In a case of pandemic life imitating art, the surreal new video for Zaac Pick’s latest song is as prophetic as they come.
For “Lighter Side Of Blue,” the former Surrey-based musician is filmed strolling the streets, parks and parkades of Vancouver at a time when nobody else is around – no easy task when filmmakers Zachary Vague and Sterling Larose shot the four-minute clip at the beginning of February.
“That’s another sort of weird coincidence in all this,” Pick said in a phone call from his home in Vancouver. “We had this idea of floating around the streets at night when everything’s empty, and it’s a weird thing that that has actually happened. You know, it was a bit difficult to find spots where nobody was around, with no SkyTrains going by or whatever, but now that’s not so difficult or weird anymore.”
The quiet song, a first single from Pick’s forthcoming new Passages album, explores the theme of hopefulness in times of darkness, with a reminder that those feelings can be temporary — that ultimately, moving to “the lighter side of blue” is always possible.
Pick said he’s aware that some people would prefer happier-sounding songs to lift the mood right now.
“I’ve debated whether this kind of song makes sense to release at this moment, but truthfully the music that’s helped me through so many tough times has been more on the side of melancholy.”
So far, those who’ve watched the video on Youtube seem to agree.
“Beautiful sound and writing and great video,” posted James Twitchett. “I love the hint of light in the darkness, warmth in the cold. This song grips me.”
Added Scott Anderson: “It’s a song that pulls you in, and lyric that sinks in too.”
Pick’s Passages album is due out later this year, with tour plans to match. But amid the COVID-19 pandemic, everything’s up in the air.
“I have kids and they’re not in school right now, and we don’t have childcare at the moment, so my wife and I are trying to figure out a way to work at home while raising kids and also educate them, keep them engaged,” Pick explained.
“For myself, I had tour plans that were just coming together for later in the year and some other events coming up, and all that evaporated pretty quickly. It’s a lot to juggle every day and just figure out how you’re supposed to work, what life looks like and what expectations should be.”
— Zaac Pick (@zaacpick) April 6, 2020
Originally from Medicine Hat, Pick moved to the Langley/Surrey area in the early 2000s and found work in Doubting Paris, a band later signed – and then dropped – by an American record label. He ventured out on his own to release a string of EPs and an LP that earned him regional songwriting awards and nominations.
“That area near the library is a good spot for those outdoor events,” Pick said.
“You guys throw a great party in Surrey,” he added with a laugh.
Pick said he wrote “Lighter Side Of Blue” at “a low point” a few years ago.
“As often happens in my life, putting the words into a song and sing about it makes me feel better,” he said.
“I’ve been really blown away by messages I’ve been sent, both publicly and privately, from people who have been feeling the same way, people with anxiety or depression,” he added. “There’s a weird guilt that happens sometimes – you know, ‘I shouldn’t feel like that, my life isn’t that bad, I should just suck it up.’ But when you just suck it up you end up just repressing things instead of figuring out how to work through them and become a more healthy, whole person.”
Online, visit Pick at zaacpick.com.