When you think of musical couples, they usually follow one of two polar opposites: the cutesy duets like Sonny and Cher or doomed love in the style of Ike and Tina Turner.
But now there’s a couple on the music scene who are showing us how it’s done, without schmaltz or violence. Enter Pomplamoose, aka Nataly Dawn and Jack Conte, a band taking over the world through a healthy dose of creative mojo and a collection of glockenspiels.
This is a love story based on more than just a penchant for antique pianos and unusual musical instruments—since Jack and Nataly formed Pomplamoose in 2008, they’ve been creating music and making videos in a unique and inimitable style. Songs from Beyonce’s Single Ladies to Lady Gaga’s Telephone quickly gained the couple a following, and it didn’t take long to go from 10,000 to 50,000 subscribers. In fact, it almost happened overnight. Soon, they were even making enough money to support themselves.
It’s not just the songs—both covers and originals—sung in Nataly’s dulcet tones that create the hordes of loyal followers, it’s their unconventional videos that spring from their fertile imaginations. “We definitely spend way more time figuring out the song, and there are a lot of criteria that go into choosing the songs we cover,” explains Nataly. “Then once we do that, we realize we have to figure out what kind of video we make for it. That’s when Jack usually sits down with a notebook and listens to the song on repeat until he has an idea.”
And for their mashup of Lourde’s Grammy-winning song Royals with 2Pac’s California Love and Beck’s Loser, there needed to be a video that matched the musical genius. And by using nothing more than white foam core and a projector, Pomplamoose managed to produce one of the most inspired and interesting videos seen in recent memory. Rampant viral sharing brought the video to the attention our social media manager, who noticed a particular Epson-like shape to the projector. So we just had to reach out to the band to learn more.
“I was projecting an image on just a normal screen, moving objects on and off the screen to make it more three-dimensional,” Jack recounts. “I held up my hand in front of the screen to position something, and the image of a face appeared on my hand. I held up a piece of white card to make it clearer, and I started thinking—what if we sort of grabbed the corners and actually shaped each image to fit the white cards held up in three-dimensional space?”
A stationary video camera along with a handheld iPhone recorded the performance in a single take, and Jack liberally employed Final Cut Pro’s distort tool for the post-production work on the video. Posted on YouTube in November 2013, the video has over 650,000 views to date. Jack and Nataly liked the format so much they used it again for a video to illustrate their delightful Pharrell Mashup (Happy Get Lucky), which garnered over 200,000 views by the end of its second day on YouTube. If that wasn’t enough to describe its popularity, YouTube itself had this to say about the new Pomplamoose video: “Being that this is the most amazing music video on the Internet so far today, you’ve got to ask yourself, ‘Do I feel happy?’ Well, do you?” We can’t speak for everyone, but our answer is YES.
These are a few of the couple’s first forays back into Pomplamoose after a hiatus in 2011, after their popularity got a little overwhelming. “This side project that we really loved had turned into a bit of a monster,” Nataly remembers. “We took a few years off to focus on our solo careers, and it’s only in the last 12 months that we’ve been slowly revisiting Pomplamoose.” And with an album due to be released next month, their gradual revival of the band has increased rapidly. The duo tells us to expect several videos and songs to be released soon, followed by a U.S. and European tour.
Watch the two videos and check out their solo projects: Nataly’s album How I Knew Her and Jack’s EP Conte. Jack also started crowdfunding site Patreon, a website created to support creatives by connecting them with patrons of the arts. For more information on Pomplamoose and their upcoming tour, check out their the Pomplamoose website or their YouTube channel, Pomplamoose Music.
Photo courtesy: Pomplamoose