Seattle Producer STRES Highlights the Subtleties of Love with Music Video for "Act II (The Sea)" (KEXP Premiere)

Local Music, KEXP Premiere
Dusty Henry
Photo by Angel Ceballos

What defines romance? Is it grand gestures displaying your love out to the world? Or expressing your affection with words each day? Everyone will give their own answers on what they think is “romantic.” For some, you can feel it in quiet unspoken moments. That’s the type of love producer Sasha Bolof, aka STRES, displays in the music video for “Act II (The Sea)” from her forthcoming album, She/Her Me/You, out April 9 via Yellow Year Records. 

"The song is about taking a ferry with someone I care about,” Bolof tells KEXP. “The video is basically a visual representation. It's a queer couple who a very much in love taking a day trip to Bainbridge island." 

Bolof’s simple description of the video, directed by Chris Word, speaks volumes. The couple, played by Nearby’s Irene Barber and her wife Whitney Thoren, don’t do anything out of the ordinary in the video. They sit on the deck of the ferry, arm-in-arm, glowing under the sunlight in slow motion. They get coffee, walk on the beach, drink wine, and embrace. These are all things that sound nice enough on their own, but Bolof’s music soundtracking their actions accentuates the subtleties of the couple’s love. Hazy keys ring out against crunching drum samples. Bolof’s vocoder vocals weave in and out of the song, almost indiscernible. Combined with the dreamy lighting and pace of the video, “Act II (The Sea)” forces the viewer to slow down and appreciate how much Thoren and Barber show adoration for one another throughout the trip. From the ferry there and the ferry back, they hardly leave each other’s side. 

In an interview with City Arts earlier this year in which Bolof discusses her recent coming out as a trans woman and the title track to her album, she explains how she wrote the record while falling in love with a woman for the first time. She said, “A trans woman in love—what’s more radical than that?” With “Act II (The Sea)” and it’s accompanying video, she shows how radical love can be – even when it just looks like a boat ride and a walk on the beach. 

Watch the video below. 

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