Seattle – though distance hardly matters in this case), record themselves on their phones or GoPros performing at home, while Perez later edits the audio/video footage into one cohesive music video (staying up until the wee hours to get the job done).
“I played with Brian (Downton) for years. We’ve always talked about collaborating, and now that we have more time at home, we decided to do this. And where we lacked instruments, we said hey, let’s get a few other people in on it. And I have a video editing and audio editing background, so that kind of helped us to put this together,” says Perez over the phone from his Portugal Cove home.
“So we went and reached out to some social media friends to ask them if they’d lay some tracks and make music with us.”
So far, the group has released four videos total. They have been focussing on covers of ‘80s tunes, including “In Between Days” by the Cure, “Take On Me” by a-ha, “Never Tear Us Apart” by INXS and “Standing in the Dark” by Platinum Blonde, with more to come. Musicians of all stripes have been participating, with the latest video featuring 10-year-old vocalist Alison Mationg Walsh.
Perez says the idea was inspired, in part, by those musicians and artists who have been connecting with audiences in new ways by posting live streams and videos of their own work and performances. Through the CO-VIDeo Collective, Perez says the goal is not just to entertain, but to spread some joy and positivity, and help ease some of the stress and anxiety around this tense time.
Since posting their first video on March 24, the CO-VIDeo Collective have taken social media by storm and their videos have racked up hundreds of views and shares. The project has also garnered the attention of several media outlets.
“I had no idea that this was going to get so popular. It’s a surprise to me,” Perez says.
From finding the musicians to putting the videos together, the project is a lot of work. But by helping provide some light during a dark time, Perez says it’s well worth it.
“That was the initial goal, to kind of put smiles on people’s faces. Because I think we need that right now.”