Local Wire

Local Band Turns Downtown Phoenix Into an 8-Bit Music Video

Sometimes, it's the simple ideas that work out the best.

For their debut music video for “Speak Now,” pop punk trio Genre turned themselves into video-game heroes who take on two of Arizona's greatest villains — Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Governor Doug Ducey. They also bring many Phoenix landmarks with them into 8-bit video game land, including The Lost Leaf, Carly's, Revolver Records, Tent City, and Crescent Ballroom.

The video, which was guitarist Trevor Denton's idea, is in part a take on the old Ghostbusters video game, according to lead singer Zac Markey. The Genre frontman says he and Denton created the entire video on Adobe Illustrator and After Effects.  

“We are all about doing stuff that is grandiose but also viable to do. It doesn't cost a lot of money, and it seemed like a good way to give the video a sense of adventure without having to get a bunch of capital and time and different people involved,” says Markey.

It definitely would have been quite a trick to put together all the people and resources it would have taken to put this video on its feet. In terms of video game production in 2016, it might be pretty basic, but to have done the video in live action would have been damn near impossible.

"The story of the video matches the narrative of the song pretty closely. It's called 'Speak Now,' like at a wedding — 'Speak now or forever hold your peace.' And so basically it starts with us at home where we are practicing, and we have our cool posters on the wall, and we decide to leave the house. All sorts of shit happens, and we find a cat smoking a cross-joint, and he can't remember the message to us 'cause he's too fucked up, and we find shrooms and aliens," Markey says. "That's when we find [New Times] and we fight Sheriff Joe and Doug Ducey, and then we have a show at Crescent [Ballroom], and there is a wedding during it, and we think we can break it up by playing really well, but it's too late. There is a real person who the song is about who used to work at Crescent Ballroom.”

The video even throws some friendly shade at New Times  in the form of a little protest scene. The group didn't think their video release or subsequent album release would garner any attention from New Times  after a very-well-worded e-mail got totally ignored a few years back. So in the original cut of the video, the trio marches up to the New Times building shouting "We exist," only to have the window slammed in their faces. But after a certain writer contacted them, the group altered the sequence to what it is now. 

They certainly didn’t need to add a nod to the magazine to the mix for the video to be awesome, but that definitely didn't make anyone think less of them for doing it. Genre will be releasing their album Legendary Rock Act at Bud’s Glass Joint on June 4 with a free, all-ages show featuring themselves as well as Bogan Via and Hollowpoint Vigils.

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Jeff Moses
Contact: Jeff Moses