In between scoring a film, founding the ivory-access-for-all nonprofit Piano. Push. Play. and placing rehabilitated uprights in public spaces (including street corners, parks and even Pioneer Square!), Megan Diana McGeorge has spent the last few years making music under the moniker LEO—basically "figuring out my sound before having some band name or title that had some inherent meaning."
Well, her own name, especially her middle one, does hold a certain significance. "My favorite person in the world is my Grandma Mac," she says. "Her name is Diana and I wanted to hear it more in the world. I also felt like it was time to go by my own name."
Her debut EP as Megan Diana was released this past summer, but now the single "Settler" has a video as McGeorge preps a full-length for this coming summer. The song's title comes from a Native American elder who was part of the Occupation of Alcatraz in 1971 and spoke about his experiences during one of McGeorge's Portland State courses. McGeorge actually "wrote a series of songs based on what this man shared that day," but "Settler" is "the clearest, most stripped-down, essential translation of what he told me from his perspective"—one of a native who witnessed colonizers, or settlers, coming to this land.
The beautifully haunted song is "a juxtaposition—from the material of the lyrics to the sound of the song, which is a bit [of a] Western throwback," McGeorge explains. The video also merges vintage film and animation with local artists and today's landscape as she sought to find "images that could help weave together a story of history, geography, time and technology"—"connecting the past and the present, the symbolic and the literal."
"Making the video brought together many artists and friends from my hometown of Portland," McGeorge says. "Buckley is an incredible artist/spirit who created the central art piece at the heart of the video—two beings coming into and out of themselves anew. She also gave us the beautiful animations you see throughout. Madison Rowley is a filmmaker, actor and musician who helped us capture Buckley in creation mode" using a time-lapse. And finally, the "brilliant editor" Travis Abels "helped me weave together all of the connections and moments between the very diverse found footage: historic events, cartoons, family films, educational shorts, and the art being created in front of us."