Last year, Phish fan/filmmaker Kelly D. Morris created a harrowing yet hopeful video for the band’s uplifting new tune, “More”, featuring footage of 2016’s chaotic, emotionally fraught, and thoroughly divisive current events interspersed with crowd-sourced videos and images portraying love and togetherness. The video matches the sentiments of the anthemic track from Phish’s most recent release, Big Boat, illustrating a clear perspective on the hostile, violent, and uncertain world in which we live. Written by Trey Anastasio on the shores of Tortola in the British virgin islands while contemplating the ongoing social and political upheaval occurring on the mainland, “More” takes a defiant stance against any and all forces of darkness that may try to subvert the ever-present positivity and light in this world: “Vibrating with love and light/ Pulsating with love and light/ In a world gone mad, world gone mad/ There must be something more than this.”
The experiment, dubbed “The More Project”, went viral in the Phish community and helped spur Morris to found Be MORE Now, an initiative that shines a light on people taking action to spread love and light) and Be MORE Now Films, the production arm of the project. In the year since the “More” video’s release, Morris has used it as a platform to inspire public involvement and support for a variety of humanitarian issues, including relief efforts for the recent string of Hurricanes to hit the Southeast U.S. and its surrounding islands, for whom Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio recently set up a relief fund.
Now, Morris has released a new video in the same vein as her “More” project, this time using Phish‘s 9/3/17 performance of “Rise Up/Come Together”, a new Trey Anastasio Band song that Trey played frequently with his solo band earlier this year before eventually introducing it the the Phish repertoire in Pittsburgh in July. The video displays a wide swath of images and clips of togetherness, corresponding perfectly to each line Trey sings.
You can watch Kelly D. Morris’ new unofficial video for Anastasio’s “Rise Up/Come Together” (with sound design by Andrew Burgess) as performed by Phish on 9/3/17 below via her YouTube page:
You’ll notice when watching the new video that many of the clips used (cited here) are watermarked, as the costs of officially licensing much of the footage total up to over $4,000. Kelly has launched a GoFundMe campaign to help fund the video’s licensing fees so she can spread her message of togetherness, positivity, and action the way it was intended to be seen. To donate to Morris’s project, head to her GoFundMe campaign page.
Following the release of her newest inspirational Phish “music video”, we spoke to Kelly the new video project, the lasting waves she made with last year’s “More Project”, the new endeavors it’s inspired, and the overall message she hopes her work conveys to the world:
Live For Live Music: In what ways did the momentum from “The More Project” lead to or affect your work on the new “Rise/Come Together” video?
Kelly D. Morris: The reception “The More Project” video received let to the organization and creation of Be MORE Now, which led to Be MORE Now Films, where I have been focusing most of my energy since May 2017. I spent the summer documenting as I traveled, seeing live music, and working on two film projects, a documentary series, and a concepted short film. Then, I heard Phish play ‘Rise/ Come Together in Pittsburgh, and (akin to the way I felt when I heard ‘More’ in Las Vegas in 2016), the idea of a video project for Rise/ Come Together started coming together in my head.
Live For Live Music: “Rise/Come Together” was played frequently by TAB early this year, and has now been played live three times by Phish. How did you decide which version of the song to use for the video?
Kelly D. Morris: I had a great talk with a phriend, Linda Laurence, a week after Dick’s. She and I shared our mutual feelings of inspiration from the song. We agreed 9.03.17 Rise was the strongest version to date: the chant built audibly and was so clean; the solo lit up out of the gates.
Over Labor Day weekend 2017, emotion was running high through the crowd, which many of us were feeling intensely. Between the Baker’s Dozen and Dick’s, the protests & riots had happened in Charlottesville. Hurricane Harvey had just flooded Houston, fires were burning the West. Politically, our everyday lives had been so palpably charged that it was hard to let go of those thoughts. By night 3, when the song was played, its placement in the set (Down with Disease > Light > Rise/ Come Together) felt like a message. Through the darkenss & difficulty affecting us on a local, national and international level, we’ve got to look for the light and find what unites us by rising above our differences. It’s a universal message–we’ve got to choose love, choose kindness. We’ve got to rise up.
Live For Live Music: What is the overall message you hope to convey with this new project?
Kelly D. Morris: You’ve probably noticed that I did not include footage of Phish or phans in this project [as I did with “More”]. To me, this song and its message are universal–we’re all on this planet together. We all love the same way. The walls that divide us don’t serve us. We all want to be loved, we are all one.
Therefore, I wanted to create a video that could reach beyond the Phish community. Music heals, and this song has that power, just as ‘More’ does, and I think ‘Everything’s Right‘ has it, too. I want everyone to see themselves in this video. It’s about all of us–it doesn’t matter if you see yourself on screen literally. You can see yourself through the emotion, through humanity, and through the animals, symbols of peace, people around the world, united, working together, experiencing nature, loving, giving, doing and sharing.
If anyone could find more compassion, empathy, love, understanding, or hope after viewing the video than they felt before watching it, I’d be happy. Letting go of negativity leaves room for more love. I’ll -hope for that.
You can learn more about Be MORE Now and Be MORE Now Films on their website.
You can donate to Morris’ fundraising campaign to officially license the footage used here.
[Cover photo (Trey) via Phil Clarkin]