Editor's note: Have you seen the new BODEGA GIRLS video? Well hot damn. The clip for "Surf's Up America" has been making the rounds for a few weeks now, so instead of just re-posting it we decided to reach out to one of the producers, Loroto's P. Nick Curran (also a Phoenix contributor, and Loroto partner with Addison Post, the video's director), to break down his vision and approach and give us an inside look into the production of the video. The photos included in this post were shot by Curran, Mia Anter, Laura Alfisher, and Jordan Bean.
Producer’s Take: Style
In late September, my partner Addison Post and I were approached by Converse about creating a music video for any artist who had recorded at its free Brooklyn-based recording studio, Rubber Tracks. We were provided a list of 60 bands to choose from, a sizable budget, and few restrictions. We chose Bodega Girls’ “Surf’s Up America” because 1) the song is rad as fuck 2) they’re Boston and 3) we were able to concoct a freaked-out tribute to Americana ideas without being overly explicit in our references. (Here's the video, in case you haven't seen it; re-join us after the jump)
One of the more overwhelming -- and often overlooked -- parts of production is the styling. Our stylist, Mia Anter, who we’ve worked with on videos for Bunny’s A Swine, You Can Be A Wesley, and Grey Sky Appeal, had one month to bring together a concrete style for nearly 20 cast-members across seven locations. And most of it she did with little budget and from her own closet.
“[A lot of it] was me trying to make [Loroto’s] vision come to life while sticking to the aesthetic of the Bodega Girls,” she says. “So the stress of that, trying to bring everyone’s vision to life and not compromising mine, it’s a lot.”
The treatment brought together disparate elements of Americana as seen through our own distorted sense of celebration; Easy Rider meets drag queens, or Deathproof as produced by Rihanna. Mia’s challenge was to take these ideas and give them a firm physical grounding while maintaing a touch of the surreal. A bizarro-celebration of the American dream soundtracked by a fuzz-laden shout-out of a pop-song.
“I wanted to have my hand in everything, so that if you were to freeze any shot in the video, it would be a perfect photograph,” she says. “So, especially in the party at the end, that was the part I liked the best, it was far-out and every one looked great.”
That scene proved the biggest challenge. Aside from the the five band members, Mia had 12 people cast specifically and an additional 10 folks to style on the spot. It was the last scene at the end of a week of 14-hour days, Hurricane Sandy had just rolled through and it genuinely felt like the end-of-the-world party we intended: drag queens and punk rockers, glitz, glam and glitter everywhere, all covered in a thick fog cast from two smoke machines. After the last shot, Evan Kenney from Bodega Girls remarked that the room looked and felt like one of “David Bowie’s wet dreams.”
“I couldn’t have done it without the network of people around me, people who wanted to help bleach and cut,” Mia said. “A few nights a week we’d buy a shit ton of wine, go to the garment district, come back to my house and cut up old clothes.”
Most of what Mia did was hand-styled and everything was handpicked. In early October, after we drafted our cast list, Mia worked on individual style-frames for each extra, which largely affected her idea of the film as a photograph. Hours after wrapping my day, I’d get calls from her, panic-stricken, obsessed over the tiniest detail of a peripheral outfit.
From her philosophy of style, we were provided a look completely unique to her imagination, but which reflected our production vision and maintained the party-forward style that Bodega Girls have always embodied so well. Throughout the video, the scenery and action escalate accordingly, but it’s the individual style of each extra that allows everything to feel whole.
Here's an extended look: