According to Kim Muncie(Neu Futr magazine 6-18-19) Christopher Hill & The Stardust Crush “are a boundless band and could easily fit alongside a punk band, a spoken word festival or even a world music event…and capture the spirit of American artists giving the symbolic middle finger to what’s happening in Washington D.C.” “They are a band that stands for something!” We caught up with Christopher Hill & the Stardust Crush for an insightful Video Voyageur which you can dive into below!
1. Tell us the story of this song, why did you choose to visualize this song specifically in this way?
Say Their Names was my attempt at further educating myself about the stories of African Americans taken by state sponsored violence. I had heard a lot of names called out by Black Lives Matter organizers and had read a lot of names on protest signs but I realized that sadly I only knew a few of the stories behind those names. I found as many names as I could and learned about each person’s story. I was totally humbled and heartbroken and had my eyes further opened. I found that though I thought I had had some understanding of systemic racism and police brutality I had been very ignorant of just how bad things were and are! I hope that the song might open the eyes of other people who think they know more than they do.
2. What was the inspiration behind this video (visuals, storyline, etc.)?
The visuals behind Say Their Names were taken in Sammamish Wa overlooking a valley during the “smoke storm” on the west coast. The idea to take footage of a “Smoke Storm Sunset” came from my filmmaker friend Brian Gilmore, Director of “Dog Days of Winter.” I used these images because I felt that both the fiery skies and the blue skies above spoke about the juxtaposition of how different people groups are treated. The blue sky above also spoke of an ultimate hope for goodness and love in the universe despite the fiery trials faced on earth below. The airplane shown at first just a distant light coming in from far away represents the hope of increasing enlightenment about and change away from systemic racism. The smoke/steam vents on top of the building represent the private/state prison for profit system and its tie in with the unjust treatment of the working class by big corporations.
3. What was the process of making this video?
The process of making the video: I went through the footage and found the most interesting parts that were also long lasting so that I stuck to the natural flow of the sunset as it went. I wanted nature to speak for itself. I did a few rapid cuts at the end, bringing back the roof top vent footage in order to bring visual attention to the final name listed in the song. The final name, Rayshard Brooks was added after I had already recorded the song. I felt that it was important to include his name not only to honor him but also to make it clear that just because the song was over…the problem of systemic racism and police brutality was not!