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VERTTIGO Premiere New Single, “Snow Angels” 

The Edmonton dream pop outfit find love on a skating rink. 

by Stephan Boissonneault 

Hazy, ethereal vocals, bright synth chords, and discordant guitar work together to create a new wave goth daydream in VERTTIGO’s new video single, “Snow Angels.” 

The vocals, sung by K A R Í M A H, and backed up by bassist, Ryan Rathjen, are eerie and tough to make out, which only adds to the dark allure of the track. Filmed at an outdoor skating rink in the band’s hometown of Edmonton, the video features imagery of a gorgeous figure skating duet with mystical and sometimes kaleidoscopic cinematography during a snowstorm. There’s a vague dream-like story being told on the ice; old love dying under the moonlight, waiting and making space for new life. 

“Snow Angels” is the second single from VERTTIGO, who recently signed with LA-based Dum Dum Records. RANGE spoke with Rathjen about the concept behind “Snow Angels,” working with national figure skaters, and the mesmerizing nature of prairie winters.

This might be one of the best dream pop videos that made me feel like I was actually in a dream. Can you talk about the initial ideas for the concept and how it all played out?

The concept was inspired by this great outdoor rink we have in Edmonton called the Victoria Skate Oval. Various members of the band frequent it, and it’s a great spot for dates, so it has a bit of a romantic aura around it. The concept became a reality when local filmmaker and producer Chase Gardiner and Morgan Gold got on board for the collaboration. From there we were able to connect with national-level competitive figure skating pair Mackenzie Mah and Mikala Cutler. They absolutely blew us away with their performance. Something of note is, the “Snow Angels” video shoot would be their final skate together as a pair. So I feel it really added some gravity and emotion to their performance. 

From there we had a crew of 15 other friends pitch in their time to do a long outdoor shoot on a frozen winter night. Special shout-outs to Quinn Enright for styling the shoot and Bev Destroys for the costume design.

While the video does feel very hopeful and positive, it feels like there might be something more sinister lurking in the shadows.

Yeah it is definitely supposed to give off the dream-like state of love and euphoria, but also the darkness and struggle associated with love. There are two sides to everything.

Were you guys on skates the whole time? And that must be fake snow?

The band didn’t skate at all, it was the figure skating pair. As far as the snow goes, I guess that’s a part of the mystery.

For VERTTIGO, what is “Snow Angels” about?

It draws parallels between the changing of seasons and the changing of hearts. With winter and with love, things will inevitably die. These past feelings sometimes can haunt us and leave us reliving the past. I think the idea of dancing in the moonlight speaks to honouring the memories but also letting them go and making space for new life & new love. The “Holding onto heaven” lyric speaks to thinking of the ghosts of previous relationships & reflecting inwards. As someone might do when they stare into the night sky and the Aurora Borealis.

Are there any bands that influenced this track at all? 

From what I remember, Cocteau Twins and Beach House were a heavy influence on this track. But of course a lot of ‘80s new wave and ‘90s shoegaze as well. We draw inspiration from all over the place.

Edmonton winters are known to be vicious and cruel. Is VERTTIGO trying to change the message?

I think VERTTIGO was shining the spotlight on the beauty that can be found in the long Canadian winters. It not only inspires the sound of the music but our whole Aesthetic. Nothing is more goth than endless dark winter nights. Canada is made for goths.