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A Reverie to Reality

Under the glowing lights that line the chic and charming University Avenue in downtown Palo Alto, an indie band performs their debut single “Maybe It’s A Sign.” Hardly anyone is around in the early hours of the morning, allowing the members of Reverie to film their first music video.

Inspired by other local bands in the area, Julia Segal, founder of Quarantunes, yearned to join a band, leading her to reach out to friends and classmates to form what is now Reverie the band. The name, Reverie, which means “daydream” in French, was thought to perfectly encapsulate their laid-back style. Segal describes their genre as “pop focused with jazz elements and jazzy chords.”

Segal is the main vocalist and Maddy Druker, a classmate from choir class and now a freshman at Colgate University, sings back-up vocals. Greg Kochnev and Nick Ferguson were enlisted to become the bassist and guitarist, respectively, and finally Brindha Jaeger, Segal's neighbor, is on drums.

Guitarist Nick Ferguson, main vocalist Julia Segal, drummer Brindha Jaeger, back-up vocalist Maddy Druker, and bassist Greg Kochnev film a music video for their debut single "Maybe It's A Sign" in the middle of University Avenue in Palo Alto.

During the pre-COVID era, Reverie frequented neighborhood cafes, playing regular gigs at the Backyard Brew among other performances at venues such as the Jewish Museum in downtown San Francisco. However, they adapted to unprecedented circumstances and continued practicing with the intent of releasing a single and a music video.

The inspiration for “Maybe It’s A Sign” fell upon Segal during a party last summer while she encountered childhood friends. Segal remembers it as an “eventful night; I came back pondering it.”

Segal still recalls the visceral moment when the melody came to her in the middle of her brushing her teeth: “It had been stuck in my head for such a long time, I then sat down at the piano and the words just came barreling out. Every word in that song is meant to describe a portion of that experience, which had a profound impact on me mentally. It’s almost subconscious”

The song is deeply personal to Segal and she wrote the melody, lyrics, and chord progressions. Other members made minor adjustments; Druker states that “I asked Julia if I could sing lower harmony and we figured one out and it actually sounded really cool.”

With the song completed, the inevitable next step was creating a music video. Segal reached out to an acquaintance who attends the prestigious Tisch School of Arts and he agreed to produce the video.

Having all grown up in Palo Alto, the setting of University Avenue resonated with every member and was selected as the setting for the music video. The background would showcase “our little town here in Palo Alto,” as affectionately dubbed by Segal.

The logistics of filming were beyond complex and finding a time that worked for every member was difficult to say the least. Segal was tasked with organizing and remembers that someone “actually had to leave for a vacation a few days before, and by the time they got back, [the producers] would have left for college.”

The film crew reviews a shot that they captured.

Despite others telling her that it wasn’t possible, Segal remained steadfast in her hopes to film Reverie’s first video, admitting, “Honestly, I didn’t even know if it would happen, but I kept persevering.” Finally, there seemed to be a few hours somewhere between midnight and 4 am (Druker says that it was “the latest I’d ever stayed outside!) that aligned with everyone’s schedules, but even then one member had to delay a vacation.

To the delight of Kochnev, the producers rode up and down the street on electric skateboards to film the band at all angles. Overall, Kochnev had a memorable experience: “I had fun; it was really a fun, cool thing to do. I like everybody in the band, and it’s fun to hang out with them. It was really fun to stay up late, being productive.”

Although the shoot went rather smoothly, there were some unanticipated technical issues. Druker remembers that “At the very end, the camera battery ran out so that was kinda scary. Later, a lot of the footage, when moving it over to be edited, transfering files, somewhere in that process the footage got screwed up so over half of the footage got deleted. We kind of had to make do with what we had.”

The producers rode on electric skateboards to film the band at all angles.

Eventually, after countless hours of recording, planning, filming, and editing, the final polished music video for “Maybe It’s A Sign” was released. Segal now has a newfound appreciation for the work artists put in, noting that “Most people don't really appreciate how much work goes into something like this.”

Moreover, gratified by the rewards she reaped from her tenacity, Segal asserts that the lesson she has taken away from the experience is that “If you’re resilient enough, it can happen, you just have to push through the obstacles.” Segal credits her perseverance to the early success of Quarantunes as well.

Not wanting to undergo the stressful and hectic last-minute changes in the schedule again, Druker reiterates the importance of allocating enough time. Druker also “learned to go with the flow more and put my trust in the experts… [and] I learned to know my place in it.”

For Kochnev, he became more open-minded, emphasizing that “It’s always important to try new things and get out of your comfort zone. If you’re always staying in the same place, you’re not evolving as a musician. Being a versatile musician is very hard to come across.”

Ultimately, Segal recounts that “I knew our band wasn’t going to last much longer, [it was] harder than ever to get together and practice, so [this video] was my last hope. Everyone is leaving but I wanted us to have this memory. I know that at the end of the day, years later, I was going to be glad that I pushed through and made this happen the whole time everyone was telling me to give up.”

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