Music Industry News Network [02-11-2013]

P.J. Pacifico's Unsettling New Video - Shot Entirely On An IPhone - Mines The Insanity Within Christopher Cross’ ‘Sailing’



Unsettling Video -- Shot Entirely on an iPhone -- Reinterprets a Well-Known Song

P.J. Pacifico Mines the ‘Insanity’ Within Christopher Cross’ ‘Sailing’, and Gives the Song a Creepy Twist

A Video Shoot So Challenging, the Director’s Pulse is One of the Many Causes of Camera Shake

Pacifico Sets Spring Tour With Garrison Starr

Singer-songwriter P.J. Pacifico mines the ‘insanity’ within Christopher Cross’ ‘Sailing’, and gives the song a creepy twist in his new music video, shot entirely on an iPhone. Utilizing an array of special lenses, filters, a ‘Turtleback’ jacket, motion stabilizers, quick Twelve Monkeys/Fight Club-style edits, and more, Pacifico and Director Seth Wiley craft a bizarre counterpoint to a song whose lyrics could arguably be reinterpreted as applying to someone who is unhinged, or at least, ‘on the borderline...’

“It's not far back to sanity, at least it's not for me”; “Fantasy, it gets the best of me, when I’m sailing…won’t you believe me?” Pacifico’s video follows that sanity/insanity question to a compelling place, requiring a close viewing to catch all the subliminal-ish cutaways. The end result is not as overtly dark as Pearl Jam’s ‘Jeremy’, for example, but it is wonderfully peculiar and unsettling. VEVO world premiered the clip today:

Directly Seth Wiley discusses the genesis of the ‘Sailing’ video, tech specs, and the challenges of shooting the clip (including his iPhone-camera-shaking pulse!): PJ and I were on the same page from the start that the worst thing would be to go and shoot him on a sailboat, strumming and looking at the waves. We knew we wanted to be handheld and dirty as a counterpoint to the song. He also wanted to stay away from lip-synching a performance -- he wanted to be as cinema verite as possible. His label Viper Records wanted do something interesting with the track, but keep it small, so I was looking to get small everywhere, including the camera. We decided to use this thing called the Turtleback ( ,) which is a jacket that allows you to mount high quality lenses onto the iPhone. We rented a number of Canon EF lenses, but ended up shooting the whole video on the Canon 24mm EF and the Canon 15mm EF lenses mounted to my iPhone 4. Turtleback comes with an app for the iPhone that allows for some calibration and control of the image, then the shot gets stored on your iPhone like any video clip until you sync with your computer.

We learned a couple of things shooting this way: because the lens mount is passive and doesn't communicate with the electronics inside the EF lens like your SLR would, there's no controlling the aperture, so you're always shooting wide open. This fit right in with our "make this as dirty looking as possible" plan, with the inherent focus challenges that come with wide open. Also, the mount just sucks up the light. The Turtleback mount focuses an image onto a ground glass for the iPhone to photograph, so even wide open, we could never get enough light. And handheld on this mounted iPhone sets a new standard in camera shake. Even with these wide lenses a handheld shot has so much movement in it because the iPhone is so small and hard to make steady. In the edit I noticed that in some shots there's a rhythmic jerking -- thump, thump, thump. It dawned on me that it was being caused by my pulse.

We shot this as dirty and verite as you can shoot something, and Final Cut Pro X did nothing but solve our problems. We used Final Cut's Image Stabilization effect on almost every shot to try and take out some of the camera shake. Since we didn't have any lights on location, we used the 'Spot' effect to get an extra stop of exposure onto PJ's face. The color was left pretty much how it came out of the camera. There was talk of adding a film grain effect, but in the end we thought it was dirty enough.

PJ was absolutely great to work with. He's really open to ideas and will commit a hundred percent. He really pushed hard for this to be gritty and weird and different than anything he'd done in the past. This was my first time shooting this way, and PJ's attitude made it happen.

iPhone 4
Turtleback jacket with Canon EF lens mount
Canon EF 24mm
Canon EF 15mm
Final Cut Pro X

1980’s smash ‘Sailing’ is featured on Pacific’s new Viper Records CD ‘Surface’. ‘Sailing’ was a career-defining #1 hit for Cross --a Grammy Award Winner for Record Of The Year, Song of the Year and Arrangement of the Year, and is credited for helping Cross win the Best New Artist Grammy as well.  It was produced by Michael Omartian (‘We Are The World’,) and appeared on Cross’ eponymous debut album. Pacifico has given the seminal track a modern take…maintaining its essential dreamy quality while infusing it with a subtle darkness.

Over the past two years, pop/rock singer-songwriter P.J. Pacifico has evolved from beloved under-the-radar, CT road warrior to an internationally-respected indie to be reckoned with, praised in such media outlets as M Music & Musicians Magazine, iTunes Editorial, and scores of other print, web and television placements throughout the U.S.  Reviewers have repeatedly compared him to Paul Simon, James Taylor, Matthew Sweet and others, while embracing his live performance chops and upbeat, radio-friendly songwriting. With influences including The Smiths, Morrissey and Del Amitri, Pacifico shines on, ‘Surface’. Listen to audio samples, here:

In recent months, reviews have praised ‘Surface’ as Pacifico’s “finest work to date,” while interviews have chronicled his successes of the past year. A samplingof reviews follows. In the months ahead, Pacifico will release the second radio single from his album, and embark on a Spring  tour of the U.S., including multiple dates with Garrison Starr.

Here is the current Spring tour itinerary – more dates will be added:
2/27 - Radio Bean - Burlington, VT (solo)
3/1 - Salt Hill Pub - Hanover, NH (solo)
3/2 - Salt Hill Pub - Lebanon, NH (solo)
3/6 - Barking Spider - Cleveland, OH (solo)
3/9 - S.P.A.C.E. - Chicago, IL (w/ Garrison Starr)
3/10 - Uncle Slayton's - Louisville, KY (w/ Garrison Starr)
3/11 - live performance on Great Day Live ABC TV - Louisville, KY
3/11 - Stageit Show (w/ Garrison Starr) - Anywhere - stream at:
3/14 - live performance on FOX Birmingham TV news show
3/14 - The Red Cat - Birmingham, AL (w/ Garrison Starr)
3/15 - The Bluebird Cafe - Nashville, TN (w/ Garrison Starr)
3/16 - Eddie's Attic - Atlanta, GA (w/ Garrison Starr)
3/20 - The Altamont Theatre - Asheville, NC (w/ Garrison Starr)
3/22 - Tin Angel - Philadelphia, PA (w/ Garrison Starr)
3/23 - Acoustic Cafe (w/ Garrison Starr) - Bridgeport, CT
3/24 - Rockwood Music Hall - New York, NY (w/ Garrison Starr)

Read his recent feature from THE HOUR in Connecticut:
‘Surface’ was released to early radio strength, including a #33 placement on the nation’s Top 40 Indie Chart. The album’s first singles, the cinematic ‘Champions & Guardians’ and the propulsive ‘Half Wishing’, both earned VEVO video premieres, and reviews described the album as “emotionally honest and sincere,” highlighting tracks as “Pacifico at his best.” In addition to this early traction in the U.S., Pacifico has become somewhat of a radio phenomenon in Holland, following his recent tour of the Netherlands. Champions & Guardians went to AC, Hot AC and Triple A Radio last week.

The new album is a sure-handed nine-song pop-rock collection, using personal experiences as a spark but ultimately crafting universal tales of survival, a belief in hard work, paying your dues and forward motion. Pacifico’s evolution as a songwriter is evident on the abovementioned singles, the reflective, centerpiece title track, and ‘It’ll Never End’, a song with subtle references to mortality and to Pacifico’s appreciation of life as a cancer survivor.  

Watch the video for Top 40 Hit ‘Half Wishing’ on Vevo:
Watch the video for ‘Champions and Guardians’ on Vevo:

Year in Review interview, via Chris Junior’s MEDLEYVILLE.US:  BELOW THE SURFACE
P.J. Pacifico shares specifics about his recent efforts
WILDYSWORLD – 4.5 star CD review  BY WILDY HASKELL 10/19/12

Watch live appearance by P.J. on CT STYLE WTNH-TV, in advance of a local charity performance:

BLOGCRITICS – by Jack Goodstein, 8/27/12 (excerpts)

NORWALK HOUR – CT – Interview - Mike Horyczun, 9/12/12
P.J. Pacifico's tour brings him homeward bound  By
THE RECORD-JOURNAL in CT By Jim Pasinski, 8/17/12 – CD Review
Connecticut-native Pacifico was also recently highlighted in the Westport News:

P.J. performed on ABC-TV’s CT STYLE in Connecticut:

Pacifico regularly tours the U.S., and recently made his concert debut in Belgium and the Netherlands. He was included in a GOURMET MAGAZINE article about musicians and their eating habits while on tour:

Concert Tours Get a Health Kick  By Lisa Tolin 5/2/12 

Released prior to ‘Surface’, Pacifico’s acclaimed last album was a live, solo acoustic EP, offered as a free download by Viper Records ( The songs were recorded in direct response to his fans’ wishes, and captured Pacifico in concert (in a church!,) unadorned and raw. Critics weighed with universal raves: the album is “a great testament to P.J.’s talents for performing live. His voice is in perfect form...”  “He may sound like James Taylor, but he writes like Paul Simon — stubbornly hopeful but pulling absolutely no punches, and sometimes filled with doubt.” “It is not every artist that can hold the stage on his own; P. J. Pacifico has absolutely no problem...”

During 2011 and early 2012, Pacifico was embraced by national and regional media, made multiple television appearances, and cemented his presence as a important new voice on the music scene. Critics have put Pacifico in heady company, with repeated comparisons to such performers as Paul Simon, James Taylor, Duncan Sheik, Evan Dando, Lemonheads, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Matthew Sweet, Gin Blossoms and more. iTunes Editorial buzzed that his 2011 CD ‘Outlet’ contained “bright folk and pop songs that explode with hooks,” and M Music & Musicians Magazine simply stated that Pacifico “could be huge.” Viper’s promotional Ad aired on NBC-TV, ABC-TV & Lifetime Network:
Get a further taste of ‘Outlet’ via this music video for the standout track, ‘Lakeshore Drive’: Behind-the-scenes footage and interview here, via HIP Video Spotlight: Watch the official music video for ‘Heads Up’:

Prior press coverage includes:


iTunes Editorial Review

Yahoo News syndicated Pacifico’s live performance and interview on ABC-TV News ‘Great Day Live’ in Louisville:

FOX TV News featured Pacifico during a tour stop in Birmingham:

The ABC-TV affiliate in Rochester, NY featured a lengthy interview and performance segment by Pacifico:

THE CW NETWORK/WGN-TV live performance:,0,1972376.story

Technorati, syndicated via Blogcritics –
 By Jack Goodstein, 5/2012


P.J. Pacifico loves to come home to perform
BLOGTALK RADIO - iTunes Podcast - Lengthy interview segment –
P.J. Pacifico on FOX6 News at Noon – Interview and Performance

STAMFORD ADVOCATE By Scott Gargan, June 28, 2011
P.J. Pacifico connects to fans through his music

More About P.J. Pacifico
Critically acclaimed singer-songwriter P.J. Pacifico’s sound has been described as “a jam session between James Taylor and Matthew Sweet,” with some classic rock influences thrown in for good measure. His songs feel immediately familiar and comfortable; straight from the heart and sure to get stuck in your head. Pacifico tours on a regular basis – a series of solo and full band dates; both as a headliner and as an opening act for several certified legends. has shared the stage with Crosby, Stills & Nash, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Sugarland, Hank Williams Jr., Levon Helm, Leon Russell, Bob Weir & Ratdog, The Wailers, The Low Anthem, Donavon Frankenreiter, Dar Williams, Guster, moe., Ryan Shaw, and Sean Kelly of The Samples. His trademark brand of warm, inviting, hook-filled songs, the themes of love and survival, redemption and recovery, have endeared him to a growing number of fans from coast-to-coast. He saw breakthrough success with ‘Outlet’, and looks to build on the growth with the strong new album, ‘Surface’.

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