Bed Signs talks pushing the boundaries of artistic innovation with AI technology

Bed Signs talks pushing the boundaries of artistic innovation with AI technology

Happy Mag

Charlotte-based indie duo, Bed Signs, is making waves in the music industry with their dreamy pop sound and innovative use of AI technology.

When it comes to indie music, few bands can compare to the captivating sound of Bed Signs, the Charlotte, North Carolina duo that is taking the music world by storm. With their dreamy pop vibe and innovative use of AI technology, Bed signs have been able to captivate audiences and create a unique sound that is truly their own.

In their latest album, Silver Lining Breakdown, Bed Signs has taken their use of AI technology to new heights, using it to create stunning artwork that is inspired by the lyrics and concepts of their music. In a recent interview with Happy, Chris and Casey of Bed Signs discussed their latest single, “Veronica Ruse,” and its accompanying music video.

“Veronica Ruse” is a hauntingly beautiful song that showcases Bed Signs’ ability to push the boundaries of traditional art forms. Using AI technology, they were able to create renderings of famous artists’ styles such as Grant Wood, Andrew Wyeth, and Edward Hopper, resulting in a visual representation of the music that is both stunning and innovative.

During the interview, Bed Signs explained the painstaking technical work that went into creating the video and the selection process for choosing which artworks to recreate. They also discussed the rationale behind their use of AI technology and how it sparks a conversation about the role of technology in the creative process.

Bed Signs’ use of AI technology has not gone unnoticed, as the music video for “Veronica Ruse” has been selected for the finals of the AI International Film Festival for Best Music Video, making Bed Signs pioneers in the use of AI technology in music videos.

The inspiration for “Veronica Ruse” was shared by Casey, who recalled how Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl” became inappropriate when her boss dedicated it to her. Chris also discussed the rationale behind the music video and shared his excitement about using AI to create the music video and exploring the concept of having famous artists illustrate their video.

Overall, Bed Signs continues to push the boundaries of indie music and redefine what is possible with their innovative use of AI technology. Their ability to captivate audiences with their dreamy pop sound and stunning visuals makes them a force to be reckoned with in the music industry.

Happy: Veronica Ruse seems to be about a specific “brown-eyed girl.” Can you elaborate on how you created this character in the song? 

Casey: Although I am a proud brown-eyed girl, I can’t stand that Van Morrison song…lol. 

I imagine every brown-eyed girl can agree it’s overdone and unlike the unique anthem it aims to be. 

In my song, “Veronica Ruse,” I am recalling a time the Van Morrison song was “dedicated” to me in a commemorative Powerpoint by my boss, and it was all just really inappropriate. 

The character in the song feels exploited, embarrassed, and just wants to move on. 

Happy: What did a typical day look like when recording Silver Lining Breakdown? 

Casey: The process felt very prolific. Songs were coming to us throughout the days and even in the middle of the nights.

We sent A LOT of text messages and voice memos. At one point, I even apologised to Chris’ wife about blowing him up so frequently, as if he was my personal journal! 

Sometimes the melodies and words would come fully formed, and other times it felt like putting together a complicated puzzle. 

My family got used to me randomly recording voice memos throughout the day, and there are a lot of kid/laundry/background noises on the original demos. 

Happy: Can you explain the rationale behind the music video for Veronica Ruse? 

Chris: It started as a concept messing around with Dall-E 2, the AI software that had just come out (from the same company that would very shortly thereafter release chatGPT) and trying to figure out a way to illustrate the lyrics. 

The AI was able to let us get really creative and find out what some of our favourite artists might have created based on the concepts and lyrics from the song. 

Then we just put together the different outcomes: So for example, the viewer gets to see how Grant Wood would paint the same lyric or concept side by side with Edward Hopper and Andrew Wyeth. 

Happy: How did you choose which artworks to recreate? 

Chris: At the end of the video we take each of the 3 artists most famous paintings and let Dall-E make some slight changes of it’s own – just to show what it can do…but all of the other “paintings” in the video are AI renderings of what it “thinks” the particular artist would have done based on a concept or specific lyric we fed it. Those are all bed signs/DALL-E 2 originals! 

Happy: Why did you decide to use AI for the music video? 

Chris: Well – it was brand new when we 1st started messing with it – I mean like the 2nd week after it’s release – and we were asking it to make paintings of all kinds of funny or interesting things “in the style of…” just for fun, when it dawned on us how amazing, interesting, and provocative it could be if we paired it with the music and made a video somehow…and that’s when we started moving forward. 

But also the challenge of maybe being one of the 1st to use the technology to make a video and to be able to explore the concept of having famous artists illustrate your video – was very exciting. 

The video was selected and is in the finals next week (May 12-14th) of the AI International Film Festival being held in Park City, UT for “Best Music Video” – so we feel like we did hit the mark with the concept and are super proud of the video. 

Happy: I can imagine the algorithms and technical skills needed for the video must’ve been painstaking. Can you elaborate on the behind-the-scenes creation of the music video?

Chris: The hardest part was the amazing images – which the AI (DALL-E 2) did for us in mind boggling speed! 

It created over 850 images in all, taking only about 15-30 seconds to create each one.

For us humans though, the hard parts were: 1. Finding a way to “animate” the still images in a way that would be interesting to the viewer, 2. Putting the images together and matching them up one at a time, and 3. Making those images fit the video format. In simple terms – DALL-E 2 makes square images and we needed rectangles to fit video screen formats like youtube or a theatre screen. 

So, yes – I probably spent roughly 100 hours working on piecing it together… 

Happy: Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks is one our my all-time favourite artworks. What are some of your favourite works by the artists who inspired the Veronica Ruse music video? 

Chris: Nighthawks is great for sure…I mean come on! Also, I always loved Christina’s World from Andrew Wyeth and Edward Hopper’s Morning Sun. 

My partner in crime in making the video Joe Cornelius – he is a local filmmaker here in Charlotte, North Carolina – really loved Grant Wood – who I was not as familiar with except for American Gothic, which is iconic of course. He introduced me to one called “Spring In Town” that’s since become a favourite. 

Happy: Much has been discussed about the use of AI in music. Do you see technology like this as more of a hindrance or an aid? 

Chris: During this process we started out seeing it as something scary, but once we dove in and worked with it, we realised it can be an amazing tool and helped us create something we frankly could not have done without it. I mean, I guess the worry is that we humans will be replaced as artists by these machines – but I don’t see that happening. To answer your question directly though, I think AI is this incredible aid that can help us unlock our creativity and go into new places as artists. 

Happy: What is the music scene like in Charlotte, and in North Carolina more broadly? 

Chris: I think Charlotte has some great bands that haven’t “made it” YET, (like most biggish-cities probably) – Modern Moxie and DreamBoat are two off the top of my head, both amazing in my opinion, your readers should check them out…!!!! 

North Carolina has some bigger acts that you are probably aware of like the Avett Brothers and a band that we are very big fans of – Sylvan Esso. 

Happy:  Let’s take a walk down memory lane. How did bed signs come to be, and how did you land on the band name?

Chris: Casey and I have known each other for years, and have crossed paths on the Charlotte, NC music scene in different projects multiple times before coming together to make this record. 

We both were kinda burnt out on working in larger bands and I think decided on a concept that really appealed to both of us at the time: a DUO. 

Casey would handle all the melodies and lyrics and I would handle the instrumentation and arrangements. The idea was always to make a record, not necessarily form a band. 

Also, the pandemic hit, where playing live was a no go anyway and getting together was out of the question. 

So we started crafting the songs from voice memos, texted mp3’s, emails and sending those back and forth. 

Then eventually we safely social distanced, got in my home studio and recorded them. 

Chris: The band name came from maybe a mislabeling in my head of a certain type of indie rock called: “bedroom pop”, (I think!). I thought what we were doing when we made the LP was the literal version of bedroom pop because we…well, kinda made it in our bedrooms! 

…so I guess to me – the songs that we created together are literally the: “bed signs”. BTW – I didn’t realise until starting an instagram account that the name might also attract a certain “adult” demographic so to speak, but oh well – everyone is welcome! 

Casey: I also think “bed signs” references dreams: like songs, they are a means to process the past/present and prophesize the future. Our dream–or bed–lives reveal all kinds of signs. 

Chris: I like Casey’s answer better…  

Happy: What makes you happy? 

Casey: Simple things … Blasting a great song driving with the windows down; Tasty food, good drink, and fun company; Sleeping in; Good Sex; Colourful sunsets; Climbing in bed after a day of hard work… 

Chris: A really good Cheesesteak

Happy Mag