Stephano Barberis in a promo photo for his Breathe of My Leaves music project.

EXCLUSIVE: Award-winning Surrey director gives his country video reel an electronic soundtrack

Breathe of My Leaves music project debuts ‘Chimera’ album of electronic sounds

It’s a big day for Surrey’s Stephano Barberis, the award-winning music video director, who has turned his attention to making music — at least for the time being.

The Cloverdale-area resident is recognized nationally for crafting videos for a multitude of musicians in the country genre.

On Friday (May 18), Barberis released an album of new electronic-pop music under the name Breathe of My Leaves. The 13-song album, called Chimera, is available on Spotify and Apple Music.

Songs from the album are featured in Barberis’ latest “director’s reel,” a compilation of images from recent videos he’s made for other artists. The reel was also released Friday.

In a Now-Leader exclusive, the eight-minute “Phantasmagoria” reel can be seen and heard below.

The reel can also be seen on Barberis’ Youtube channel.

Barberis’ Chimera album is filled with inspired, hyper electronica sounds — instrumentals, mostly — that reveal his passion for synth-pop bands, including Erasure. Tracks from the album include the opener “Glowing Pacific,” “Love You Lately” (featuring vocals by Jordan Grant), “Dancing With My Hallucinations,” the intriguingly titled “Ooh Ooh (Coconuts from Nunavut)” and the melody-layered closer “Drink The Moonlight And Fly.”

Chimera is Barberis’ second album under his Breathe of My Leaves moniker.

His new director’s reel, meanwhile, is the fourth of his career.

• RELATED: THE QUIZ: Award-winning music video director Barberis eyes move into movies, from 2015.

“Every once in a blue moon I do something extremely important to me — I release a new director’s reel,” Barberis wrote in a recent Facebook post. “There have been four in my career — 2005, 2009, 2011, and 2014. This Friday, I am releasing my fifth — ‘Phantasmagoria’ — and it’s a very emotional and celebratory occasion for me.”

With his own music as a soundtrack for the reel, “basically, it’ll be 100% me in music and in visuals,” he wrote.

“The Stephanoverse is glowing bright with activity in this period and I hope you will all be here with me, as I’ve been so fortunate to have your love and support all these years. I am so grateful. I dream, I create, and I hope I move you emotionally and inspire you at least to make your lives a more entertaining, magical, and better place, even just a little.”

• RELATED: Surrey director films country artist for ‘Dirt Covered Rhinestone’ clip, from 2017.

Barberis grew up in a Greek-Canadian household in Kitimat before moving south to the Metro Vancouver area to get his start in directing music videos. Over the past two decades, he’s made more than 170 videos for songs by Dallas Smith, Aaron Pritchett, Chad Brownlee, Karen Lee Batten, Doc Walker and many other country artists.

“I started 20 years ago,” he recounted in a 2017 interview with Langley Advance. “The very first music video was directed on the day [Princess] Diana died and I wasn’t even supposed to be doing that. I went to university for a few years to be an urban planner.”

Over the years, Barberis has become the most highly decorated music-video director in Canadian history, with dozens of provincial and national awards for his work. By 2016, his videos had amassed millions of YouTube views, more than 60 official top-20 video hits and 32 directorial and video awards out of 72 nominations.

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