Guest column - Shooting from the hip: Everything Everything's hands-on video evolution
Having just breached the Top 40 with single Cough Cough, and with new album Arc set to follow on 14 January, puzzle poppers Everything Everything are as keen to make a visual impact as they are a musical one. Having taken control of all their videos since day one - bar one monumental failure - frontman Jonathan Higgs explains why the group have been hands on throughout their audio-visual evolution.
At the beginning of our band, we had no money for videos, and so we made them ourselves. The video for Photoshop Handsome was our greatest achievement, and was made for the price of four ASDA suits (about £80), which we utterly destroyed over the course of the afternoon.
Enlisting the help of a school-friend who had studied 3D graphics, the two of us turned a fairly simple green-screen video into a hugely detailed world, pouring in hours and hours of time and imagination. With zero budget, we made all our early videos out of luck, love and ingenuity.
Fast-forward several months and we are now a signed band, with budgets and crew and deadlines. A very different world, and we were not used to getting things when we asked for them. Our first video was for a song called Schoolin. We were touring continuously and had to do a lot of things on the road, literally, and coming up with a concept for this video was one. We tossed ideas around the back of the van until we settled on the idea of a sand sculpture, that was firstly shown being made, then blown up with explosives, in slow motion.
This was the basis of the video idea, but what would the sand sculpture be? Drunk with our new found power and just drunk, we decided it should be a sculpture of a woolly mammoth. A quick couple of sketches on the back of a napkin and we sent the idea off, imagining it to be a beautiful, incredible and completely fail-safe plan.
Unable to be at the shoot we entrusted a small film crew to shoot one of Europe's best sand sculptors creating a huge woolly mammoth on a cold, wet, beach, somewhere on the south west coast, on top of a large pile of dynamite. However, the dynamite wasn't large enough, and the resulting explosion just blew the back of the mammoth's head off. The mammoth was re-sculpted and then blown up again, and again it blew up only about half of the beast.
The video was then cut and sent to us and we eagerly downloaded it from the comfort of our German Travelodge. It wasn't exactly what we'd hoped. The mammoth looked like a friendly Disney character, and was half submerged in the sand, with large doe eyes. The main body of the video was intensely boring, watching the shovel slowly pack sand into piles, and then the climax, the explosion, the back of the mammoth's head slowly drooping and then crumbling into a dismal slump in brilliantly high quality slow motion is something I will never forget. We had outdone ourselves in the naivety stakes, and had our first true 'Spinal Tap' moment.
Needless to say the Schoolin' fiasco was a pretty grounding force and we were extremely lucky to find an animator to very swiftly put together a new video (which includes an exploding mammoth) in time for release. For the newest videos we've just made, for Cough Cough and Kemosabe we planned and re-planned every element, from the script to the cameras, to even editing the footage ourselves.
Basically, everything we've done since the sandpit has been planned and re-planned, controlled by us at every turn. The exploding sand-mammoth haunts our every move, it was an expensive but important lesson to learn.
Jonathan Higgs @E_E_
For more, including details of the band's shows with Muse next month, head to Everything-everything.co.uk.
11:35 AM | 26/10/2012
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