“Distance” is the final of Savant’s three funded videos. And like the other two (“Solitary” and “Underground”) it’s a well made video. It looks good and I’d guess Savant were very happy with it.
We find the band sitting around in a dark room, noodling on their instruments, having some lolz. The blinds in the room are pulled, but there’s a light dramatically shining outside. So goth.
One of the band members suggests calling it a day and they’re all about to pack up and leave when suddenly the lead singer says, “Hang on, boys. Just one more time.” This may have something to do with his notebook, full of scribbled lyrics and “I WILL” in thick lettering.
The band kick into it, but because the video has drawn attention to it, my focus is on the lyrics. “She said, show me all your human nature, just how deep it goes.” Whoa.
And that’s pretty much the video – the band playing in a dark room. Director Greg Riwai and DOP Geoff Andrew have done a good job playing with light. Candles and the outdoor light are used to create dramatic silhouettes, until finally the head singer notices it’s getting light outside, and the video ends with him peeking through the blinds at the outside world.
Well, yay. Savant may not have had the most original sound (this song is very reminiscent of Incubus), but their music videos were good quality.
Best bit: the notebook, a masterclass of cinema serial killer penmanship.
Director: Greg Riwai
Next… looking back and forward.
“Underground” is a serious rock song, but Savant go for a lighter treatment, with the video showing the fake making of a music video for the song. The group wake up and are shown in a four-way split, just like Betchadupa’s “Awake” video. But the early morning lie-in is interrupted by a phone call from the music video director, played by comedian Brendhan Lovegrove.
The boys quickly get up and, after initial car trouble, they get a ride from a slightly creepy guy with a van. (When you’re in a band and someone has a van, you don’t ask too many questions.) The van stops at an intersection where it is suddenly surrounded by a hoard of Asian fangirls. This is the third video with the “crazy Asian fans” trope. Was it not believable that a group of, say, Pakaha or Maori teen girls would go crazy over Savant?
At this point, the van driver (male, Pakeha) reveals himself to be the craziest Savant fan of them all, and encourages the band to ditch the video shoot. Instead they load up the van with boxes of beers and take off to a party at a flat. There they party hard, surrounded by lots of young women in short skirts in a slightly strange, Lynchian setting.
Rightly annoyed at this slack-arse band, director Brendhan ropes in actress Sara Wiseman and three guys to play the band. Later Savant sit down and are shocked to see their new music video, with an woman lip-syching the yarled man-lyrics. They have no one to blame but themselves.
There are some valuable showbiz lessons to be learned here:
1. No one likes boozers.
2. No one likes time-wasters.
3. No one likes divas.
4. No one is irreplaceable.
Best bit: the lame non sequitur running gag of the neighbourhood power-walker.
Next… a homecoming.
Savant (who sometimes spell their name with a metal umlaut – Savänt) are here and they’re going to rock. I was delighted to discover that the “Solitary” video is shot in the same old warehouse location where Lucid 3’s “Shiver” video was filmed. I think it might be the since demolished old warehouses on Quay Street. While Lucid 3 were content to build a stage, add a bit of water and pose artfully, Savant have gone to the extreme for their Soundgraden-inspired track.
The band’s bio at Muzic.net.nz notes that the video was filmed using the fancy new world of digital cinematography “as used on Star Wars Episode 2.” It also reckons that this was the first time a digital video had been produced in Australasia. Well, that’s an important milestone.
The video starts with the band playing in the warehouse during the day. We know it’s daytime because of all the sunlight that’s flooding in through the many windows and skylights. The light has been digitally enhanced to resemble strong hazy sunbeams. It’s been manipulated to shine around the singer, like some sort of bad Christian film.
Then night falls and the lighting tricks get even tricksier. The warehouse is dark on the inside and the band are lit by areas of green, gold and brown light. And just in case this was not extreme enough, we then find the bass player floating in the air (i.e. hanging from a cable) because this is how hard Savant rock.
The thing is, this song has the lyrics “I’m a solitary man / Yes, I am”. Clearly a band who write big crunchy rock numbers like this do not care for subtlety. They’re going to go as extreme as they can manage. And I can’t help think that the band would have been really pleased with the finished product.
Best bit: the bass player’s extreme röck facïal exprëssions.