It's his sheer tenacity that has kept Mario Garibaldi at the forefront of Miami's music scene for close to two decades. He's served as the frontman of various outfits such as Modernage, Private School, and his recent solo project, Hunters of the Alps.
It's that determination that allowed Garibaldi to rethink the way he was creating music after years of collaborating with bandmates. After a three-year hiatus, he revived Hunters of the Alps, formerly a trio, as a one-man endeavor.
"My history has always been working with my band, opposed to reaching out to people who are completely outside of my space," Garibaldi explains. "But I got to say, it's gratifying. It's amazing."
Garibaldi's curiosity and newfound confidence drove him to explore and experiment with various genres and sounds and pushed him to collaborate with people who weren't directly involved with the project.
In June, Garibaldi was gearing up for Hunters of the Alps' long-awaited return with the single "Cul-De-Sac" and an accompanying music video. Then the pandemic put video production on hold.
"The delay mostly was because of COVID, not being able to do the video properly, so it took a little longer than expected," he says.
Garibaldi enlisted friend and former Miami resident Camila Saldarriaga, a Colombian-American director and multidisciplinary artist based in Los Angeles, to direct the video.
"[Saldarriaga] took the time, and she did it right," Garibaldi says. "Technically, I was originally supposed to be in the video and make a cameo, although I did not want to be the lead in the video, but COVID-related issues made that a little impossible."
With Garibaldi unable to travel to California to appear in the music video, the bicoastal collaborators cleverly found a way to make it happen. For instance, in the opening scene, Garibaldi's voice is used as the therapist's.
Garibaldi explains the video's concept: "We wanted to see how we could represent [the intent of the song's lyrics] visually, but also, because of all the things that have transpired from the beginning of the year, Corona, and inability, it started to look more like something you want to do but you can't do, so we went with that concept."
In May, Garibaldi told New Times that "Cul-De-Sac" tells the story of an unrequited middle-school crush he had. The shy pre-teen found it impossible to ask the girl he liked to dance at parties.
"Without reading too much into it, at the beginning of the video, [the actress] is having a conversation with what's presumed to be some sort of a therapist and she's recalling memories in which she is remembering certain parts of being with someone, and at the same time, not being with someone," he explains. "That was kind of the idea."
Saldarriaga's intent for the music video, he says, was to "not be too literal. Going with the chorus — which is 'I want you to touch me when we're dancing' — [we thought:] How do we represent that visually?" he says. "Basically, she has a fuzzy memory of traveling or trying to go somewhere that is not her place and, unfortunately, not being able to.
"The shot at the end, she ends with a dead-end, essentially that is what a cul-de-sac is. That's it. She is at peace with having attempted to do a certain amount of things. Maybe she didn't get there, but it's OK. Life moves on."
From the single's artwork, created by Peruvian artist Yerko Zlatar, to the single's production and arrangement by Miami's Firstworld, "Cul-De-Sac" is a work of passion created remotely due to the pandemic.
"In a weird way, this turned out to be an amazing collaboration with people that I admire," Garibaldi adds. "That goes to show you how it all worked out, remotely."
"Cul-De-Sac" will be released on all streaming platforms via Cosmica Records on Friday, October 9.