All Songs Considered
Thu November 1, 2012
First Watch: Walk Off The Earth, 'Red Hands'
Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 1:28 pm
I'll admit it, I'm a sucker for a confetti cannon. But even more so, I love it when visuals draw me into a song. It doesn't happen often, but this video for the song "Red Hands" by Walk Off The Earth had me scratching my head wondering how it was done while it kept me smiling at the same time.
It's not the first time this band has made me smile. Earlier this year this Canadian band gathered round a single acoustic guitar and recorded themselves playing a cover version of Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know" that has now been watched 138 million times.
"Red Hands" appears on the group's R.E.V.O. EP, out this week. The video for the song, directed by Ellis Bahl, feels high-concept but homemade, a little like the work of director Michel Gondry or the videos made by OK Go. It's a bit of a visual puzzle — it was shot in a single take, but is presented out of order. We asked Bahl and Walk Off The Earth's Gianni Luminati to help us put the pieces together.
From the director, Ellis Bahl:
"I've always been fascinated with the concept of time. Without intending it, all of my videos seem to play with and manipulate time. Red Hands comes out of an idea I'd had for a while: to show a story or a performance occurring simultaneously with itself on a linear timeline. I could never get the idea to work visually, until I figured out how to house this linear timeline within a physical timeline that mimics the visual of a "time line." Going up and down a hallway, we can see both time and distance traveled.
"The way we did it is rather simple. I figured out how I wanted the video to look and then I recut the song completely out of order for the band to learn before the shoot. I added extra choruses and split up the outro throughout the playback. I rearranged all the verses and added a lot of half measure counts throughout. I also messed with the speeds of the choruses and "oh yeahs" to make it slowmo. It's probably the most confusing thing a band could be handed a couple days before a music video shoot. I just said, "here, learn this" ... I was actually really concerned that it was going to be impossible, but they were awesome and nailed it.
"We shot it on a steady-cam and walked backwards down the whole hallway with the band walking forwards performing the out of order song towards the camera. We only had enough supplies/daylight for ten takes and finally got it on the last one. It was really scary, but the payoff was immense."
From Gianni Luminati of Walk off the Earth:
"'Red Hands' is pretty open to interpretation and will mean different things to different people. When we originally wrote the song, we were thinking about taking responsibility for your actions and standing up on your own when things go wrong ... rather than blaming other people around you. Sometimes you just have to accept the circumstances that are thrown your way without pointing the finger."
Walk Off The Earth's new EP, R.E.V.O., is out now.