Interview: Indie Pop Group Prism Waves Talks Vibrant New Video Single ‘Monstr’

With their infectious melodies, eye-catching visuals, and unique sound, indie pop band Prism Waves are bound to make a name for themselves with their new video single, “Monstr”.

The catchy new tune combined with the intriguing visuals of the music video is a testament to the unique art that the band aims to create.

Prism Waves, formed of members Athena Hiotis, Nik Kosmas, Scott Griffith, and Shareef Taher, recently changed its name from RÊVE during the pandemic in an effort to take on a new chapter and new sound. Since the change, their horizons have opened up in ways they were pleasantly surprised by. One of their most prominent efforts since was the making of their short music film, Maid of Heaven, created with Steve Agee (Guardians of the Galaxy). 

Prism Waves is continuing to make big steps in not only their music, but their art in general, and their vivid new video single “Monstr” is a testament to that. 

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We got the chance to chat with the group about the single, the music video, and what lies ahead for them.

So how did the four of you meet and start making music together?

Nik and Athena met when they were 7 and grew up together. Shareef and Athena met while he was at Peabody, and she was working at an Irish Pub in Baltimore, around 2006. And we all knew Scott because we played in the same music scene together and he joined the band a few years ago.

What made you change the name of the band from RÊVE to Prism Waves?

We had played around with the idea of a name change a few years ago but didn’t think much of it. When Covid hit, we were in the middle of tracking our first album in 4 years and like many things in life, it came to a screeching halt. We were all chatting and it finally got brought up again, and we each shared our experiences with some difficulties and ultimately decided it was the best thing to do for the band.

It was tough because we really liked RÊVE, but there was some issues that really were troublesome for us. We couldn’t secure the trademark because of a Cirque du Soleil show. Because of that, we couldn’t do anything to prevent the growing number of bands that were releasing music under that name. Finally, you couldn’t find us on Spotify. We thought it was because of the e-circumflex, but it wasn’t. And right now, we’re grateful that we did pull the trigger because there is this dance artist in Europe with the name and she’s huge. So the timing was pretty incredible. All that being said, we went with a name that represented the same idea of RÊVE but in a more unique way.

What was the best/most memorable part of making the music video for “Monstr”?

Honestly, it was a feeling unlike any other to see the final product and to have it look so crisp and beautiful. This was also the first music video were we had multiple experts of different schools of art come together. It was rooted in what we really believe in, that true collaboration brings out some gorgeous art and to have it look so good was more than what we were anticipating. For us, it solidified that this is a new chapter for this band and was very appropriate paired with the name change.

What was the overall vision behind the video, and how does it correlate with the song?

Tre was the creative director and storyboarded the whole thing. Her vision was centered around telling the story of the relationship that we have with our inspiration, and she wanted to tell that story through this marriage of color, movement, light/shadow. We follow this push-pull relationship between Adelaide and Iris (both played by Caitlin Rose) and what’s cool is that the idea of moving from a space of creative block to this state of flow is almost cyclical. Like the chicken and the egg. As we write more, we flow into colors and the more we flow, the more we write until the tide pulls back and we start the dance all over again.

What was it like working with well-known choreographer Caitlin Rose?

It was enlightening. We never really talk about dance the way that she does. In the beginning, she asked us a lot of interesting questions to get into the mindset of this song not just to embody these characters, but to represent them through movement.

There is this particular scene in the MONSTR video where all you see is her hand pulling out a violet piece but the movement is so deliberate that that movement alone is an entire mood. So, she was a reminder that simple movements say more than words. Caitlin also lives and breathes dance and movement. She was so into the entire process from beginning to end. It’s just wild to see someone do what they do best and be so clearly passionate about it.

How long did it take for you to write and record “Monstr”?

Ha. One thing we’ve committed to is to be faster with songs. The first demo of “Monstr” was done in 2015 or 2016. We worked on it, shelved it, worked on it some more. It was mixed and mastered early 2020. So, yeah, a very long time.

Speaking of: how does the songwriting process work within the band?

Typically, one of us will have an idea and bring it to the group, we’ll do a lot of individual work on it, until we’re all together to have a writing session – which is where a lot of the magic happens. Athena and Scott demo ideas in Logic, they both also use pedals and effects so a lot of the times those ideas will be represented in a demo.

Where Shareef and Nik will bounce around voice memos and work specifics out when we have writing sessions together. Now, we’ve gotten into working with producers and so we’re exploring this world of have a slightly different version of songs: studio and live version. It’s a lot of fun, and we’d like to think this collaborative effect between the members adds to our sound.

What does a dream gig look like for you?

We could probably all answer a little differently but in general, a packed crowd singing our lyrics back to us, rushing to the merch table to talk to us. Preferably all over the world.

What does success as a band/artist mean to you?

Again, we probably could all answer a little differently but we’d, in general, would like to see that we are constantly growing our fan base, getting better as musicians and performers, play some festivals, tour in other countries. We’d love to land some syncing opportunities, and of course tour with some of our favorite artists. We really want to focus on making this band self-sustaining so that it can function like a healthy business so that we can do more of these things.

What else might Prism Waves have planned for 2022?

We have an album in the works that we’ll be wrapping up with Chris Kling at Klangkantine Studios in Germany in a couple weeks. And we’ve been working with Sean Mercer on a few other tunes that we’ll be releasing in the next few months. Happy to see that shows are coming back and we’re working on those as well. 

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