[Echo Chamber (′ek·ō ′chām·bər): noun, 1. a dedicated space for the purposes of transmission and repetition of sound 2. a video segment that features your favorite bands playing your favorite songs 3. a video segment where your favorite bands blow your mind].
Words by Jim
Artist / Meeting of Important People
Songs / “Innocents Abound”, “Oh, Will You Finally Go?”, and “Hanky Church”
Location / Cemetery, Troy Hill
Time / April 9, 2011
Our first outside shoot. We finally made it out of winter. Meeting of Important People was next on the list and we were excited to partner up with them for our first outside shoot. We threw around a few ideas. A park? Maybe. A street corner somewhere? Eh. Josh, lead vocalist and guitar player, hit me up with a great idea: a cemetery. He knew of one near his house that he described to me as “sideways”. I wasn’t exactly sure what he meant by that. Trusting his judgement, we cleared the schedule for the band and crew. Why not stack the deck and make our first outdoor shoot happen at a “sideways” graveyard. Great idea, right? I put my qualms to rest by visiting the site earlier in the week. “Sideways” definitely made sense. A small house on the property caught my attention. Standing around in awe, a car pulled around and a man got out. I introduced myself. We chatted. He lived there. He had no problem with us shooting some videos as long as we weren’t some metal band. As long as we didn’t “break anything”. Made sense. What a relief.
The day of the shoot came with overcast skies but no rain. Perfect. Todd showed up to my place and we jumped in the car and picked up Justin on the way. I didn’t realize how close it was to all of our houses. Spooky. We arrived on site before the band to set up. Interestingly, the outside electrical plug was turned off — the only power source. Great. No power. Knocked on the door. No answer. No shoot. Justin had the quick idea to run down to work and grab a few battery powered mixers. That would do the trick, but might set our schedule behind. Too bad, we needed to do something. Justin and I sped away, leaving Todd alone with all the quiet company. Fighting traffic to get downtown, I got a call from Josh. They made it to the site. Ironically, the gentleman left his house and graciously turned on the power for us. We grabbed a few random things anyway and headed back to find 2/3 of the band warming up in the grass. Justin set his equipment up. Todd climbed the steep steps and got some amazing B-roll. I got in the way. Half hour later, Matt the drummer showed up ready to play. After a few false starts and looks over our shoulders, we launched into their first tune.
The band was sounding super tight and assured us they could roll through these songs no problem. We did a couple takes just for good measure. They were impressive, nonetheless. Matt and Josh’s vocals bounced off the hills around us. Aaron’s bass amp echoed off the headstones event though it was far out of the shot. This was a new song. This was their “Pitchfork Song”. Hushed whispers turned into outside voices as we got more comfortable with the locale. With things going so smooth, we decided to shoot four instead of three. Sick. We moved on to the next one before deciding to change locals. This low key number fit well with the surroundings and we quickly got what we wanted. Gathering up their acoustic instruments, the band ascended the old stone steps to the gravestones on the hill. Things got a bit more claustrophobic up there, but we could manage. The old headstones made Aaron’s old arch-top feel right at home. I helped Justin unplug his gear and move it 10 feet up the hill so everything would reach. Normally we don’t change location, but this seemed worth it. Something special was up there. Playing cover songs while they waited, the band kept entertained and warmed up. They decided to try out an old favorite, “Hanky Church”.
A song about a graveyard in a graveyard. Amazing. Sitting on the steps with the band behind me, I just took it all in. The harmonies, the overcast skies, the location — so surreal. The whole shoot was about getting caught up in the moment for me, but the band kept me grounded. Cracking jokes and telling stories, they had a great time even surrounded by tombstones we couldn’t even read. For a couple hours, Todd, Justin, and myself were part of the threesome’s close circle of friends. We weren’t shooting videos, we were just having fun. What a weird place to be hanging out, right? Taking a deep breath, I’d look around to remind myself where we were. With three songs in the bag, the band decided to do a new tune they’d just finished working up. How could we resist?
What a song. Seriously. This was the “something special” we knew was up there. This song just clicked. This was what we came for. Aaron’s determined stare. Matt’s genuine enjoyment with eyes closed. Josh’s yelp. Calling it a wrap, we helped Justin wind up his millions of feet of cable and stash his gear. Lav mics were delicately placed in their homes and the band stowed their instruments. We made sure to put everything just as we found it out of respect to the residents, both living and deceased. Picking up the last of the stuff, I stopped and reflected that our first “public”, outdoor shoot went off without a hitch — no angry neighbors, no cops, no ghosts, and no rain. Crazy. In hindsight, the shoot would have been worth it even if some of those things had shown up. Well, maybe not ghosts. Anything but ghosts.
We can’t thank Meeting of Important People enough for working with us on this awesome shoot. We were super impressed with songs and performances especially in this location. It was epic, spooky, fun, and a whole bunch of other adjectives all rolled into one. Thanks dudes and enjoy.