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Kara Kildare and Rob Dellenback Debut Video/Live Music Collaboration


What do ant farms, pig masks and blow torches have in common? Only local songstress [Kara Kildare][1] and director [Rob Dellenback][2] know for sure… These items were just a few in a long list of desired props for their soon to be unveiled collaboration. Like some kind of twisted horror scavenger hunt, their “Prop”-a-Ganda Pizza Party event on Facebook asked friends for help locating animal skulls and an array of items to be destroyed on camera. “Anybody out there wanna help but don’t have anything on the list?” Dellenback posted just a couple weeks back. “There are also all kinds of crafty tasks to be done.” This was followed by a link to a video with instructions on how to make colored smoke bombs. WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?

*Flagpole* sat down with the dynamic duo to hash out whatever details we could about this debut collaboration coming to Go Bar on Tuesday, Aug. 21.

**Flagpole**: *How did you two meet? Why did you decide to collaborate?*

**Kara Kildare**: We just met through mutual friends. I found out that he did video, and I guess it just kind of happened. Doing video with my music is something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time… I asked if he was interested in doing a project together, and he said it’s something he’s been wanting to do for a while, too…

**Rob Dellenback**: Yeah, I used to do a lot more conceptual work and nontraditional video. But for the past couple years I’ve just mainly been focusing on my design studio and my screen printing shop (Sasquatch City Studios). But I’ve always wanted to get back into doing more video, and this just seemed like an especially good opportunity. I like her work, and I knew that I could make some visual metaphors that would complement what she has to say with her song lyrics.

**FP**: *Is this show at Go Bar going to feature music that’s different than what we’ve heard from you before?*

**KK**: Yeah, there might be some old stuff sneaking in there, but it’s mostly all new or old songs I haven’t played in a few years…or at all, really. Which I’m really excited to do video with because I feel like a lot of stuff that I write, especially solo piano, it feels almost incomplete without video. It’s really kind of silly to say because I’ve never really had video [accompanying live performances], but the way that I compose sometimes is very visual in my head, so to try to convey that just through music…I dunno, this will just kind of complete it all.

**FP**: *So with the video you’re creating, is it timed to go with specific songs or is it more abstract over the whole set?*

**RD**: Other music video type things I’ve done in the past were more defined and rigid and timed to go together, but with this one… it will be produced in combination [with the music], but it will be more of a general flow instead of specific timing.

**FP**: *The time limitation must certainly be a factor. You had mentioned that you only came up with this idea a couple weeks ago, and you’re still gathering props now, with just a couple weeks until show time…*

**RD**: With this show in particular, one thing that is nerve-wracking and exciting about it is that I want it to be raw, and I want it to be sort of not too clean. Basically, I’m putting myself under the pressure cooker of like, you have less than two weeks to come up with 30 minutes of video. Obviously I’m not going to let it go out there if it’s not at least interesting or appealing to at least me. But I have so many projects where I get so wrapped up in my own head, and with this one it will be intentionally raw.

**FP**: *Just looking at your list of props, the concept seems pretty…terrifying.*

**KK**: I know! It’s like oh my god, all of my songs are about serial killers! (laughing)

**FP**: *Is there a concept you’re working toward?*

**KK**: There’s a vague concept. But I think more we’re just kind of trusting each other…The stuff I’ve seen Rob do up until has been really interesting to me, and I know that he is capable of making really beautiful video art, and I think in the same way he’s heard my music already, so he has a general idea. So we’re both kind of doing our own thing.

**RD**: We did both wrap our ideas around each others, especially in the beginning.

**KK**: We did have these late nights, like, six, seven a.m…

**RD**: …Brainstorming…

**KK**: Just writing down ideas…

**FP**: *Are there going to people in this video? What medium are you using?*

**RD**: A lot of it will be sort of ambient footage with various types of time lapsing and some very up close macro-shots of insects and things doing what they do combined with shots that will include people in a sense, but not in traditional way… You wouldn’t look at these people as characters in a plot in any way. These are almost like very short abstracted mini-movies compiled to be one movie.

**FP**: *What are your backgrounds in video/music? Is it something you studied in school?*

**RD**: I started out in graphic design here (UGA), and then I switched a year and half in to what was at the time called Digital Media and now it’s called Art X. I mostly focused on non-traditional video, sculptural installation and interactive media.

**KK**: In my undergrad I switched to the theater program from music because the classical music program at Buffalo State were a bunch stiffs… What we would do for fun sometimes is get a piano in the theater, and the kids would come in and act out scenes and I would provide music for it, like a silent film almost. I really enjoyed that, and I did it for professional theater in Buffalo, too. I would provide the soundtrack and it would vary every night because I was watching the performance—adding a little accent here, accouterments here, setting the tempo if the actor is speeding up the dialogue—so that kind of interaction… I really, really loved doing that, so I hope that’s something we can do in the future. Maybe watch Rob’s videos and play along…

**FP**: *So you have an interest in scoring films?*

**KK**: Oh yeah. Definitely. A lot of the stuff I write that isn’t Kill Kill Buffalo or doesn’t have a song structure, per se, it’s really just moody and it’s hard to capture people’s attention that way. It’s not really meant to be played in a bar or clubs—it’s more atmospheric, which is why I think a visual element would help… But on that note, it’s also really fun to collaborate with somebody who works in a medium I know nothing about. I mean, I know what is stimulating to me when I see it, but I don’t know anything about video, how to do it, anything like that. As opposed to collaborating with other musicians where you can kind of get in there, needle in or judge, but with this it’s just like, ‘do your thing.’ We can come up with ideas, things that we like that we share, but then I am free to get out of it.

**FP**: *Returning to that prop list, how much of these items were part of Rob’s vision and how much was yours?*

**KK**: I think maybe one to five items I actually suggested. I think I more suggested a concept or a mood or feeling or a general idea about what a song meant to me, and then he completely abstracted everything I said. Because I get really literal sometimes. If I were to make a video, it would be too in your face…

**RD**: I did want everything to be at least one step away from the actual idea. Where it would also be the essence of what we’re talking about but it no way beating you over the head with it. Give people room to expand their own interpretations.

Kara Kildare will be joined by the self-described “sci-fi post apocalyptic dance ritual performance group” Saturn Dogs from Brooklyn, NY. See video below for a sample of Saturn Dogs in action, and then catch them at Go Bar on Aug. 21.

[1]: http://www.facebook.com/karakildare

[2]: http://www.rjd3.com