See What Happened at the Lo-Fi Cherokee Music Video Shoot This Year
When St. Louis filmmaker Bill Streeter shot his first video in 2012 at apparel shop STL-Style, he never imagined his audiovisual experiment, Lo-Fi Cherokee, would ultimately produce more than 100 music videos from local artists.
“Almost every little success I’ve had in my life has been the result of messing around, trying something I never thought would become anything, and then realizing, ‘Wow, this actually works,’” Streeter says of Lo-Fi Cherokee.
The event is now a staple of the eclectic South City street, in which Streeter and his 20-person crew shoot 14 to 18 videos from local musicians in a single day. All of this year’s acts were recorded at different businesses along Cherokee Street on April 6.
Randy Vines, co-owner of STL-Style, says that when Streeter approached the store eight years ago with the idea for Lo-Fi, he and his brother—and store co-owner—Jeff did not hesitate to join the project.
“We knew the stuff he did was always cool,” says Vines. “When he said it was a pairing of local independent businesses and local independent musicians, it was a no-brainer. That’s a natural fit; it exposes the diversity of creative spaces and people along a very interesting street.”
Streeter says he is surprised by the cult following the event has developed over the years in spite of a shoestring budget. “We didn’t tell anybody we were doing it that first year—we were just experimenting—but people inevitably started following us around and they told us we should do it every year,” he explains.
One of this year’s Lo-Fi Cherokee acts is singer-songwriter Tonina Saputo, who performed at Earthbound Beer. Not expecting many people to show up at her shoot, Saputo was pleasantly surprised by the amount of support she received. She says having a professionally produced music video to send to promoters, labels and agents is a big help to musicians. “The fact that Lo-Fi does that for free, it’s a dream come true for many artists who have little to no budget for a video.”
Lo-Fi Cherokee is funded through sponsorships and fees that the businesses pay to host the video shoots. “Taking music out of context and recording music videos where you wouldn’t necessarily see musicians playing is one of the reasons for this event,” Streeter says. “It’s never been a thing where we ask the public for money.”
Saputo says the event will help expand the reach of her music and that of other participating musicians. “The St. Louis music scene is very supportive, yet very segregated,” she says. “People go out and pay to watch their friends or colleagues within their genre play. However, there really isn’t any cross-genre support in my opinion. By supporting Lo-Fi Cherokee, you support local musicians by widening their platform.”
Featured image: Tonina Saputo performs at Earthbound Beer on April 6.
Images courtesy of Lo-Fi Cherokee.