This weekend I have spent a large amount of time in the cellar of a Chichester pub called Hole in the Wall. The cellar is the kind of place that ghosts would be too damn scared to hang out in, in case the possessed little girls who normally live there come back. It’s the cellar equivalent of the strange, large house in your neighbourhood where that reclusive man who may be a serial killer lives. The floor is uneven, the ceiling is covered in cobwebs, and has numbers scrawled on the walls. In short, it looks like the kind of worst sex dungeon imaginable.
Who wants to hang out in a cellar with these lovely gents?
No, this is not my usual Saturday hangout. I prefer a lie in, looking at hilarious photos of animals with a cup of chai in my hand. This Saturday, though, I was making a music video.
I have a ridiculous number of musical projects. My own stuff is called White Birches and is pretentious ballbaggery, falling somewhere between post-rock, industrial, ambient, and singer-songwriter stuff. Then there’s Paddy Johnston & The Love Explosion, where I croon vocal harmonies and play not-very-good-guitar parts smothered in delay so they sound passable. I am thankfully held up by the fantastic work of everyone else in the band. There was Wood Ghosts as well, which will hopefully reappear soon and wow you all with Rob Sherman’s unbelievably good lyrics.
This video, though, was for Titans & Kings. We’re a rock band. We do riffs, and distortion, and double bass drum pedal, and downtuned guitars. We play crazily great songs, some of them soft and some of them heavy. The one we were video-ing up a notch is one of the heavy ones. It’s called Freedom, and it goes a little something like this:
So, what better place to play a song with a riff so heavy that it makes your belly rumble than an old, scary cellar?
The guys making the video for us were Shep and Mol, and can be found here. They were awesome, quite simply. They’d sourced the location and set up the totally badass lighting rig. Oh yeah, the lighting rig. Multicoloured lights, shifting. Absolutely amazing.
Their idea was fantastic as well. Part of the video was filmed in real time, the rest in half time. The idea? To speed it up, therefore making our movements erratic, energetic. Add that to the already creepy location – a cellar that used to be a 17th Century prison and has also been a crypt – and we were on to a winner.
As awesome as it will be when the final video is seen, there were some difficulties. First up, it turns out that playing a song in half time is a pain in the ass. We kept drifting in and out of time, but we made up for it with levels of movement that, when sped up to regular speed, are likely to give the impression of a hyperactive child given a mixture of caffeine, sugar, and cocaine.
We’ve got Tor. Bruce Banner can shove it.
The lights, too, were a distraction. Not because of the colours – although damn it looked pretty – but because of the heat. The cellar was, obviously, fairly damp. In between then being heated up by the lamps and the addition of the smoke machine, it felt as though we had walked into a primordial jungle. I was half-expecting velociraptors to jump out at us at any minute.
Smoke machines are fun, though. There’s no getting around that. The feeling you get as smoke flows around your ankles is absolutely amazing, somewhere between a rock star and a comic book villain.
Other highlights of the day? Well, our band luncheon at Greggs (very high society), the amusing looks the regulars gave when seeing six people come simultaneously out of the floor and appear behind the bar, and taking a break to watch a bit of the rugby was quite good. The best of the lot, though was the fact that due to a miscalculation when bringing equipment, we were missing a drum stool and snare stand. We found, replacements though. No snare stand? Well, nothing beats an empty keg. No drum stool? A suitable replacement is, apparently, a broken chair with a toilet seat put on it for extra height.
Also works as a pimpin’ necklace.
So all in all, a damn good day. A big thanks to everyone at Hole In The Wall (you were awesome) and to Mol and Shep. I am tentatively saying that the finished product is going to be absolutely fantastic. I may have lost half by body weight in sweat, covered everything in dirt, and caused blisters on my fingers, but it was oh so worth it.
I’ll share the video around when we get it back, along with some wonderful photos and other neat stuff.
Until next time!