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Our Favorite Videos From A Year Of Insight Music

Friday, May 25, 2018 | Permalink

Since launching in May 2017, Insight Music has featured dozens of artists from across the region, spanning genres including pop, hip-hop, rock, classical and jazz. Here’s a look back at some of our favorite performances from the program's first year.

So Much Light | “Bad News"

For "Bad News," the good news was that the timing couldn't have been better. I met Verrett when he was on the verge of signing with Anti Records for the release of his debut full-length, “Oh, Yuck.” He was super giving during both the performance and the interview. This video was shot (expertly by Andrew Nixon) in the CapRadio green room. It's usually where guests of Insight hang out when they're waiting to be interviewed. After moving couches and coffee tables, Andrew adjusts some light bulbs and Verrett set up his pedals. While we've attempted this kind of set up before, this session sealed for me the idea of making the green room the primary shooting location for my 2018 guests.

—Nick Brunner, host of Hey, Listen!

Lillian Frances | “Bailamos Con el Humo”

Lillian Frances’ appearance came thanks to her Tiny Desk Contest entry. I was so excited by the energy in that track and eager to get her on our radar. There was a last-minute sound tech issue that could have easily sunk this before it began, but luckily Insight engineer Mark Jones swooped in to save the day. The videos are immediately captivating thanks to some fun production (Again, CapRadio videographer Andrew Nixon's contribution cannot be overstated). Frances' session is one of the more recent entries I recorded for Insight Music and Hey, Listen! and easily one of my favorites. This is the last track on her “Timeism” EP.

Fun side note here: This was recorded nearly one full year after we booked Damien Verrett of So Much Light. The two have since met up and booked shows together.

—Nick Brunner, host of Hey, Listen!

Element Brass Band | “The Dr. Will See You Now”

This video puts together so many things I like: an infectious brass band tune, unusual editing, the CapRadio staff enjoying themselves. And it’s all set in a beautiful garden here at our studios. It was a joy putting this together with cell phone footage from my coworkers and sharing their love for music. It was an impromptu garden party on an otherwise normal morning. This is the second track on their 2017 album “Cali Got A Brass Band."

—Andrew Nixon, CapRadio photographer/videographer

Philharmonik | “Good Day"

As the newest member of the Insight crew, I have a lot of catching up to do. Insight Music has hosted a broad range of talent, from 10-piece funk bands to glitchy, loop-pedal electropop. But while I was working my way through dozens of in-studio performances from the past year, one song in particular stayed with me, playing on a steady loop in my head: The Philharmonik’s plaintive single “Good Day” from his self-titled 2018 album.

I want to give that message that it’s OK to express ourselves in our entirety,” he told Beth Ruyak in April.

The song is catchy but vulnerable, with raw vocals that offer a strikingly honest account of how it feels to live with depression and anxiety. Mental illness is common – it affects 1 in 6 adults in the U.S. – but it’s still stigmatized. “You shouldn’t fight this on your own,” he sings.

If more artists follow his lead, hopefully we won’t have to.

—Bert Johnson, Insight producer

House of Mary | “Someone Alone”

I love the intimacy of this video. The way the band is so comfortable with each other, they can just lean back and let loose. The Insight studio is small, and even though we warn bands about it, people are often surprised. But real artists don’t need a ton of space to make magic. Sometimes all you really need is a steady beat, a haunting guitar lick and strong, confident vocals. Aubrie Arnoux’s voice is so plaintive as she sings “you make me want to be someone. … someone alone,” that the phrase has a way of sinking into your soul. You know exactly what she means.

People often talk about the intimacy of radio, and there’s nothing more intimate then stripping your sound down and letting the lyrics stand on their own. This video is a window into House of Mary and it continues to be at the top of my playlist almost a year after it was recorded.

—Jen Picard, Insight senior producer

Vista Kicks | “Gimme Love”

Vistas Kicks is probably one of the most fun, innovative and down-for-anything bands we’ve ever had on Insight. As you can imagine, that’s the perfect recipe for great live radio. Not only do the guys harmonize beautifully in this video for “Gimme Love,” but there are also two epic whistling solos and some on-the-fly directing from lead singer Derek Thomas. Basically, they’re having a blast and we all get to go along for the ride.

Playing live on the radio can be unpredictable for musicians, but it’s also super fun and makes for a unique experience every single time. “Gimme Love” is one of those times when it all just really works.

—Jen Picard, Insight senior producer

Jessica Malone | “A Fine Line”

Jessica Malone had appeared on Insight twice before, but this stand-out performance features her with a full band supporting her voice and lifting this song to a new level. In her interview with Beth Ruyak, she explained how the song evolved from the previous record “Miles Left to Walk” to “The Waiting Hours E.P.” With the full band, the song became “more groove-based,” and you can feel it in this video. Malone’s band — guitarist Brett Vaughn Rechtfertig, drummer Barry Eldridge and bassist Thomas Mackerness — lay the foundation for a top-notch vocal performance from a rising artist. The giraffes and zebras in the background were Malone’s idea, if you’re wondering, because we don’t usually cover the window during our video sessions.

—Mark Jones, Insight engineer

SUNMONKS | “Woman Electric”

SUNMONKS puts on an exciting show every time they plug in, and their CapRadio Garden performance is no exception. I love their catchy hooks, playful lyrics and eclectic-pop sensibilities.

Alexandra Steele and Geoffrey C.K. blend their voices beautifully, and Julian Loy is an insanely talented drummer who shines on this song without overpowering the melody and vocals. I first fell in love with their sound on their 2014 "In A Desert of Plenty" E.P. Their 2017 album “Two Play" has been in heavy rotation at my house (and on Insight) since it came out last summer. In this video, SUNMONKS debuted their new song “Woman Electric,” and I can’t wait to hear the studio version on their next record.

—Cody Drabble, Insight producer

Mino Yanci | “The Adventure"

Mino Yanci put on an electrifying performance of “The Adventure” in our studio. It’s a privilege to work with musicians who have poured their hearts and souls into a project, and this video shows off Mino Yanci’s undeniable dexterity and passion. Mino Yanci is a rare example of a band who released an excellent record worthy of high praise, but their live performances deliver energy above and beyond what a puny MP3 can capture. This jazz fusion quartet came together to explore “Musical Freedom,” and that’s what I feel every time I listen to their debut “Mino Yanci” E.P.If you’re lucky enough to see Mino Yanci perform live, get close to the stage and marvel at the musicianship behind their sound.

—Cody Drabble, Insight producer

The Lique | “Pressure"

The Lique know how to put on a jaw-dropping show. Their blend of jazz and hip-hop makes me want to boogie down, and Rasar’s consciousness-raising lyrics leave me with plenty to think about after the record ends. I love this performance of “Pressure” because it shows off their musical range and lyrical depth. I was floored by their 2016 album “Democracy Manifest,” and the newest album, “Times Like These,” builds up the legend of The Lique as an unstoppable force of creativity. Their time in Las Vegas and touring the U.S. has seasoned The Lique into battle-ready sound warriors with undeniable showmanship.

—Cody Drabble, Insight producer

 insight musiceclectic

Nick Brunner

Host: Hey Listen!

Nick is host of Hey Listen!, produces music discovery content for the web and audio production during CapRadio fund drives.  Read Full Bio 

Jen Picard

Senior Producer, Insight

Mark Jones

Content Production Manager / Insight Technical Director

Cody Drabble

Insight Producer and On-Air Director

Cody Drabble learned to love public radio growing up in San Francisco with KQED on every morning during breakfast. In addition to producing and directing the live broadcast of Insight each morning, he also fills in as guest host for Beth Ruyak.   Read Full Bio 

Andrew Nixon

Multimedia Producer

Multimedia Producer Andrew Nixon illustrates CapRadio’s Web content with visual journalism including still photos and videos. He works in the news and information department, and on CapRadio’s documentary program, “The View From Here.”  Read Full Bio 

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