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Tobias the Owl's NPR Tiny Desk 2019 entry

On Sunday I filmed Tobias the Owl’s entry (Sing Me to Sleep) for this year’s NPR Tiny Desk competition. Tobias the Owl is one of my favorite Seattle bands, and I’ve been lucky to catch a lot of their shows. One of the things I appreciate about the band is its flexibility and creativity. Elijah Dhavvan fronts the band, but he makes space for a variety of musicians and singers. You might catch a solo (Dhavvan only) show at SEATAC one day and a full five person band the following night. I like hearing how those changes affect the songs.

On Sunday it was Elijah on guitar and vocals accompanied by Aleida Gehrels on viola and Bill Panks on violin. I loved watching close-up how Aleida and Bill kept in step with one another while also following Elijah’s lead. They make a complex act seem deceptively easily. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a music writer. The words I kept thinking of were graceful and simple (in the minimal and unadorned sense). I think a good example of this comes at about the 2:30 mark. Watch as Aleida, in the center, keeps everything in balance (that’s just my interpretation, musically it could be a completely inaccurate analysis!).

I shot this video with a Fujifilm X-H1 with a Zoom H5 and a Røde Videomicro. I wish I could have done a BTS video or photo essay showing the gear, but after juggling a lot of competing schedules, we put this together pretty quickly to take advantage of a small scheduling window. One nice thing about that was that it forced me to very quickly assemble my lightweight run and gun video/photography/audio kit.