Conflicted is the point on your journey when you begin to feel lost. Your feelings intensify as the internal turmoil you face begins to mount. In the end you realize you’ve lost security and trust in yourself and the world around you. "Who’s going to set me free?"
G - Written summer 2014, Conflicted was the first track created on Polaris. The verses & concept of the song were written by Marcile, the chorus was added later by myself.
M - Conflicted is my baby, that's the most honest way to describe what this song is to me. It is my child, birthed out of hardship and turmoil, but beautiful nonetheless. So much of me, who I am and what I feel is intricately woven into the whole meaning of it. It pulls on so many emotions, expertly brought to full expression with Garrett's production and chorus writing. Conflicted is about fear and faith, confusion and hope. It's about doubt, questioning, wrestling, searching and getting honest. It is a snapshot of a mind so delicate and volatile. One that wars with itself, reasons with God, and is drawn to, yet suspicious of, the world. Conflicted is a confrontation of the deep inner battles that we all experience at times.
G - Conflicted is one of three tracks on this album pulling inspiration from Bayeux Cathedral in Bayeux, France (pictured above). When I was 16 I visited this space and the memory stuck with me my whole life. When visiting this space you feel divinity, safety and spirituality but also gothic and mysterious inclinations. It is a place of worship but also a grave. It is haunting and beautiful. Simply being here and experiencing this space inspired many sonic elements in Conflicted.
This track is also one of three tracks containing classical vocals by Alida Doornberg, pictured above. Alida is a cousin of mine on my mothers side, who's entire family stands as a massive creative inspiration to me. Having her on this track really means the world to me and is a dream come true for me. I visualize her haunting & divine soprano echoing through the halls of Bayeux Cathedral as I hear her vocal rise up in Conflicted.
M - I've always been amazed by Lakreme aka Auntie's voice (pictured with me above). I remember when I was younger I would listen to cassette tapes of her music group 'Emerge' and be in awe. I would tell everyone, every chance I got that she was the best singer I knew. Auntie's work on Conflicted delivered this same level of awe (if not more) for me. She never ceases to amaze with what she can do with her incredibly melodic voice & boss harmonies. She really brought substance and full bodied support to the song, giving it exactly what it needed to take it to the next level. The moment we heard her on this track was the moment we knew she would play a key supportive role on the rest of the album.
G - The video for Conflicted (above) stands as a major accomplishment for Marcile and I. The whole process of how we pulled this video off still baffles me. I was at the gym listening to Conflicted when Marcile texted me asking if I had any idea what we were going to do for it's music video. I realized I had not given thought to that yet. I closed my eyes and thought for a moment what it would look like, and I am extremely proud to say that what you see above is almost exactly what I imagined, to a T. Given the song's meaning and connection to Marcile, I wanted the video to portray numbness on the surface (represented by the scenes of Marcile in the white room, staring off, blankly), juxtaposed against a raging storm of explosive inner confusion, conflict, fear, and "lostness" (represented by the chorus imagery). The two worlds begin to collide; the inner turmoil begins to break through the surface. This "fighting" is what the video portrays.
Directed by myself, the video was shot partially in the nearest major city to us, Edmonton (Alberta) in a small photographer's studio (first photo below). This was Phase I of the video's creation, involving close up, studio lit scenes in a cyclorama environment. We had no idea a cyc wall existed in Edmonton, a city not commonly known for film & entertainment. Special thank you to Umar Junaid, who was able to let us into this studio and help us with lighting that day.
Next was Phase II, shot in the basement of my sister's house (of all places). We needed a space we could shoot in for free and since she was gone on a business trip she allowed us to use her basement for the night. That day I raced out of work, rented as many strobe lights as I could fit into my trunk, brought it all to my sister's basement, set everything up as the sun set & just went for it. With the help of my cousin Anne Gengler, we captured the projector overlay & strobe light scenes that appear in the chorus. Below I've included three dimly lit photos from this shoot.
The Final Phase of this video's creation had us flying to the Arts District in L.A. to meet videographer Charles Bergquist and tackle the entrancing slow motion scenes. Working with Charles was an absolute dream come true. The small team he put together for the shoot (himself DP, Katrina Adair 1st AC, Brian Williamson Lead Gaffer, Elaina Karras H+MUA) became like family to Marcile and I and were an inspiration to work with. Below I've included a behind the scenes video showing how the slow motion scenes were made, a photo of Charles' Phantom Flex 4k (the camera that made the shoot possible), a photo of Elaina and Marcile getting ready before the shoot and a photo of Charles, Katrina and I at dinner after the shoot. Memories for life! An incredible artistic experience as director.