For the past six years, our buddy Evan Weinerman aka Arms Race has been one of our favorite music video directors and a standard go-to for us and a number of our best friends in music, ranging from Lord Huron to Local Natives to Superhumanoids, and more.
Today, we review the greatest of his clips with some commentary on each from the man himself, whose creative vision never fails to take us somewhere interesting.
Superhumanoids - "Norwegian Black Metal" (2015)
With this concept I wanted to take a scenario that sounds zany and funny — "black metal fan sings pop song in Japanese karaoke bar" — but go against expectations. Portray a character with unexpected pathos. Kyle [Mooney] is obviously known as a comedian but he has incredible range as an actor. I love the internal tragedy and darkness in his performance. There are a few hints at the backstory I developed but I left the narrative vague and open to interpretation.
Lord Huron: "Time to Run" (2012)
This is one of my favorite videos. Creating a world that references some diverse genres — Spaghetti Westerns, Bollywood, and frontier pictures — but feels unique. It was a grueling shoot. We faced 110-degree temperatures in the desert with a small crew. The entire shoot was physically active with lots of movement and running around. We pulled off the opening shot with a tripod strapped down in a truck bed and driving alongside while Ben [Schneider] runs. I was pleasantly surprised we got a smooth dolly move out of that bunk setup.
Lord Huron: "Lonesome Dreams" (2013)
A kind of origin story for the interconnected Lord Huron narrative. The inspiration here is old Hollywood epics and adventure movies like Ben Hur, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and 7th Voyage of Sinbad. We emulated the vibrant Technicolor film look and classical matte painting-inspired VFX that make those movies so captivating. Bunch of expansive shots that hint at an alluring, mysterious world. My DP and close buddy Garret Curtis slayed this one. The composition, framing, and shaping natural light are all outstanding; every frame a painting, blah, blah, blah.
We Barbarians: "Chambray" (2011)
Children of Men meets The Road with a mysterious little McGuffin thrown in. My first time shooting a true "oner". So stressful but pulling it off was exhilarating. The pressure mounts exponentially the deeper you make it into the shot. So many cues and precise marks to hit. We shot guerrilla style without permits or permissions so the risk of getting shut down loomed overhead. We took a big leap of faith. A cop showed up minutes after we wrapped... major bullet dodged. At the time I was obsessed with the Werner Herzog methodology of getting your shot by any means necessary, trespassing or lying or whatever, which I thought would contribute to the intense energy needed for the video. A few recurring collaborators, producer Thomas Sobel and DP Devin Doyle, were well prepared and a great stabilizing force to keep me sane.
The Franks: "Neon Politik" (2009)
This was the first music video I ever made, I'll always have a soft spot for it. It's rough around the edges but that's part of its charm and lines up nicely with the famous Franks attitude. I learned a lot from this shoot and the editing process. Changing an idea on the fly that's not working, finding the rhythm in the edit, building intensity to match the track. Props to Sarah [Chernoff] for hanging in the back of that busted truck going 40 mph in the salt flats. I like to think that scorpion is still living large out there in the desert.
Globe Skateboards: Showdown at Stabber's Ditch (2012)
An '80s skate video homage with a Satanic shrine, a burnout hesher licking Chrissy from Growing Pains, and some random drunk dude in a terrible wig as Kyle's stunt double. Nobody seemed to notice when this came out but I kinda like it that way. My bro Sterling Bartlett designed this line for Globe and all you really need to know is he put a bottle opener on the board for optimal beverage consumption. I still have the board and shred (I can land a boneless).