Monterrey's Video Sees the World in a "New Light"

Monterrey Photo by Shareef Habib
"It's a different take on a love song," says Monterrey's Roger del Pino of the electronica outfit's latest single, "New Light." "It was about finding new love while you're also chasing a dream. I looked back at my own path when I was finding where I was going in making music."

Del Pino tells New Times over the phone that "New Light" was another step in his continued attempt to find comfort as a frontman of a band even though it's a position he's already held for five years now.

"I wasn't supposed to be the frontperson of Monterrey," he admits. "It was intended for a woman to sing the songs. Ever since, I've tried to mold myself into a lead."

To further challenge himself, Del Pino decided "New Light" would have more bare vocals than he was accustomed to delivering.

"I was more vulnerable, more wet than you'd expect from chillwave," he says."I took off all the effects and tried to make it as intimate as I could."

The song was the band's second collaboration with producer Firstworld after last spring's song "Terrarium."

"He went through all our songs, and these were the first ones that stood out to him," Del Pino elaborates. "He helped us both condense and flesh out everything."

Del Pino thinks the appeal of "New Light" stems from how the tone of the lyrics changes over the course of the song.

"The first half had these romantic lyrics, then the second half of the song shifts into a different gear. It goes from sober into a drunkish, overwhelmed, almost disheveled kind of state," he explains.

For the song's video, though, the band wanted the visuals to be much more pristine.

"The artist Yonson made the cover design. He really tapped into the theme of love, and I wanted to keep running with that image," Del Pino says. "I liked this idea of having two celestial beings and having them intimately caress each other."
The video was shot in a studio in Doral after a last-minute air-conditioning snafu.

"It was going to be at the warehouse where we rehearse. We were going to shoot it in front of a greenscreen, but then the AC broke," he says. "We were lucky the cinematographer had the studio. It made everything look better."

After rounding up glittery props — from crystals and flowers to the type of plasma ball you normally in science museums — they shot the entire video in one single, long day.

"It was a huge undertaking for a video as far as anything I'd ever done, but it was really worth it," Del Pino explains. "The video came together, and it gave me a chance to work with some talented people."

The band is hopeful to work on a live video of the song as well.

"We tried to do one with ['Terrarium'], but with all our masks on, it didn't come out right," he admits. "We'll throw our masks on for this one too and hope for the best."

Monterrey is also hoping to have another single out, featuring guest vocals from Miami-born, Los Angeles-based singer Calica, out in January.

But right now, the focus is on "New Light."

It's a song whose message on mixing romance with music, and you have to believe it had a major effect on Del Pino's psyche. After the single's release, he proposed to his long-time girlfriend while on vacation in New England.
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David Rolland is a freelance music writer for Miami New Times. His novels, The End of the Century and Yo-Yo, are available at many fine booksellers.
Contact: David Rolland