When it came to filming the video for “I Dreamt Blues,” the first song off of Portland-based Vikesh Kapoor’s upcoming concept album The Ballad of Willy Robbins, there was no other way to go but simple.
““I Dreamt Blues” is at once a ballad and an ode to dreams,” says Kapoor. “It was chosen as a first glimpse into The Ballad of Willy Robbins because it casts the widest light on what this album is about. Love, work, technology, government and apathy all exist in this song, providing a landscape-view of the album’s narrative.”
The Ballad of Willy Robbins tells the story of a working class man as he loses everything. “I Dreamt Blues” puts listeners at the beginning of that tale. “The song is a magnified, head-on portrait of our main character as he gives us an unguarded, lyrical song of resignation,” he says.
“Perhaps he’s singing directly to us, or to a lover, or perhaps he’s not singing aloud at all – just to the thoughts in his head. At best, he’s taking a long look at what’s left before him, as his dreams become hazy, his days remain numbered, and his hopes begin to disappear.”
The video, which is a live performance of “I Dreamt Blues,” was shot at the Portland Playhouse, an old church turned theatre. Filming in the theatre meant working around the sets for the company’s current production. “The set of the play was for a sci-fi,” says Kapoor. “We were worried that the blue astroturf walls were going to ruin the vibe of the night. It didn’t matter. Once the lights went low, it became a significant moment shared with my oldest songwriting friend, Barna Howard and also Alela Diane, a Portland songwriter whom I admire.”
The Ballad of Willy Robbins is out October 15.