Velfete is a new video project from Danny Klimetz and Christina Nguyen that showcases artists in a more intimate setting than what is typically seen on stage.
Klimetz is a full-time freelance photographer who started a project similar to Velfete a few years ago called Oxford Sessions, but the project fizzled out due to some of his collaborators moving away. Nguyen had wanted to create a series of videos in the same vein as Oxford Sessions, so a mutual friend put her in touch with Klimetz and the two got to work.
“We had the concept for the project, but we didn’t know what to call it” said Klimetz. “We wanted to play of the idea of the velvet ditch. So we started mish mashing words together.”
Velfete combines the imagery of velvet ditch with the French word fête, which means celebration.
“We also didn’t want to be confined to just in Oxford,” said Nguyen. “We wanted to be able to branch out.”
The first video they released is with the artist Big Ramada, a solo project from Andy Guinn.
“I know Andy from Young Buffalo and Swear Tapes,” said Nguyen. “I’m always intrigued when there’s a guy in the background who no one pays attention to. He told me he was working on his own stuff and people were telling me how good it is. So I checked it out and we gave him a shot.”
The video was filmed in Will Eubanks’ cabin with the aim of having a bare-bones aesthetic meant to put as little as possible between the viewer and the artist.
“The concept is to go back to the raw talent,” said Klimetz. “That’s why we want do it at people’s homes, places where they write or where they feel inspired. It’s to get away from the production side of art and back to what is inspiring them to do what they love.”
For their shoots, they run a small camera and audio setup with no frills.
“It’s just two cameras—we’re not bringing a lot of lighting—and a simple mic setup,” said Klimetz. “It’s not pristine audio recording or pristine video recording. The hope is what you’re doing is getting the feeling of that place, that space that people perform in or sing in or write in.”
The two have a shoot lined up with Jimbo Mathus later this spring. After watching the Big Ramada video, Mathus wanted to be a subject of Velfete.
“He’s so excited about it,” said Nguyen. “He’s like, ‘Taylor, Mississippi, is my town and I want to do it at the cemetery where I get most of my inspiration.’ Then there’s this abandoned house where he stores a lot of his props and mannequins for his shows and we can do one there. It doesn’t have to be in their homes, just wherever they feel inspired.”
In addition to the video shoots, Velfete wants to branch out and collaborate with local businesses to host events for the artists they feature.
“We want to do pop-up shows and events around the artist,” said Klemitz. “It’s showcasing their work, so [we ask] how we can showcase them in a quality way.”
While the currently planned shoots are all for musicians, Klemitz and Ngyuen are interested in working with artists of different forms.
“We’ve talked with the arts council about how to bring in painters, poets, and authors. At the start we’re working with musicians because I think it’s easier to get musicians together and get the concept out,” said Klemitz. “But I’d love for [Velfete] to be some art house full of all different kinds of art.”
Velfete recently wrapped a shoot with Muscle Beach Records artist Harry Permezel before he departed for his hometown of Melbourne, Australia. The team expects to have that out by the end of February with more shoots planned including Kate Teague in March and Jimbo in April. Check out their website velfete.com to watch their Big Ramada video and keep up to date on all their new releases.