Mateship, heroes, villains, tragedy, beer, gaffer tape and suspect acting, the new video for Lower Plenty's "Life Thrills" sits somewhere between Oliver Stone's Vietnam trilogy and an episode of Dad's Army.
The video for the title track from the Melbourne quartet's new album --directed by Chris Ackroyd and edited with director of photography Tristan Strong - follows Privates Tjhunngy, Monty and Twombs on a journey from dramatic heartbreak to joyous celebration.
I caught up with Chris to talk about the shoot in which all four band members; Daniel Twomey (percussion), Jensen Tjhung (guitar, vocal), Sarah Heyward (percussion, vocal) and Al Montfort (guitar, vocal), deliver powerful performances.
Whose idea was the heartbreaking war story?
Chris Ackroyd: It was a collaborative effort from all of us. Jensen had the funeral idea and we arrived at locations knowing the setting and rough ideas of shots I wanted. It was super loose. The majority of narrative-based clips are pretty bad, and some are just flat-out embarrassing to watch, unless they can be self-aware and have a sense of humour. We had the mentality that as long as our mates thought it funny, we'd succeed.
My favourite scene is when Al gives Jensen his final cigarette then takes it straight back off him after he declares he's done.
There were too many funny moments to count. It was like Breaker Morant meets Benny Hill. When Jensen got the knife into his chest and fell was a good laugh. He did it three or four times, and the ground was really sketchy and probably loaded with needles and glass. We weren't even professional enough to get him a soft surface to land on. Sorry Tjhungy!
And there's a lot of beers!
That was actually one of the first ideas we had. I'm really happy with how the spray of the tins looks with the black and white. Absolute absurdity. We taped them all in duct tape to make sure that Carlton United Brewery didn't come looking for a cheque. And kudos to Jensen for getting in the coffin with all those cans and ice, it wasn't exactly a warm day.
What did Sarah think of being cast as the villian?
I'm not actually too sure. Initially she wasn't written to be the villain, but on the second day of shooting we thought it'd be funny that she would be responsible for all this mayhem, and then shows up as the priestess overseeing the funeral of the man she had killed. Bless her for letting us make her do all of this ridiculous stuff.
Gallipoli or the Mekong Delta? Where was it shot?
I wish it were as exciting as that. The funeral was shot down by Merri Creek, about five minutes drive from Al's house in Brunswick, and the war/death was shot about two minutes drive from Twomby's in Abbotsford. Tristan shot everything really beautifully, so I'm glad to hear it looks like it could be either of those places. Where we filmed the death scene made me think of Tarkovsky's Stalker . Except if it was made by a pack of goofballs.
Go throw a grenade with Lower Plenty when they launch the album July 11 in Melbourne at the John Curtin Hotel.
More Lower Plenty anti-war related stuff here: