Video Voyager: The Impliers’ “Lightning”

The Impliers are the psychedelic rock duo making waves with their oddly tuned guitars, superb production quality, and innovative musical techniques. Dan and Charles have known each other since High School, though they recently got together to create The Impliers when their lives seemed to mirror each others. It was fate.

Their recent music video is for their single “Lighting.” The song is seemingly about mental health and it’s effect on people. They perfectly and masterfully visualize what it’s like to suffer from a mental illness, stuck in a depressive state and suddenly, as if struck by lighting, you are in another place mentally. The use of quick shots and flashing lights aid this idea and show how fast things can change. They interchange the fast with the slow with a lot of shots that represent stillness, but stillness in a way that captures the inability to move.

We spoke with The Impliers about their innovate and powerful video:

1. Tell us the story of this song, why did you choose to visualize this song specifically in this way?

There’s a bipolar sense to what’s going on in this song, lyrically and in how the parts dramatically change in moods and range of feeling. I had always thought bipolar was someone who rapidly changed their mind or moods and was hot and cold, but it’s more of an exaggerated version of what everyone tends to go through – which is a longer arc of being down and then coming out. It was so interesting to learn that bursts of creative energy and motivation that most of us feel can actually be a symptom of bipolar, the mania specifically – that had never occurred to me that the higher highs were one of the poles. Charles and I have both experienced this through our own diagnosis as adults. I think this song shows some of that bipolar thinking in seeing different perspectives, with bursts of energy and some subdued elements while showing forward progress in diving within – it really compliments the broader story we explore on our record ‘cocoon coming out on August 19’ as it rounds out the first part of the record before there’s a change in atmosphere. The visuals really try to exaggerate these emotions.

2. What was the inspiration behind this video (visuals, storyline, etc.)?

We initially decided that we would not have any music videos for this album, as we felt the music and the experience that happens in the minds of the listener is the most important experience of the music, and we didn’t want to interfere with that, but one day the image came of the man in the bed that opens the video, and the rest of the video came like a string of pearls. There is an interesting duality that is explored both in the settings, ranging from the closed, dull inside scenes to the expansive colorful external scenes, but there’s an additional layer that shows a crossover of elements between the two landscapes and a hint of further duality in each of the individuals own consciousness. 

3. What was the process of making this video?

Well, from a technical execution standpoint, we handle our own filming, editing and everything from ideation to completion. Charles and I always vet ideas together, and that ranges from bouncing a full idea off one another to coming up with the idea together from scratch and riffing. And sometimes, we will get our hands on one another’s idea and try to send it back in the most surprising fashion. Lightning was an interesting approach in that I filmed a few scenes to understand Charles’ reaction and when we realized we were on to something and worked out more of the ideas, we booked time to film and I put together a few ideas that I wanted to film without giving context as to what was happening. When we started filming in the woods, Charles had a post-it note of hand-gestures which he executed on flawlessly. The beauty of our working relationship, is throughout the entire process, with the post-it notes,  while we were exchanging uniforms consistently throughout the day as we relocated filming locations, there was never the question of “what are we filming” and the complete trust that our ages old creative collaborative process would come through in the end, in a way that worked for both of us. One funny moment, though – my brother Bryan flew in to help operate our film gear that weekend and on the first night we filmed a scene with the foot and the man under the bed. He called our brother Sean that night and said “I landed, and next thing you know I was being filmed sitting on the bed with a gel dripping off my bare foot, while a grown man dressed in a white suit laid under the bed.”

Watch here:

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Video Voyager: 3Q’s with Goose Bolton

Goose Bolton is a mysterious figure, who we are told came from outer space and crash landed here on earth in early AD 2021 after an intergalactic heist went awry. He has been releasing experimental music for a while, and his latest single/video “Lunatic” is one of them.

We spoke with Goose about this strange, yet powerful video:

Tell us the story of this song, why did you choose to visualize this song specifically?

The song originated as a sonic accompaniment to a story about someone who starts hallucinating that inanimate objects can speak to them. When conceiving of a music video, I chose to visualize this song because it’s one of my favorites on my upcoming record and because, thematically, it felt like the most appropriate starting point to accompany the strange images and narratives that swirl around in my head. I didn’t feel locked into any single specific narrative with this song, and so the Tiger Ji (the director) and I could really let our minds run free during the brainstorming process. 

What was the inspiration behind this video(visuals, storyline, etc.)?

The initial inspiration for this video began a dream that Tiger had, which contained the specific image of men in business suits wriggling down a city street while wrapped in plastic. This was the springboard for us deciding that the video should be about a person who is seeing something crazy in the city (that only they can see) and their response to that. Initially, we were going to have the video’s main character be chased by fish people, but then we decided that lizard people would be more relevant to contemporary conspiracy theory as well as more thematically interesting, as it lets our main character wrestle with her own reptilian identity by the end of the film. We were aiming for a very specific mood that mingled elements of the absurd, science-fiction, horror, and comedy. I decided it made sense for the main character to be wearing a hospital gown after having escaped an asylum because the word “Lunatic” to me always seems like it’s a title assigned by society to an individual, rather than a subjective state that the individual feels (“crazy” for instance feels more like it can be either an assigned title or a subjective identity), so the hospital gown was the most efficient way to convey that this person is The Lunatic. The version of lunacy we wanted to explore in this music video is not mental illness. Rather, it is a label thrust upon a person by others in response to that person’s reaction to outside factors or new knowledge. This is important because the main character is not insane—she’s just the only person who can see the lizard people.

What was the process of making this video?

We filmed the video over 2 days across different areas of New York City in both Manhattan and Brooklyn. The final climactic scene with (spoilers) all of the dancing lizard people is the rooftop of a parking garage on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, most of the street pursuit scenes were shot in Bushwick, and we filmed the subway scene at the 2nd Ave subway stop in Manhattan as well. The shoot was incredibly smooth with zero hiccups. Tiger is the kind of director that has every single shot meticulously planned and storyboarded weeks ahead of the shoot, which led to a fun and efficient filming experience where we could focus primarily on the emotions and physicality of the actors in each scene. 

Watch “Lunatic” here: