Dream Theater – Weekend Lovers Creates Psychotropic Realm on Vibrant ‘Baby’ Video

Weekend Lovers delightfully brings the vivid, hallucinogenic dream world of REM sleep to life.

The Tucson, Arizona dream pop-post rock collective unveils a kaleidoscopic collage of masked fashionable friends, trippy desert adventures and vintage landline phones on their latest video for “Baby.”

“I wanted a nonlinear narrative, and the song is told in bites as a tale of emotions. I think our brains also remember things not necessarily in order, and I wanted some of the best visuals I took over the course of some time,” said Marta DeLeon, Weekend Lovers’ vocalist-bassist.

“It’s basically a day in the life of my life in Tucson, and the city is one of the characters too representing the southwest and its beauty. Thrift and dollar store finds and the Halloween section at Target brought the fantasy mood and props to help my cast be funny or interpretive.”

As the video’s director, DeLeon intricately stitched together a series of brief psychedelic vignettes through a Videoleap app on her iPhone. Together, those colorful scenes created the carefree, experimental world depicted in “Baby” along with additional footage from Luke Ralston.

“I carry my iPhone everywhere, so there were more opportunities to shoot things I’d run into daily in my life that might be cool little visuals. Videoleap is a more developed aka Instagram venture with abilities like timing, speed, filters and mixers that allowed me to overlay the double exposure you see,” she said.

“That really helped me pull together all the 2-second to 4-second videos I was strewing together and gave the overall video some seamless pace and movement. I already had some random quirky storyboard images, and I love movies and write lyrics cinematically.”

DeLeon also recruited a fun cast of bandmates and friends to reside within her psychotropic realm. Along with Jungle Jazzy and Laura Eliason, Weekend Lovers’ Brandon Douglas (keys, guitars, backup vocals), Danny Perez (guitar) and Gabriela Lisk (drums, guitars) join DeLeon throughout “Baby.”

“I can’t really say the song wouldn’t soar as well or hit as much without Gaby Lisk or Danny Perez. I wrote the song with this Portishead bassline and vocal phrasing, but Gaby’s hard joyous drum downbeat propelled the opening ‘ooh-ahhs.’ Danny’s guitar is a creepy, crawling beauty, but then his smacking, slinky strumming hits you in the face,” said DeLeon, who’s inspired by shadows and murals in Tucson’s Barrio Viejo neighborhood.

“My engineer Matt Rendon came up with the backup vocals, which give the chorus its tension musically and emotional necessary angst. They were all open to my preconceived ideas with the props or locations. Some moments were just great mistakes.”

Along with her Weekend Lovers bandmates, DeLeon initially birthed the track for “Baby” in January 2020 before including it on their whimsical, haunting debut album, I Love U in Real Life. Vibrant, alternating electric guitar, tingling cymbals, jumpy bass, pounding drums and spooky synth uncover a destructive romantic relationship and the sleepless nights that accompany it.

DeLeon reveals, “Don’t worry me it’s not my arms you want, it’s just the way they bend/I wanna sleep throughout this life, instead of waiting round again/I’m not so sweet, you’re not as wild as that, it’s just the way it ends/I’m not the seat for you to ride upon to get to where you’re at.”

“I’m pretty pleased that it represents a sinister song of betrayal with a smile on its face. I was really woken up by text messages that are represented as lyrics from this person late at night, and I’m an insomniac already.  My very sick mom was in the next room sleeping, which added to the strife and weird absurdity of that person’s effect on me. A total disconnect – I lost my dreams literally,” she said.

I Love U in Real Life

Each “I Love U in Real Life” track addresses internal struggles with personal relationships, life changes and tragic losses. Artwork – Ed Beltran

As the opening track on I Love U in Real Life, “Baby” prompts DeLeon and Weekend Lovers to deeply straddle the delicate line between dreams and reality across nine introspective, stirring tales. Each successive track allows listeners to examine their internal struggles with personal relationships, life changes and tragic losses.

“It was pretty much everything I was writing and playing with the band, and it was mostly written in 2019. It is introspective with stuff that was going on with my family, and there was a lot of estrangement off and on throughout that year and the year before that,” said DeLeon, who released Weekend Lovers’ debut album in November.

“I kind of missed my life in New York and my support system there because I was there for so long. I was getting my heart broken sometimes too by people here, and those were the things that motivated me to write. For the ones that went on the record or sounded good with Danny and Gaby, it took shape very quickly. I was lucky that I could go and record with Matt.”

Together, DeLeon and Rendon (drums, guitars, keys, backup vocals) shaped I Love U in Real Life at Tucson’s Midtown Island Studio with a rotating collective of collaborators, including Perez (guitar), Lisk (drums), Nelene DeGuzman (keys, guitar, backup vocals), Nicky Cobham-Morgese (drums), Mariah McCammond (violin) and Chris Pena (keys).

“Matt has a very old-fashioned studio that’s 8-track and analog, but he knows how to work everything. He loves vintages things, and he loves The Beach Boys and The Mamas & the Papas. All the backup vocals, which I had never done with any of my old bands in New York, were his idea. He’s singing with me, and he adds like ‘50s-‘60s backup vocals. My bandmates also started singing backup vocals, and they liked it, too,” she said.

Throughout I Love U in Real Life, DeLeon and Rendon seamlessly blend grungy, atmospheric and post-rock sensibilities with thrashy, driving basslines to capture the project’s airy, romantic and emotive feel. One of the album’s standout modern-meets-vintage tracks, “Big as the Dark,” quickly engulfs listeners with crashing cymbals, throbbing bass, propulsive drums and fuzzy, sheeny electric guitars.

In tandem, DeLeon exposes the vast sadness and murkiness of trying to save a sinking relationship. She reflects, “Oh I’m gonna write you a new song/Who loved you when you were really wrong?/Who told you that you were really strong?/Who loved you when you were you?”

“For ‘As Big as the Dark,’ I really didn’t know what to do with it. I thought it would be a little more like PJ Harvey meets Echo & the Bunnymen. Danny ended up playing a little more psychedelic or like Sonic Youth, which is fun. I thought it was going to be more like a Cat Power kind of song, but it ended up being a total rock song. When we play it live, it’s very intense, and the audience loves that,” said DeLeon, who’s inspired by Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix and Prince.

Audiences also will adore Weekend Lovers’ lo-fi, spellbinding cover of George Michael’s “Father Figure,” which elegantly wraps calm bass, clacking drums, delicate cymbals, vivid electric guitars and sparkling keys into the timeless Faith classic.

DeLeon beautifully sings, “That’s all I wanted/But sometimes love can be mistaken/For a crime/That’s all I wanted/Just to see my baby’s/Blue eyes shine/This time I think that my lover/Understands me/If we have faith in each other/Then we can be/Strong, baby.”

“‘Father Figure’ was a little more in my range and the way I sing. I really like that song a lot, and I was trying to write a song like that for Weekend Lovers. I like it when a girl sings a guy song and vice versa. This is a song that everybody knows, and it’s got to be a little more mainstream,” said DeLeon, who relocated to Tucson from Brooklyn in 2016.

“There’s something about the Faith album; it’s very R&B-influenced, and he’s putting out his sexuality. It’s an interesting pop culture microcosm, and I look back on it and appreciate it. George Michael was a very interesting person.”

Marta DeLeon (center) and Weekend Lovers combine dream pop and post rock with grungy alt rock sensibilities. Photo – Sean Louis

After celebrating George Michael’s soulful legacy, DeLeon begins a personal metamorphosis on “Larvae Love” as swift drums, bouncy bass, jingling cymbals and rooted electric guitars enwrap her.

She reveals, “Give it up and start another chase/She’s the first one so she never came/I would wake up to you lying dead/I keep remembering that you would never feel this way/You keep forgetting that it was always different pain.”

“I was trying to think of a love that’s like an incubation, but kind of bratty. The love never blossomed or became what it wanted to be or what the people wanted it to be. It was reckless and focused on moving on to the next thing,” DeLeon said.

Since dropping I Love U in Real Life in late 2020, DeLeon is eager to write, record and release new material later this year. She’s teaming up Rendon again in the studio and wants to record a new video for “Father Figure” or “Larvae Love” soon.

“It’s probably going to be singles for the time being from predicting this COVID head of two to three months. I think people just listen to singles, and that’s the reason I released half the record that way,” she said.

“As for the video, the theme is pink, and some other friends will be in it to round out a cast of five to eight. Dancing, movement, humor and skating will reappear. I’m leaning toward longer clips to montage it together, which might be quicker editing-wise. But I’m not one to make things easy on myself.”

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