Blown PA systems, relentless rain (in LA?) and oil-can guitars are just another day in paradise for one of Los Angeles’s most interesting young indie rock bands.
It’s a rare rainy Saturday night in Los Angeles. There’s a seemingly unassuming venue on the outskirts of Koreatown, conspicuously lit up amongst a row of darkened windows. Step inside, and the world changes.
Los Angeles’s Heart of Art Gallery is a true LGBTQ-friendly, woman-centric space, a refuge from a world that too often tells folks who it is acceptable for them to be. The walls are dripping with art for sale to interested patrons, with the back wall covered by rows of flickering old television sets, bringing to mind a scene right out of a 1980’s music video – which is appropriate, because tonight Statues of Cats is filming their very first live MV.
LA band Statues of Cats is a mish-mosh of transplants from around the country, much like most of the Los Angeles music scene. I had the distinct pleasure of sitting down with members Daphne Greene (vocals, guitar) and Jonney Machtig (guitar, vocals) to chat about the making of the video.
Anna Acosta (A): So, I was at your live music video shoot last week, pretty cool – what made you guys choose to do that song? Tell me about the song. You did so many – which was the actual video?
Daphne Greene (D): It was the whole concert.
A: Oh, so it was a live concert! The plot thickens.
D: It was a confusing pre-production process for this one, because this was the first time we’ve worked with this particular crew on this type of project, and at first we thought it was just going to be a music video.
Jonney Machtig (J): For “Feelings Underground”.
D: That’s what we thought it was going to be, and then slowly, as we gained more information on what we were going to be dealing with – between the venue, and audio we had available, and timing and playing with other bands on the bill – we decided to just show some people what Statues of Cats show is like. To capture that experience the best we can.
A: Okay, so in terms of the release – are you planning on releasing it as a show or are you going to split it up by song? Since this would be your first music video of sorts, I’m curious.
J: In parts.
D: Right, so what we’re planning for the release of the concert video – because eventually we want to release it as a whole concert – is we’re probably going to be releasing ti song by song. Which will kind of spread out.
J: We could Tarantino it, or just do it all.
D: It’ll be linear, as far as I can tell. We’re going to have to see in post.
A: That’s fair.
D: It’s probably going to be a linear concert video from start to end. As far as music videos – which, as you’ve said, we don’t have – we actually have plans for several of those over the coming months. Valley of the Sun is going to be the first one.
A: Very nice. In that vein, what else do you guys have planned that folks can look forward to? Anything – touring, new music, etc. I know you’re in the midst of tracking a new album. Anything specific you can tell us about?
D: We’ve got four EPs that we’re planning on finishing by the end of the year.
D: We’re hoping to have at least one, maybe two ready by summer. In theory, there may also be a June tour happening. A Southwest, maybe Midwest circuit.
J: The first [EP] that’s going to be done is the Reti Chess Club.
A: And that’s the one that you obviously spearheaded.
A: In terms of making the video, what was the hardest thing that you didn’t expect to be difficult? What was the biggest thing that left you going… well, shit.
J: laughs No PA.
D: The live PA system – that’s the house PA system we were relying on being able to use – was half dead, so.. that was a problem.
A: Oh, good.
J: It was pretty punk rock.
D: I mean, we felt bad because the first act had to wait like 30 minutes for their set to start. We were trying to get things working so we had to ask another band to bring a PA. They did, but then theirs was having even more problems – so eventually we did the whole show on one blown speaker.
A: Well, given all of that, you sounded great! At least from the perspective of an audience member. On that track, are you guys going to overdub the audio – or whatever came out, that’s just what you’re going to use?
J: Essentially, what came out is what we’re going to use. We do need to fix some bass.
D: Yeah, it sounded like there were some bass issues with how it was picked up in the recording process so we may need to do some overdubbing there. That said, we’re going to try our darnedest to leave it alone and let it be what it is.
A: Well, as you put it, that’s very punk rock of you. Did you have a concept going into the planning of the video or was this something that your crew came up with for the most part?
D: Well, Chris Price (the director) and Derek Johnson (the cinematographer) have been close friends of ours for some time now. I went to film school with both of them, so we’ve collaborated on a lot of projects together. Working with people that we already have a close relationship with allowed us to collaborate on the whole thing. It was nice – Chris and Derek were both very enthusiastic and really wanted to do a live concert shoot. At the end of the day, they told us they wanted to do this and could get us some really cool visuals and have a lot of fun doing it. They’ve always been very enthusiastic and support of the band and our music, so we were happy to be their guinea pig during this trial run.
A: Awesome – everybody wins. Any idea when it’s going to come out? Or, at least, “in a perfect world, this is when it’s going to come out” dreams?
D: Maybe a month? I think it’s reasonable to say we’ll have the first song done in a month. We’ll have to see, but…
J: Possibly in April if everything lines up. We listened to the raw audios today and kind of got a feel for what we’re working with. That said, there’s no mixing or anything done yet, and we have no idea how long that’s going to take, so hopefully April.
A: Very cool. Thanks for chatting with me! Looking forward to the videos.
The first of the videos will be released on April 20th – you can be the first to see it by following Statues of Cats on their social media channels – and to stay updated on upcoming shows and tour dates. Memorabilia is currently available on iTunes!