Chosen by Monk

The Uber Rock Approved stampIt’s hard to believe that it’s been seven whole days since we last awarded our coveted ‘Video Of The Week’ title, and, despite the ongoing, and in many cases renewed, lockdowns in many parts of the Überverse, we are still receiving a healthy bundle of submissions for our coveted ‘Video Of The Week’ title. Many of them are produced against the background of continuing quarantine conditions in some countries, while others reflect artists being able to return and flex their creative muscles once again.

After careful consideration of the 100-plus submissions we once again received this week – and, yes, we did watch them all – we actually have our first ever joint winners: two videos from two totally different bands, but both of which are positively epic in their scope, their delivery and their interpretation of the songs which they interpret.

The first comes from Chicago prog rockers District 97 and their beautifully animated short film – because, at almost 12 minutes long, it could well qualify as such at many cinematic awards ceremonies – for the track ‘Ghost Girl’, from their current album, ‘Screens’. The song itself is the musical journey of a little girl who longs to fit in. The only problem? She’s terrorized by malevolent spirits, and nobody believes her – except for her loving but overbearing mother. Jonathan Schang, District 97’s drummer and primary composer told us more about bringing the song to visual life:

For well over a year, I’ve had a vision in my head of an animated short film for ‘Ghost Girl’. I imagined something that conjured a similar mood to Steven Wilson’s and Owl House Studios’ stop motion videos. Through happenstance I was put in touch with director Christopher Kezelos (‘Zero’, ‘The Maker’), who enthusiastically took on the project. Since January, we closely collaborated to bring ‘Ghost Girl’ and her world to life.

I never could’ve guessed how much all of our lives would change during the making of this film, but I feel that makes its story of isolation, alienation, and redemption all the more relevant. I hope it captivates music and film fans everywhere this Halloween season and beyond.”

Director Christopher Kezelos added:

“When I first heard the song, I was instantly drawn into the disturbing tale of a young medium terrorized by evil spirits and the epic highs and lows of this sweeping rock ballad.

“Every line of the song conjured haunting and beautiful images in my mind that I wanted to bring to the screen. The song, sung from the protagonist’s point of view, felt very personal. I wanted to portray her story through a diary as she journals her life and shares her intimate secrets with the viewer. Sketches that ebb from dark and gritty to light and calm as she pours her heart and soul onto the page.

“I wanted every scene to feel like a beautiful cinemagraph. A memory captured in time, with a hint of motion that draws you into Ghost Girl’s world. My hope is that her tale of transformation resonates with audiences struggling with their own demons.”

Our second choice, well worthy of the co-winner accolade is no less epic, and equally disturbing, but in an entirely different way. It is the atmospheric, claustrophobic, dystopian vision that the Emmy Award winning Drea de Matteo (whom readers will recognize from her roles in ‘The Sopranos’ and ‘Sons Of Anarchy’) and All Them Witches’ drummer Robby Staebler had for ‘Rats In Ruin’, the closing track on the trio’s stunning ‘Nothing As The Ideal’ album

There was one other video which jumped out and grabbed our attention this week, and that is Magg Dylan’s powerful interpretation of Alanis Morrissette’s ‘You Oughta Know’. Just as the song itself is declarative and assertive in its delivery, the accompanying video, which impacts  because of the sheer authenticity of the message behind it (albeit in a slightly flawed way, as it lends too much emphasis to the performance aspect at the expense of the overall message). Lead singer Suzanne Di Iulio explained:

“We chose this song because it is so empowering, and it gives permission to not be okay during a break-up. The concept of the video came about at my best friend’s birthday party. She also went through a divorce and the idea of burning her wedding dress came up in conversation. We decided it would be amazing to have a bunch of real women instead of actresses burn their wedding dresses as well, so I asked some of my friends, and they asked some of their friends, and within a few days we actually had enough volunteers who were also willing to burn their wedding dresses for the shoot! It was a very emotional shoot for all of us, especially for my best friend Jennifer who burst out into tears when she threw her veil and dress into the fire.”

MD bassist Les Mosely added:

“There is a lot of real, genuine emotion going on in this video. It was truly an honor that the women who participated in the video would immortalize such a very personal and emotional experience in our music video. Watching their emotional liberation from such a dark experience of their past was inspiring to say the least. Also, I never knew just how afraid of fire Suzanne is, but when it came time to face the burning barrel, she did it head-on without a glimmer of fear… I am proud of her!”

Well, there you go. That’s your lot for this week. Until next Sunday, keep ‘er lit, keep ‘er between the hedges and #StayTheFuckSafe…

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