Written by K. L Graham
To be clear, Cory B. Clay’s The Jukebox Romeos is a video production team, specializing in all sorts of music content and even feature films. But the marriage between music and film is elegantly weaved through all of his work.
“It’s all in our slogan ‘We See Music.’ It’s all in that line. I live my life on two stages, either on set or on a musical stage. Any day I spend on one of those is a good day. It always puts a smile on my face when people ask me if that’s my band. We make visual music.”
Sounds amazing right? And The Jukebox Romeos have tons to share with you. “Currently our new photography studio that’s in Cannery Row, we are filling up our book with clients over there. I am working on a slate of feature films with a partner out of Chicago Illinois… I’m working on a commercial project in Los Angeles for the medical industry. I am in also in developing a project with Youtube and with my partners at Live Alliance for some live music content at SXSW in Austin this year.”
Not only is getting ready for SXSW but Cory’s company has produced music videos for greats like Kid Rock, Gretchen Wilson and Big Smo among others.
“Director of Photographer means I direct the photography. In a perfect scenario, if you turn off the sound if you are only left with the images, the DP (Director of photography) is in charge of telling the story visually that you are experiencing, that you are enjoying.”
And enjoy you will. Between his luscious portraits and artistic “motion photography” Cory’s work is something to watch. Cory says what he loves most about film is “That it is a natural progression and culmination of all of the fine arts.” That said, music has always been wrapped up and around his filming endeavors.
“One of the more inspiring film experience I ever had in 1994 was seeing Pink Floyd in concert and the film that had been created to go along with the song ‘Shine on you Crazy Diamond’ live and in the moment, really inspiring. Both the content and the experiment of marrying that visual and the sound of the band performing live. Absolutely one of the more pivotal experiences that made me want to pursue film school and ultimately made me create The Juke box Romeos. There was a time in my life where my two passions were at war with one another until I realized I was unnecessarily pitting them against one another when really it was my destiny to fuse them together. The Jukebox Romeos are just that. I think it was something I was born to do.”
Quoting Jerry Garcia and Marcel Proust, Cory explains how he “pre-visualizes” his projects, only to go back in the moment and try things with totally differently eyes, often changing point of view. By playing with concepts and turning his pre-conceived notions topsy-turvy Clay says “I find that to be enjoyable. It keeps things fresh.”
“For me cinematography is very similar to music, because it is a visual language where I see a very strong parallel…For me, that’s a given, that music and film are never mutually exclusive.”
Cory’s team that makes up The Jukebox Romeos is imperative to the company’s success.
He says “There is a reason why Ringo Starr was the only drummer for the Beatles. It’s the same reason Thelma Schoonmaker is the only editor for Martin Scorsese.”
Luckily for his client’s Cory doesn’t play favorites when it comes to genre “I like it all. I enjoy rock, country, hip hop, pop, country/pop, indie rock… I mean ya know I wish someone would hire me to do a jazz/classical music video. The satisfaction of attempting something like that would be so extraordinary.”
Like Robert Redford before him, Cory has always found that jazz music played an integral part in his artistic upbringing and vision, but it is country music that has brought him an influx of clients, friends and accolades.
Clay can’t be pinned down to just one city though. A graduate of Webster University in St Louis and UCLA extensive program, he says “I’m a gypsy after three weeks in any one place I start to get the itch a little bit. Travel and changing the backdrop inspires me. I think Nashville has a lot to offer and that fusion of the simplicity of a smaller town and the rewards of cultural complexity that comes with a bigger city.”
Cory B. Clay and his Jukebox Romeo’s “are principally based out of LA but I live and work in Nashville since 2011.” As big city as he may seem, Clay is originally from Mark Twain’s small hometown of Hannibal Missouri.
Referring to Mark Twain, Clay explains “Kurt Vonnegant once said ‘We all descend from the pen of one master.’ He was the first truly American voice in literature. It’s often been said he attempted to write in the way that Americans spoke.”
It would seem that Mr. Clay and his company extend that tradition with their slogan “We See Music.” The American voice, the music, the sound, is ever changing. Akin to that of the famed voyage of two boys travelling through America’s waters, and through the eyes of The Jukebox Romeo’s delightful gaze on the upcoming musician’s of the world, we get to see that too.
To see more of Cory B. Clay’s take on American music and visual media, and to find about more about Cory, The Jukebox Romeos and even his band Cory B. Clay and The Twains just visit: