Music Video Premiere: Spirit Mother’s “Loon”
Spirit Mother is a rock outfit from Long Beach. They’re premiering their new video for the track “Loon” on Crossfader! Check out the video below and a short interview between our music editor, Carter Moon, and Sam Schlenker, the video’s director.
The video doesn’t seem to be a literal interpretation of the lyrics, so to start off, I’d love to know where the inspiration for the video came from.
I think I’ve had the idea of someone making a really elaborate dating video since college. I’ve definitely traveled down the “80s dating video” Youtube wormhole many times, and I just find them endearingly funny and not all that different from the dating apps of today. From the get-go, we weren’t really interested in doing a literal interpretation of the lyrics, but with such an odd, playful song (it has something like five tempo changes), doing something less on-the-nose made sense.
The whole look and vibe of the video reminds me of early-90s era MTV videos and less like contemporary music videos. Was that a conscious decision?
Some of it was out of necessity, as we didn’t have a high budget, so doing a lot of slick, flashy camerawork with tons of extras was out of the question. We tried to limit the scope of the video to something Alan could pull off by himself, in his own house, shooting on tape. In fact, we filmed the majority of the footage on a mini-DV camcorder (like the ones we used in middle/high school for our first short films), and then applied a VHS look in post.
It was also important to keep the “real life” sections somewhat grim, because where the video goes is actually quite dark, and I definitely don’t want to glorify Alan and his brainwashing ways. Alan’s not a good person.
That leads to my next question: How did Spirit Mother’s influences affect the way in which this video was made?
The four of us who recorded this song (we were called Blue Eyed Lucy at the time) definitely had a sense of humor about ourselves and our music. I remember playing a Halloween show at the Wayfarer in Costa Mesa where three of us dressed in monkey pajama onesies, and Vince, our keyboard/guitar player, wore a giant banana costume. Musically, we were also inspired by artists with a tongue-in-cheek component to their lyrics and videos, from Queens of the Stone Age to David Bowie to The Pixies.
It’s an interesting choice not to show the band at all during the video. Why did you decide to do that?
That was definitely a conscious choice. I find most music videos to be really boring, often due to their reliance on cutting to the band pretending to play the song live. Live videos are great, but if I’m watching any band perform, I want to hear what they’re actually playing.
In fact, the band does appear in the video, just not playing our instruments. James, the drummer, plays “Jorge,” the first bachelor, and Armand, the lead singer and guitarist, is the final bachelor after Alan. Vince (keys) and I (bass) can be seen behind the logo graphic for “Video Match-Me-Up!”
How’d you go about finding the stock footage and photographs for this? They work perfectly, so I’m curious how they were curated.
Finding the right stock material was huge, and I scoured several creative commons sites to find content for those montages. Most of the video was government-issued propaganda films from the 40s, and most of the photos were from Wikicommons, Archive.org, and Pixabay.
Ryan Sargent, the guy who plays Alan, fits the part almost too well. Did you always have him in mind for the role?
Ryan’s one of my best friends, but I actually didn’t think of asking him until maybe a week before shooting. I couldn’t be happier with his performance though (that dad-dancing is on point). I think someone else might have heard the concept and played Alan as more of a mustache-twirling creep, but from the beginning, Ryan’s instincts were to play him very earnestly, and I think that was the right choice.
What’s next for Spirit Mother after this video?
Spirit Mother has some cool new songs on the horizon, as well as a few old songs that we recorded at the same time as “Loon”. For now, the video is being released before the song, but expect new recordings and live shows in the coming months.