Wednesday, April 27, 2011
This promotional video is a combination of limited resources and a little bit of creativity. The idea was to make some sort of live action video and not one that is simply a slide show with background music. Slide show type videos are what underground bands saturate the internet with. Of course there is nothing wrong with that. That method is a great option for previewing new music to the inattentive listener. I also have taken that route, but not this time. My vision was to have a final product that did not give off the impression of something thrown together.
In early brainstorming I knew the focal point of the video was going to be vacation footage taken at Fort Douaumont in Verdun, France. This was a French bunker during World War I. Rich in history, the area was a site of much bloodshed. When taking the tour, the subterranean tunnels gave off a quiet, eerie feeling of what had happened almost 100 years earlier.
A dark, cold wetness consumed the corridors; it created a great horror-like atmosphere. At the time I clearly remember saying “this would be a great place to film a black metal video.” So I shot away with the video and still camera. The song “Lord of Swine” has nothing to do with France or WWI, but I thought the bunker provided a perfect visual for the piece.
So fast forward to March of 2011, I had the main concept in mind but had to figure out what to do for the band shots. Footage of the members playing in the practice spot would be easy and that was the plan. An hour before everyone showed up, the idea of using some candles sprang into my head. Quickly, I rushed to a department store to see what could be scavenged. There I found them, multiple packs of 24 unscented Tealight candles. So with the blockbuster budget I spent about $12 for a large amount of candles.
Just before the band arrived I had lit the candles and strategically placed throughout the practice room. Upon completion, almost 100 candles brought light to the room. Of course when the band walked through the door, laughter took control. The idea of a metal video featuring the members playing around candles is cliché but I worked with what was available. I must say the candles in the dark definitely set the mood we were looking for.
Next was the challenging part; pretending to be playing without laughing. That task was carried out reasonably well, but in the final product there are some obvious signs of laughter. A metal video filled with laughing faces, not a chance. Only Anthrax can get away with that.
The final part is what took the longest; editing everything together. There is some pretty decent video editing software on the market, but I chose to use the basic Windows Movie Maker. Granted, Movie Maker is built for someone’s Dad to put together home videos for Christmas. So there is not much flexibility on the program, but I tell you the limits were pushed on what could be done. All the short pieces of footage and edits caused the program to constantly freeze up. So I learned very quickly to save my work after every change. This meticulous job took several days to complete. As for total time, I would say about 6 hours, maybe 8. Each time I thought the end was in sight, a new idea would surface. I made several prototypes until a satisfactory one was found.
Although this is no MTV quality video, I was pretty happy with the final product. Though the cheapness is evident, a nice sinister, dark video shines through. Sometimes magic can be brought forth by combining some patience and a little creativity. Well maybe the magic was not summoned here, but I damn well tried.
Minch’s first two EPs on Seraphic Decay Records are nothing short of perfect. Insane blasting noise, I really do mean insane. This is not grindcore, it is noise in the purest form. There are no drums, a Whirlpool 5-Cycle dryer is used for percussion. It is very obvious on the recording.
Before internet, one had to read fanzines or just guess what bands were worth checking out. As for buying a 7 inch vinyl the risk was not so high. If the band sucked, $2 to $3 down the drain, no big deal. So any EP with a sick cover would usually win me over.
The year was 91 or 92, somewhere around that time. Back when Sound Exchange was still on Westheimer (for you Houston people). There I found the first Minch EP. It was released on Seraphic Decay, a known purveyor of heavy releases. On yellow vinyl, with a cut and paste cover, I assumed it was some sort of death grind. From the first play I could not contain my laughter. The comical screaming and beating on the dryer, both compliment one another perfectly. To an untrained ear, it sounds like an amalgamation of shit. However, to me the juvenile approach is gold.
Shortly after that I found their second EP “America’s Most Wanted”. The mugshot covered yellow insert was great. Pressed on bubblegum colored vinyl, made it a nice collectable. The thank you list inside is an exhaustive enumeration of just about every underground mutilated band of the time. It reminded me of an old Impetigo thanks list.
There is really no reason for this post. Recently I was listening to both records and had an urge to write something about them. I know since then they have released other things, plus a discography CD, but these first two are all I need. Listen to the insanity below: