Singer-songwriter Van Plating is releasing her new music video for her single “The Way Down” co-written with Bryan Elijah Smith, which has received praise from numerous media outlets. Van Plating released her self-titled album in 2019 after a nine-year hiatus from music.
She began working on new music in 2020 and says, “I am always writing. I work on music every single day, whether I’m performing or not. I have probably written somewhere in the neighbourhood of 30-40 songs since January, and “Bird On A Wire” is the first one to be released from this latest body of work, pandemic be damned!”
Since that time, she’s released several singles, “Bird On A Wire,” “The Way Down,” and “Fallin’ Angel.”
“This is throwing me, my hands in the air, leaning into the downside and making it into a line dance through the low times. You’re feeling sad, but it’s cool.”
Who/what were some influences when it came to writing the song?
We wrote this song in the middle of the night outside under the Virginia stars with a bottle of Malbec between us. It had a very Damien Rice feel to it initially, and then as we delved into the hook, I added a little bit of embellishment to the first line on the chorus, very reminiscent of Dolores O’Riordan from The Cranberries. I honestly still can hardly believe a song I wrote mostly in my sleep turned out as well as it did. There’s something to be said for getting out of the way of the work, isn’t there? I was too tired to have a filter lyrically, too tired to edit myself musically, and it turned out to be a really cool balance of raw, raspy, and ethereal all combined, which is very true to who I am as an artist. The arrangement is a mashup of Feist meets Damien Rice meets Spoon. I love how Bryan’s backing vocal adds that extra layer of haunting to the song.
What is this song about?
This song is one of those pieces of work that told me what it was after I wrote it. I didn’t have any intention while writing it, so transcribing the lyric from my improv during our writing session was very telling. I was at rock bottom, but I was dancing along to my own melody. It’s about when life sucks; instead of fighting it, you just let yourself feel it all and live in that moment, doing your best to dance through lament. “I ain’t nothin’, but I’m feelin’ cool. Are you feeling cool?” It’s not always helpful to try to just snap out of it when life is hard. If you don’t let yourself feel it all, you can’t really grow through to the other side. Of course, we all disassociate sometimes. We have to do that once in a while to survive and make it through the day. But when I’m feeling brave, I like to lean in and dance with the dark instead.
Any cool/funny/interesting stories from making the video?
When we were making the video, we thought it would be cool to start in the little apartment where I’ve been staying during our recording sessions because it had such a good light. I made a daily habit of taking a walk around the neighborhood each morning pre-session. Virginia is very hilly around the Shenandoah Valley, and there’s mountains kind of off in the distance all around. It’s a beautiful place to take a walk in the morning. Anyway one morning I had climbed up the hill at the top of the street where I was staying and sort of turned around and I was taken aback by how beautiful the view was. Like the overgrown kid I am, I scrambled up the wall you see in the video and just took it all in, walking along the ridge of that wall, for a few minutes. I decided right then and there that I wanted to climb to the top of this wall during the music video for “The Way Down.” The wall that I’m standing on doesn’t look very tall in the video, but if if you look at the roof lines behind me it’s a sheer drop on the other side of the wall to the street below—in fact the house closest to me in the video—that’s second-floor windows and it has a walkout basement, so pretty tall! Bryan was a little bit worried about me falling to my death so it was fun to watch him film/squirm while I stood up there jamming, inches from certain doom. It was exhilarating.