We spoke to Buck about the making of their first music video:
This is Buck’s first music video after years of doing commercial advertising and broadcast projects. Is directing more live-action and music videos something that Buck has been looking to expand into? Were you just wating for the right project to come along?
Yeah we’ve wanted to do a music video for years, but with budgets and production schedules as they are, it just never worked out; we’ve definitely turned down our share. I guess all the pieces just fit together this time: budget, timing, opportunity, creative, etc. We do like directing live-action and have been doing more of it lately; that was definitely a factor in deciding to do this project. We’re a collective of designers, illustrators, animators and fimmakers, so we love a project like this that combines all our interests into one piece.
How did you come up with the concept for Slow Poison?
The band had cut the song to this crazy sort-of-recruitment film from the seventies made by the Unarians, a cult that believe intelligent life forms exist on higher frequency planes. The lead singer, Sam described to us a synesthetic experience basically, how he sees the colors from the video when he sings the song. So that was the conceptual and visual inspiration. The video ref dovetailed nicely into our love of old sci-fi films from that era (Flash Gordon, 2001, those Russian Roger Corman films) and an interest in Terrence Mckenna and other ontological sailors of the mind who talk about intergalactic evolution, extropy and alien love. So we wrote this story about a Psychonaut who has a singular experience, an alien encounter, that expands his mind, changes him forever, and destroys his self in the process. We thought this was an interesting metaphor for the loss and longing that Sam sings about.
What exactly happened when the glowing Geodesic sphere and Octahedron (we looked it up) collided and merged into one super shape of shiny geometry?
It blew his mind! With lazers!
What was your process like for doing all the animation and post-production on this video?
It definitely wasn’t our usual process. We had such a short time-line: four weeks to wrangle two shoots, one in Brooklyn and another with the band in Atlanta, plus do all the post. So we didn’t have time to go through a visual development phase like we usually do. Everyone was given their scenes to work on and develop and then we slowly converged throughout the process. We wanted to have the freedom to experiment so the whole crew jumped in and played with ideas, a lot of which didn’t end up getting used. For example, we wanted to do a lot of the light effects practically, so Yker and Joe spent several days in a dark bathroom shooting custom flashlight-crystal-rig wall projections, some of which made it into the ending.
Did you get to keep the spacesuit after the shoot?
I wish. It’s a film-grade Mercury Mission reproduction and cost $1,000 a week to rent and you have to rent it for a week minimum. So we took advantage of having it around the office…
Directed by: Buck
Creative Directors: Orion Tait & Ryan Honey
Executive Producer: Kate Treacy
Producer: Kitty Dillard
Production Coordinator: Kevin Hall
Production Assistant: Billy Mack
Lead Art Director/Design/Matte Painter/Animator/Compositor: Thomas Schmid
Art Director/Design/Animator/3D Generalist/Composite: Ben Langsfeld
Art Director/Design/Animator/Compositor: Yker Moreno
Art Director/Design/Animator/Compositor: Joe Mullen
Art Director/Animation Director/Design/Animator/Compositor: Gareth O’Brien
On Set VFX Supervisor/Compositing Production Manager/Motion Tracking/Roto/Animator/Compositor/Editor: Conrad Ostwald
3D Generalist/Compositor: Chris Phillips
Design/Matte Painter/Animator/Compositor: Daniel Oeffinger
Design/Animator/Compositor: Seth Ricart
Design: Jon Gorman
Animator/Compositor: Lucas Borras
Animator: Pete McDonald
Additional Editor: Aristedes Zamora
Roto Artist: Filaments
Roto Artist: Tim Turner
Den Mother: Ann Seymour
Live Action Producer: Kim Koby & Helen Urriola
Director of Photography: Scott Beardslee
Astronaut: Chris Ryan
Vixen: Susannah Collins
Astronaut Stunt Double: Jared Burke
Sam Endicott, Lead Singer
John Conway, Keyboards
Anthony Burulcich, Drummer
Michael Zakarin, Guitarist
Mike Hindert, Bassist
Island Def Jam Records
James Duffy: Editor
Edwina Lantigua: Assistant Editor
Company 3, NY
Tom Poole: Color Artist
Marie Deleon: Producer