The new music video for The Appleseed Cast’s song “Great Lake Derelict” is a silly and heartwarming short film now available for your viewing pleasure above. Director Chris Good and singer/guitarist Christopher Crisci caught up us to discuss how Good and the band brought a vision of a couple ragtag newspaper jockeys pursuing their dreams to life.
Nerdist: Was this your first music video? How did you prepare for it?
Chris Good: I’d directed one music video before (“Always Friends” by Secret Cities) and more recently photographed, edited, and in some cases co-directed some of the Ssion videos that’ve come out over the past year or so.
To prepare, I just listened to “Great Lake Derelict” over and over again until I thought of an idea I liked. Following that I asked Megan Mantia, who’s co-producing my first feature with me, if she’d be down to help out with this video, and she agreed. We were still more or less in production mode on the feature (note: Chris is also working on a feature film, Mudjackin’), and so in some respects we didn’t have to get everything up and running again, basically just meaning that all our gear was still crammed into the back of Megan’s van. And I think every actor in the video is also in our feature.
N: How did you and the band connect?
G: Chris from Appleseed had, I think, seen a short film I did called “Holy Moly” and, based on that, kind of talked to me a bit about the possibility of doing a video for them. This was actually like two years ago, though, so at that time it would’ve been for a song from an EP they had released around that time. I think maybe just the timing didn’t work out on that one for various reasons, but when it came time to put out the new album, Chris started talking to me about it again.
Chris Crisci: Chris and I both work at a venue in Kansas City. I’ve seen two of his short films and love his work.
N: How much input did the band have when creating the video? Was it mostly Good’s vision, or did the band have an idea for the story or the style?
C: Chris just ran with it. Once that it was decided that he was going to work on it, he clued me in on the basic concept. Very vaguely… but like I said, I know his style and the little info he had given me sounded like it could be awesome, so I kind of enjoyed being hands off.
N: You’ve released two shorts and are now in the process of working on your first feature. What’s that been like?
G: It’s more or less in post-production now. I say more or less because we’ve maybe kind of gone about making this film in an unorthodox way, with pre-production, production and post-production all occurring simultaneously at times. I think it ought to be finished by the end of the summer actually, but it’s been difficult to predict. Primarily because none of us have ever done this before.
N: Your soundtrack choices are great- I loved the Microphones track in “Return of the Gumshoe Kids.” How do you go about selecting songs and bands for certain scenes?
G: I always loved that Microphones track too, “The Moon.” That was kind of a case where for years I had been obsessed with a certain moment in that song — like a twenty-second section that I would rewind over and over. Like, I like the whole song but I always knew that part in particular (2:49 into the song) would be good in a film because it feels pretty emotionally complex. It just seems like a good way to avoid using music in a hamfisted or overly manipulative way in cinema is to start off with music that itself avoids those tendencies in the first place. Maybe that’s an obvious thing to say.
I guess my approach to using music has kind of varied from project to project, although obviously I’ve hardly even done anything yet. But whereas with the Microphones track it was a moment in a song that I knew I wanted to use, a lot of times it’s just playing different things against scenes and seeing what they do to each other. Most of the music in Mudjackin’ is either Secret Cities songs or an original score by Matt Hill, who makes records as Umberto. The sequences with the Secret Cities songs seem to be working, I think, because the filmmaking within them is probably pretty frantic and brash, and Secret Cities makes really beautiful, lush, at times almost ethereal music, so it feels like the music is balancing out the filmmaking in a good way. Matt Hill primarily makes music inspired by Giallo and Moroder soundtracks but he also incorporates elements of Italo-disco and house, both styles that I really like. Mudjackin’ isn’t a genre film, but it does maybe play with certain elements of them at times, and so working with Matt’s been great- he’s really well-versed and interested in that world but versatile enough to adapt and bend those styles to whatever weird tonal shifts our feature throws at him.
N: Do you have plans to do more music videos in the future?
G: No plans at the moment. This summer I’m busy finishing up Mudjackin’. I’d be down to do more music videos, though. You get to have something come out that doesn’t completely take forever like a feature.
N: What was the story of the video inspired by? The costumes and characters are so unique; was there anything in particular that influenced them?
G: I mean, I guess the story was just inspired by the music, just trying to put something together where the moments in and emotions portrayed by the story reflected what I felt during each part of the song. But then once I thought of the idea of the paperboys, I just got excited about it and about certain sequences that I thought could be a part of the video. I may have been on to something, though, because after the fact Chris told me that he’d been a paperboy as a kid and that he had a bike with double-barreled baskets on the front of it. So I added that line to the beginning of the video.
As far as the costumes and characters, once I had that overall concept for the video, I just tried to populate it with characters that would make sense to me for that situation and scenario. I had like some general ideas for the costumes and after doing my best to articulate those to Megan she found and in some cases made clothes and costumes, with, I think, one exception being Andrea Peterson’s character — most of the clothes her character wears were hers.
N: What is the film scene like in Kansas City?
G: The best thing about filming in Kansas City is that there are lots of smart and talented people who are often really enthusiastic about helping out with projects like this. And if you’re working on a small budget, that money’ll go further here than in a lot of cities. Specific to this video, our actors were really patient through the whole process (we had a lot of weather-related delays) and we had a number of super-generous and patient people who let us use their bikes for the production.
N: What have you been digging lately? What inspires you as far as comics/games/music/books/movies (are concerned)?
G: I unfortunately don’t really have time to see or watch too many movies, but I’m constantly listening to music. There’s a song by Dolly Parton called “Don’t Drop Out” that I’m pretty obsessed with. It’s like one of the really early ones when she was still doing girl-groupish material, and it’s a song where she’s begging her boyfriend not to drop out of high school. It’s great.
C: With music, I’m all over the place. Lately I’ve been trying to make a concerted effort to listen to new music, something that I haven’t done in a while. I went through a phase where everything new was repellent to me. I’ll admit that that is still the case with much of what I hear out there… but at least now I’m trying to find things I like. I really dig the new Deafheaven record, the new Black Moth Super Rainbow record, new Whir, My Bloody Valentine, Converge. Lots of good stuff has come out in the last year or so.
Movies… I’ll watch anything for the fun of it, recognizing that at the same time that movies and music are alike in one respect. There’s a lot of trash available with both. For some reason, I can stomach a bad movie with more ease than I can a bad song.
You can listen to “GLD” on The Appleseed Cast’s new album, Illumination Ritual, out now. Follow the band at their official site and on Twitter, and you can follow the haps on director Chris Good’s upcoming feature Mudjackin’ here! Special thanks to Chris Good for providing those sick BTS shots you saw, which he and producer Megan Mantia took during filming.
What do you think of the new video, and of The Appleseed Cast’s new album? Are there other bands you want to see interviewed? Let me know- leave a quemment below or tell me on twitter!