Like a Phoenix in the Sun

Haris Cizmic – “Like a Phoenix in the Sun” – Single + Music video – 2022

It’s spooky, grainy, black and white, hopeless and definitely dark. Strange visuals (which would in some other setting feel almost romantic) with morphing and changing faces, large black eyes and a deep, depressive feeling of hopelessness and loss are what (in short) define this music video. Love it or hate it, once you start this visual/audio journey, it’s hard to stop it before it ends. There is a surprising bridge where the song stops, and a slow, music box-like tune takes over (accompanied by some very emotional visuals shown in flashbacks) bringing the song to it’s crescendo ending (which is also surprising with a modulated chorus, a wall of guitars and colorful visuals that look as if they are coming from the “Depths of Hell” – which is actually listed in the credits among other locations where this video was filmed). In short – it’s a WOW moment which leaves viewers with strong need to reflect on their own lives and choices. It sounds strange, yes. But then again, everything about this song & video is strange.

“Like a Phoenix In The Sun” is the latest music video by Haris Cizmic (facebook.com/hariscizmicmusic), a longtime musician, leader of his previous bands AXA and INGRAY (who won the title of Hard Rock’s Ambassadors of Rock in Detroit, toured with some of the well known rock/metal bands and played several US & European festivals, among other achievements) and who’s debut album “AWAY” almost got them a contract with a big record label – which didn’t happen only because the band fell apart during the initial talks with the label’s representatives.

Currently residing in Europe, after writing music for film and theatre, Haris released several solo albums and singles and most recently started singing on his songs himself.

-On his singing so late in the career:

“I know I am not a born singer”, Haris says. “Currently I do so many projects and campaigns, that I simply don’t have time to do collaborations as I used to. Usually I would have established girl singers perform my songs in past – “And I also always wanted to try singing myself. I am aware of my limitations, but I’ve decided that I do “identify” as someone who can sing:) Also this song is very personal to me, and I wanted to take a risk and to try it. Some comments and reviews point to my singing abilities and some are not. Some are even saying that they really like my singing on this song. I do believe that I’ve brought some very intimate, emotional element to it, since I’m dealing with my own demons and I hope that it cuts through more than the imperfections in the color of my voice. But I am open for criticism, it helps me learn and grow as an author and a musician.

-About the new video:

“It was a DIY project, with a minimal budget to cover a couple actors, a camera man and snacks. I’ve then edited it myself. The good thing is that I do design, video and animation for living, so it turned the way I wanted it, without cutting too many corners in the process. The whole story is kinda what’s happening in our hero’s mind in the last seconds of his life, since he…well…jumped off the bridge. It’s not too obvious and clear what happened, actually. I like playing with retrospectives and flashbacks, so the main linear story gets hidden in a way, leaving enough space for viewers to make their own decisions. I’ve treated some of my other videos, as well as some short films I’ve made the same way, sometimes intentionally hiding the main plot so much that I had to eventually explain it to people (laughter).

So here, the guy’s brain is starting to play strange pictures in his head and that’s why faces are distorting and phantoms are appearing (singing harmonies in few scenes), his brain is just fading out… But it’s really not easy to figure it out, at first. The video starts with the graveyard, it’s all already happened and done.

Regarding colors and added grain, I was always a huge fan of Antoin Corbijn’s treatment of early Depeche Mode’s videos. I’ve tried many times to emulate that look and feel. So this video is an attempt to imitate his film look and some of his photographic directing ideas. In the end we see colors, because it’s the part when the whole “Phoenix in the Sun” thing is happening, with fire, sparks and everything, so it felt appropriate to introduce color at that point. Also it makes it a little bit more interesting at the end.”

– On the song itself and it’s production:

“I recorded a song on my Macbook, in my flat where I also work (remotely). Then I recorded my vocals at the local music studio “Amadeus”, I sent all those rough tracks to my friend Chris Lieck (24 times Grammy nominated producer from Texas), where his engineers made the song sound really cool and even made my voice tolerable (laughter). This song itself is something I started writing 11 years ago (when I got divorced back then), then I shelved it until I remembered it again this year, after my (most recent) divorce. I changed and finished it and decided to make it happen. So yes, the song is dark as hell, depressing and morbid – but it’s a result of, not one, but two divorces!”

One thing is certain – This video has a lot of emotional charge, it’s dark and hopeless but there is a (potential) spark of hope in the end. Or not…It’s up to the viewer to decide.

Watch the video here: https://youtu.be/xndb6En8B7A

Author
Haris Cizmic