Your friends at Decibel have teamed up with A Pale Horse Named Death to entertain you this summer. We’ll be hosting a blog series for the next five weeks detailing production of a video for their new album Lay My Soul To Waste and premiering the “DMSLT” video at the end.
When I was first approached by A Pale Horse Named Death (APHND) to conceive some ideas for a music video for their sophomore release Lay My Soul to Waste, I was pleasantly surprised by their openness and collaborative spirit. Thanks to an introduction made by a mutual friend, APHND frontman Sal Abruscato contacted me early one Saturday morning to discuss the video project, and I was really relieved to learn how down-to-earth and real he was. He was very open about his artistic perspective, which helped to round out some of my ideas for how to visually convey the story of the song. As a fan of Sal’s work with Life of Agony, I knew I wanted to shoot a dynamic performance piece, and Sal was intrigued by the stop-motion animation that permeates our studio’s website at neo-pangea.com, so he wanted to include animation in this video.
We talked about a few tracks on the album and decided to shoot “DMSLT” so that we would be able to enhance the live performance footage with animated effects in time to align with the release of the track. The song has a heavy focus on personal demons, the world around us being total shit, and wanting to end it all. Lyrically, it’s very bold, so I wanted to take a more metaphoric, subtle approach to the theme visually. Without giving too much away, the concept involves taking key points within the edit that we will print out and reshoot using chemicals, then reapplying them as overlays on the footage – something we will definitely document in greater detail in later posts.
The band had a bit of a long haul down to Philly for the shoot, but they came ready to rock. Matt Brown wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty and help out with sound on the set to get things just right. APHND is definitely a blue-collar, hard-working band, and once the music started blasting and cameras started to roll, they really came alive.
A lot of great digital camera technology has developed during the past decade. I have been shooting primarily with a Canon EOS 7D for the past few years, and we used it for a majority of our shots. Since GoPro cameras are so small and mountable, we did some creative mounting and captured some great footage from guitar necks and cymbal stands. Johnny kept knocking the card out of one of the GoPros we mounted on the snare, so I had to risk losing a finger by holding it in my hand.
By noon, the guys had switched from coffee to Pabst Blue Ribbon, and we had gone from tripods to handheld cameras for the remainder of the shoot. By the end of the day, I think the guys were glad to see the crew sweating just as much as they were. Be sure to check back next week for another glimpse behind the horse!