Xavia Chen's charming animated music video for Amber Kuo's newest monitor

Amber Kuo is a mandopop singer and actress and, after an eight year hiatus, will release her new album this summer on her own record label Nomad City Records. As a foretaste of what's to come, this week she's releasing a track from the album called A Scarlet Riding Hood. Taipei-based 2D animator Xavia Chen worked with Kuo to create a cute, illustrated music video for it.

“The music video is inspired by the fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood. I named my song after that too. The story of the song inevitably turned into a fairy tale, illustrated with illustrations and expressing emotions beyond words and music, ”says Kuo.

Above and above: Creative process drawings from Xavia Chen's sketchbook

"After listening to the music, I felt like I was running and running with the foxes and rabbits in the animation," added Chen. “The feeling of encountering this song is very strange. It's a story that piqued a corner in my head, even though it comes from Amber's writing. "

The style is naive, charming and reminiscent of past videos by the London collective Schynola. Kuo and Chen met through mutual friends and worked on the promo together. “Basically, I started my creation with Amber's text and music, then I drew the pictures and slowly put together the whole feel of this music video,” explains Chen.

“Since I'm used to using non-narrative animation methods, I first disassembled the story and then visually re-composed it. For me, I don't follow the traditional creative process. Amber also likes to let me follow my own method. This trust saves us a lot of communication effort and also enables me to continue my motivated creation until completion. "

Given the pandemic restrictions in place, Kuo and Chen have still not met in person, but the couple believe the process went smoothly despite the distance. “With Xaiva's simple and purely creative illustration, I wanted to accurately portray the story,” says Kuo. "That's why we hardly made any changes from the process to the final delivery and everything was born so naturally!"

Chen listened to the track constantly throughout the project so the visuals were really inspired by the music. She also wanted to keep a mindset of complete freedom. “The challenge was to think too much and end up drawing something unnatural. The original idea was to animate a girl's diary with elements like stickers, colored pencils, and origami, ”explains Chen.

First rabbit drawings from Xavia Chen's sketchbook

“This approach can very easily become unnatural because of too much thought or inadvertently being guided by standard thoughts. For example, thinking too much about what a rabbit should look like. And what a fox should look like. When a child draws, they can even draw whatever they want. Delivering the innocent expression of the little girl in the animation was like playing a part myself. "

Chen believes that animation and music are perfect partners to complement each other, and Kuo shares that feeling. “(Animation) has the ability and power to refine the core expression of music, and this animation makes me so happy,” she says.

Character drawing by Xavia Chen

An Amber Kuo Scarlet Riding Hood is now available. The album Vol.13-1986 The Journey of Sleepless Sheep is due to be released on Nomad City Records in summer 2021; @xaviamy