Oakland-based band Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, fronted by singer-songwriter Thao Nguyen, just released the new music video for “Pure Cinema” from their recent album Temple. The video is very DIY and features Thao and her bandmates performing from their own homes. A trend in music videos that we’ve been seeing a lot of during COVID-19 and our government’s request to stay home. The video is directed by Justin Mitchell, a filmmaker, and Los Angeles native, who has also done work with Death Cab For Cutie, The Postal Service, Phoebe Bridgers, and Jenny Lewis.
Thao notes, “‘Pure Cinema’ is about taking stock of how adrift I’ve been, in every sense of the word. It’s very easy to feel lost and alone even as you are surrounded by people. I’ve had a very compromised relationship to touring over the years. If you’re not right with yourself it is only going to be exaggerated as you cast yourself out into the world. I’ve floated above my life for a long time; I’ve landed now. It makes me so happy to see my bandmates settled and happy in their own homes and lives, as I am in mine. ‘Pure Cinema’ is a cautionary tale and also an encouragement to keep faith and keep building home and family.”
The band’s fifth studio album, Temple is currently available for streaming on all major platforms. Thao teamed up with longtime bandmate Adam Thompson to produce the record; he also shares writing credits on five songs. It is the first Get Down Stay Down record to be self-produced. No longer keeping her queer identity quiet this album is among Thao’s most open and honest work yet.
In reference to her career choices, Thao exclaimed, “I have divided myself into so many selves. I am nervous but hopeful that in belonging to myself, I can still belong to my family, and my Vietnamese community, especially the elders. I believe that shame has made my work more general when I’ve always wanted to be specific. This record is about me finally being specific. If you listen to my music, I want you to know who you are dealing with.”
Thao almost didn’t make another album after “A Man Alive” which was released in 2016. She felt that rock music no longer was capable of saying what she needed to express. However, as many of you may know, making music is a necessary part of feeling like our true selves. Thus, thankfully, we can all take a listen to her newest album Temple.