Stephano Barberis; the Greek-Canadian music video director, who over his 20-year career has directed 174 music videos and won multiple “Music Video Director of the Year” awards in Canada, has decided — for now — to switch gears from directing videos, to making music.
Speaking with Greek Reporter, Barberis, who is recognized nationally for designing country, pop and rap music videos for numerous musicians, said that it was completely “by fluke” that he started directing music videos, and that it “just happened”.
“I don’t really have control of anything in my life — things just happened, because I never went to film school,” says Barberis.
After high-school Barberis, who said he was originally interested in urban planning and wanted to become a city planner, spent many years attending various higher institutions in Metro Vancouver, including Simon Fraser University, Kwantlen College, and Douglas College.
However, every so often the institutions kept changing the curriculum for urban planning so, he decided it was time for a change.
Although all his friends started questioning his decision on spending so many years in universities and colleges when it was clear to them that he was an artist, Barberis still chose to go on and enroll at BCIT (British Columbia Institute of Technology), in the marketing program instead.
“All my friends started saying, ‘I don’t know what you’re doing’ because I had spent so many years in universities and colleges educating myself when I should really have been doing something more artistic,” said Barberis.
After graduating from BCIT though and cleaning up a whole bunch of awards in marketing, Barberis got a summer job where he was given the opportunity to work for a film production company that at the time was producing a country music video.
One day at work he happened to be present during a long meeting with the artist. The artist had been given a big grant for the music video and was not pleased with the director’s ideas. Barberis, who was just there as an assistant to the producer — and in his own words ‘a loose cannon’ — blurted out his opinion of how they should be doing the video.
To everyone’s surprise and in spite of the producer and director’s displeasure, the artist was ecstatic, absolutely loved Barberis’ idea and went on to say, that was how the video would be done, explains Barberis.
“The producer was not very happy with me though,” laughs Barberis, “but after that, I was sort of thrown into directing the video and I had three assistant directors helping me too because I had no film experience of my own.”
The artist for that first video was Maple Ridge native and country singer, Rick Tippe.
Tippe had him do many more videos after that, which seemed strange to Barberis, because at the time, country music wasn’t even his forte.
Slowly though he started making more country music videos — but of course with a twist.
After that lucky day 20 years ago at the film production company, Barberis’ career flourished and he has been directing music videos ever since.
“When I was a kid, I would be playing with my Star Wars characters and I would say to my friends, ‘you can’t stand there, that’s where the camera would be’,” reminisces Barberis and continues to explain that somehow he always knew that this was what he would be doing in his life.
In a turn of events though, on Friday May 18, the award-winning music video director released an album of new electronic-pop music, under the name Breathe of My Leaves. Just for fun, Barberis put together a 13-song album called Chimera, which is available on both Spotify and Apple Music.
The Chimera album is a compilation of hyper electronica sounds — mostly instrumentals. Barberis’ passion for synth-pop bands, such as Erasure, is revealed in his music.
Tracks from the album include Glowing Pacific, Love You Lately, Dancing With My Hallucinations, Ooh Ooh (Coconuts from Nunavut) and the Greek-inspired song named for one of the Greek artists that he admires, Haris Alexiou
Greek Reporter asked Barberis what made him decide to turn his attention to making music, and like everything else in his life he says, “it just happened and was just for fun”.
Barberis told Greek Reporter that his Greek heritage has definitely played a role and influenced his work directing videos and making music, as well — something which is evident in his song Haris Alexiou, from the Chimera album.
Barberis’ latest director’s reel, Phantasmagoria (above), which is the fifth of his career, is a collection of images he has taken from his recent music videos made for other artists, and was also released on May 18.
Recently Barberis wrote: “Every few years, I get a feeling deep inside me to take stock of all that I’ve done – maybe to re-centre myself – maybe to remind myself and others what I’ve done so far. Music videos are fleeting and last a few months, then they kind of evaporate a bit into the ether. I usually release reels during emotional times for me or when there’s some upheaval, but this one just feels celebratory. I’m just so happy where I am at this point and what I’ve accomplished, and I feel I’ve only just begun, so Phantasmagoria is a statement of confidence and ardour.”
“This is the fifth director’s reel of my career and I’m so fortunate to have so many loving and supportive people around me – from my industry to my personal life.”
He continues to say: “I’ve just released my second album “Chimera” as Breathe Of My Leaves last same Friday, and my reel features music from my new album. Basically, it’ll be 100% me in music and in visuals.”
On his personal Facebook page, Barberis concludes, “I dream, I create, and I hope I move you emotionally and inspire you at least to make your lives a more entertaining, magical, and better place, even just a little.”
Chimera album samplerTrack 2: “Love You Lately” feat. Jordan Gant- Album out May 18th –
Posted by Breathe Of My Leaves on Sunday, May 6, 2018
Above is the new single from the new album Chimera — sampler Track 2: “Love You Lately” feat with Jordan Gant. Chimera is the second album he has made under the name Breathe of My Leaves.
Barberis was born and raised in Kitimat — a town in the north coast part of British Columbia — in a Greek Canadian environment, before moving to Vancouver to go to university.
Over the span of his career so far, Barberis has quietly earned the crown of most highly awarded music video director in Canadian history, fortifying his mantle with 36 national and provincial directorial and video awards out of over 70 nominations. The director’s videos have racked up millions of YouTube views and more than 60 official top 20 video hits, including 21 national and international #1’s.
Something tells us though, that we have not heard the last of Stephanos Barberis and what he has in store for us, since as he has hinted — future plans include directing his very first feature film.
Chimera album samplerTrack 9: “Haris Alexiou”- Album out May 18th –
Posted by Breathe Of My Leaves on Sunday, May 13, 2018
Above is a sample from the track Haris Alexiou