Local hardcore band American Standards, is pretty loud when it comes to its positive messages. The combo recently released a music video for "The Still Life," the title track of the band's recent EP, which "is an introspective look at being the change you want to see," according to singer Brandon Kellum.
Up on the Sun: What inspired the song?
Brandon Kellum: "The Still Life" is the title track from our recent EP release. It was used to unify the themes in the CD of complacently, whereas the other six tracks from the album are a call for action on an external level, The Still Life is an introspective look at being the change you want to see. I kind of went off the idea, "How can I change anything, if I can't change myself." The lyrics are progressive and regressive. They paint the picture of someone continually pushing for something more, but the more they try, the more they are disappointed, eventually falling back into the same cycle. This is expressed in the lines "I take one step forward for each two steps back / I'm constantly moving, but not getting anywhere / so i start running just to stay in place."
This song is the last song and title track on our Still Life EP, released June 30th. Physical copies are available at shows, independent retailers (Zia, Stinkweeds, Revolver) and online. There will also be a big digital release September 1st, where people can download the full album for as little as $1 thanks to Bandcamp's choose your price program. The song was released online as a single with a music video August 20th.
Have you ever worked with directors Shawn Severud and Brett Walker before?
Yes. I actually met Shawn almost eigh years through an ad looking for band members. We went on to play music together for several years. When I found he was making indie films, I wanted to team up to see what we could do. I have also known Brett for quite a while. He has put out several short films and had the experience to help move the project along.
Tell me about the themes of the video. What is going on with the protagonist?
The video is centered around an individual fed up with living a stale life, working just to make a living and to get from one day to the next. At a turning point he decides to just get up and walk away from everything: his job, his home, everything. Desperate for movement and not knowing what else to do, he just starts walking and doesn't stop.
What does the kaleidoscope-looking visual represent? Why did you guys decide to combine black and white and color?
The kaleidoscope visuals are a representation of claustrophobia and panic he is feeling. The color represents where he is in his life and ultimately go to black and white to show the finality as he is stuck in an ocean of indecision and finally realizes it is his own decision to make; that he doesn't have to be stuck In "the still life."
Where was it filmed? I recognize bits of downtown Phoenix. Did you guys know about that abandoned building, or was it a lucky find?
The house shots with the band in the background were dark with cold tones to reflect where the protagonist was in his own mind. Everything was filmed in downtown Phoenix heading down towards South Mountain. The abandoned house was a spot we found driving down 7th avenue. We felt it was a perfect symbol of where the character must of been in his life; just a burnt out shell of a human being.
American Standards is scheduled to play Within These Walls at Nile Theater on Saturday, September 22.