Video Premiere/Interview: The Chordaes’ Leo Sawikin on “What We Breathe In”

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Americana Highways brings you this video premiere of the title track from the Chordaes’ recent album, produced by Marc Swersky: What We Breathe In, which was released on February 22, 2019.

“What We Breathe In” is Leo Sawikin on lead vocals and acoustic guitar; Ethan Glenn on drums; Kevin Foley on electric and slide guitar; Alex Brumel on pedal steel; Mark Swersky on bass; Dan Cobert on acoustic and electric piano; Marc Swersky and William Sawikin on synths and Von Newman on backing vocals.

We also had a chat with Leo Sawikin about the song.

AH: Talk a little bit about this song.  What is it about and what prompted you to write it?

LS: “What We Breathe In” is about coping with the sense of powerlessness many of us feel in the modern world. It’s about finding it in yourself to look around and appreciate the things you do control.

AH: Whose idea was the video treatment?  Who directed the video? 

LS: I came up with the original concept of the video with help from my director, Kirby Sybert. I wanted to shoot a video in the style of “Bittersweet Symphony” where Richard Ashcroft walks towards a moving camera through a city. Kirby suggested that we shoot that idea in a forest instead. We both loved the idea of having me walk through the woods and passing by several vignettes sort of detached from my reality. Kirby and our DP Skyler Jenkins did an incredible job bringing the idea to life.

AH: Where did you film it?

LS: We filmed it in Fairmount Park in Philadelphia, which has kind of an apocalyptic vibe to it. There are parts of the park that feel like you are in the middle of a forest far from any city.

AH: Any funny or crazy stories from the video shoot that you can share?

LS: After the video shoot, I went to get a cheesesteak. Unfortunately, the restaurant was closing and there was nowhere to sit inside. I ordered a cheesesteak, onion rings, and mozzarella sticks. I couldn’t find anywhere to sit, so I just sat down in the middle of a bustling street of party-goers and ate my feast. Someone thought I was homeless and tried to give me money. Unfortunately, in the time it took me to decide to sit down, my cheesesteak got steamed and soggy. I learned an important lesson that day: cheesesteaks must be eaten immediately and very quickly or else they’re just a sloppy mess.

AH: What’s next for The Chordaes?

LS: I just finished a new round of material that we will hopefully be releasing sometime early next year. Hopefully, I will be touring and promoting this new music next.

In dramatic lighting, this video is Leo Sawikin hiking in the dark with the song as company.  “What We Breathe In”  is a slow tempo, sidewinder of a track that is the prefect foundation for the Chordaes’ album of noticeable musical depth.  You can order the album right here:


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