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The DigiBees, Dallas multimedia duo, takes the stage on Frame of Mind

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The DigiBees are a Dallas filmmaking duo with creative projects ranging from introspective shorts to light-hearted music videos. The husband-and-wife team is comprised of Danielle “Pockett” Brown and Jirard. They met in 2000 after playing in a band together. Jirard was the singer and songwriter, while Pockett played the drums. Since then, the DigiBees have walked various creative avenues.

Watch the DigiBees this Thursday at 10:30 p.m. on KERA TV. Check out the entire 2021 Frame of Mind season.

This week on Frame of Mind, we feature an hour compilation of work from the DigiBees. The show includes ten shorts, all varied in technique and concept, from a James Bond-style music video, “Brandy Alexander”, performed by musician Geno Young to a contemporary dance performance, “Promise Me”, performed by Bruce Wood Dance member Matthew Roberts. While most of the compilation features music videos, there are also forceful narrative shorts, like “Things You Shouldn’t Know About Me” and “Nothing At All,” that deal with addiction and grief.

I spoke to the DigiBees about how music underpins all their creative endeavors and how they prioritize connection and shared interests in the projects they pursue. The couple also reflected on their two-decade career.

Jirard (left) and Danielle “Pockett” Brown (right). Image courtesy: The DigiBees.

What do you consider when embarking on the making of a video?

Pockett Brown: Generally, we like to have some type of a connection to it. We like to enjoy what we’re working on. For me, that’s the first thing. We’ve been blessed so far to have a good connection to the people we work with. I feel like that helps us to create something.

Jirard: It’s really about how we connect with the concept or connect with whatever we’re doing.

How do you collaborate with your clients?

Pockett Brown: The tone has a lot to do with each project. For example, the “Brandy Alexander” video compared to Bruce Wood’s work — completely different tones. We’ve been blessed to have been allowed freedom to throw out ideas. Even if they come with a general idea, they always have allowed us the freedom to listen to the music, to see what we think will be great. Tone is heavily predicated by what the piece is surrounded by.

Jirard: We’re constantly interested in trying new ideas, doing new things. How can we supplement the music? Take what the music means and take it a step further. Or actually, strengthen what that means by marrying a visual to it. So that’s always been our approach.

Still of Geno Young in “Brandy Alexander”. Image courtesy: The DigiBees.

How do you think your music background has transformed your work over the years?

Pockett Brown: Over the years, I’ve matured as a musician. While I retired from gigging in 2019, over those years I can literally listen back [and see that] I was excited about a new lick that I learned, so I was doing it way too much. But as I matured, it’s like okay, less is more. I think as well, in editing for me, because that’s my primary status in our duo, maybe early on, I was so excited about cutting to the beat all the time. Over the years, I can see I slowed down a little bit, because less is more. That maturity, just as a musician, learning when to do things and when not to do things… kind of transcended into editing and how we approach video work.

Jirard: I think earlier on, in order to say what you want to say, it feels like you have to say a lot. Sometimes you realize a statement is stronger by simplifying it. We’ve both gone through that type of transition. When I realized my love for music, everything started pushing towards that. That’s how I met Pockett, through a band and that’s what everything in my life was gonna be at that point. As of late, everything’s been pushing more towards film. But I can definitely say music is at that core of us. It’s inescapable. It’s always rooted in everything we do.

Pockett Brown: I was doing a quick edit yesterday and I noticed it was musical. Even the choices of the edits and where I decided to do a transition. It’s not even something that we think about. Even if the project is not per se a musical thing, our approach, because we are musicians first, it has a musical instinct to it.

What are some of the most rewarding videos that y’all have made in this compilation?

Pockett Brown: We pride ourselves on not releasing anything that we’re not completely proud of. Ten years ago, it may have been one piece. But now, it may be another piece. But the most rewarding piece? I think that’s gonna change.

Jirard: One of my favorite quotes from my father is, “My newest or what I’m working on.” So technically, right now, what we’re working on, or the last thing. “Promise Me” which is what we ended the piece with. They’re all rewarding in some type of way. One of the most rewarding aspects of it all is having such a varied body of work and being able to explore something new in each one.

Still of Matthew Roberts from “Promise Me”. Image courtesy: The DigiBees.

When you look at all the things you’ve created over the years, what do you think about how far you’ve come? 

Pockett Brown: I feel like we’re blessed. We never had to really work hard to find artists that would want to collaborate with us. We’ve been blessed to be proud of everything that we’ve put out. I can definitely see growth. It’s a blessing to have been able to march to the beat of our own drum and still be excited.

Jirard: It’s very grounding to be able to see where we’ve been and where we’re going. As collaborative artists, we appreciate [other artists] and the work they do. From the choreographers to the musicians, it’s really truly a blessing for sure.

What values do you try to translate in your work?

Pockett Brown: My mother would say this growing up, “If you’re going to do something, always put your best foot forward.” That is definitely a value in my life. Whether it’s editing or music supervision, my aim is to put my best foot forward.

Jirard: I have, over the past few years, been very legacy-minded. We both have. What do I want my name attached to? Working on a documentary, working on some short films right now that really lend itself towards that.

Interview questions and answers have been edited for brevity and clarity.