I’m really excited that I finally get to release my first music video for my song MAPS. Last November my friend John Ryan Flaherty shot the video at an abandoned house in North Carolina. The concept was my idea and with the help of my friends I think we pulled off exactly what I wanted. We collected all the wine bottles from a dumpster behind a wine bar. My mom spent hours cleaning them and peeling the labels and it took us half the night to prep them with candles and dripping wax. The candles ended up being the only source of light for the entire video. Aside from the wine bottles the set was completely natural. The hymnals on the stairs, the dirt and dust already existed and was waiting for us to show up. When we got to the house we boarded up the windows so the candle light wouldn’t be visible from the outside. One of my biggest fears was that someone would see us and kick us out before we got a chance to finish filming. (Or that something would catch on fire, but Allie had a fire extinguisher just in case.)
I remember that November night was really cold. After each take my body would start shaking and I realized my fingers were numb. Allie put her jacket over my shoulders to help the shivering for a few moments between each take.
November was a particularly difficult time in my life. My emotions were running really high and after each take I started to lose it a little more and more. It eventually got to the point that I was breaking down so hard that I couldn’t really sing anymore. I think towards the end everyone was crying or on the verge of crying. We ended up not using a lot of those shots because it was too much. The video still has those elements running through it without the heaviness of completely falling apart. Once it got to that point we decided we had enough footage and wrapped the shoot.
I wrote Maps while I was driving at night lost in the Blue Ridge Mountains. I didn’t have a signal and my maps weren’t working. My guitar was sitting in the passenger seat and I pulled over on the side of the road and began writing. On the surface it seems like it’s about lost love and that is partly true. But what most people don’t know is that more than being physically lost, I also felt spiritually and emotionally lost. I was trying to find my way with just bits and pieces of what was left of myself and the love that I had. Nothing seemed to point in the direction I needed to go. Sometimes I still get that feeling, the one where you can’t discern the map of your own life. I’m learning to embrace this journey, even when I feel lost and don’t know which turn to take next.
I want to thank everyone who made this happen. Thank you Allie Stoller for being my oldest friend and the rock I can lean on and for taking meaningful pictures Thank you John Ryan for filming and editing maps even though it seemed to take a year. Thank you Matt Bell for your knowledge, assisting and for you beautiful film photos. Thank you Trey Bruce for producing maps and for surprising me with your haunting vocals. Thank you Kaci for letting me wear your dress and helping me with the wine bottles. Thank you mom and dad for your support and love. And finally, thank you Wes for loving me, supporting me, inspiring me and for helping me find my way.
-Matt Bell photo
I hope you enjoy this little piece of art and I hope you learn to embrace your journey even when you’re lost.
Music & Lyrics: Lauren Jenkins
Produced by: Trey Bruce