Currently comprised of Justin Campbell, Steve Mitchell, Matt Dell and Ben Erickson, the up-and-coming Victoria, British Columbia, Canada-based synth pop quartet CROATIA are heavily influenced by 80s synth pop and New Wave, and as Canadian quartet tells me via email, they “aim to create their own meaningful — and at times, darker — alternative to conventional pop music.” Interestingly, “Make Circles” is the first single off their forthcoming Half Dreams EP, which is slated for release this spring — and while it marks the first recorded output with their new vocalist, the quartet pairs gossamer-like vocals with shimmering and ethereal, arpeggiated synths and soaring hooks punctuated with propulsive percussion to create a cinematic yet plaintive song that ironically points towards its own cliches as it thematically celebrates the ridiculous and cliched moments of intimacy (or what we think is intimacy) that we frequently find ourselves in, despite our best efforts. But interestingly, if it’s cliched, it suggests that while it may be beautiful and feel beautiful, that sometimes that intimacy may be rooted in something not quite our own, which should feel — well, awkward and disturbing.
Directed by Rob Willey at Tall Grass Films, the Canadian pop act tell me that the wanted to reflect the songs themes within the video as simply as possible while keeping each scene and every visual as engaging as possible. As Willey says in press notes, “The band first approached me with the idea of the opening shot: a cigarette burning in a kind of David Lynch style motel room. The original plan was to simply shoot various hands picking up the cigarette. We’d also shoot a few different images to overlay, including one of the band in the pink/blue light that I had set up. As soon as I saw the band in the light I became really excited about how vibrant it looked. We came up with a variety of ideas for shots on the fly as we were filming. During the editing process I wanted to cut and overlay the images together in a way that would really enhance the moodiness of the song.”
Interestingly, as the members of CROATIA note the last minute decision making that comprised the video shoot with the trust that it’ll turn out, was a secondary and subtle theme throughout the song — while the song may be about trusting that a new relationship may be worthwhile, the band does joke that the same went with trusting that being in a room for 4 hours or more with a group of strangers in s small garage with cheap cigarettes in the summer was kind of the same thing.