The Octopus Project – Whitby Music Video (MV of the Week + Band Interview)

The Octopus Project have always been lofty with their artistic vision, as we learned when they first told us about their 8-projector, surround-sound performances. It’s no wonder, then, that the often overly hoaky art of stop-motion animation finds good articulation in their hands. Indeed, they actually created the music video themselves — “a product of the The Octopus Project’s collective consciousness”, according to Peekaboo Records. Thanks to clever editing tricks galore, adorable geometric shapes float across indoor and outdoor environments, tickling the eyeballs with their ever-throbbing movements.

According to the record label:
“Created, shot and directed by the band, the stop-motion extravaganza was crafted entirely using die-cut colored card stock. Band members meticulously designed each shape in Photoshop then used a cutting machine generally reserved for scrapbooking to cut them out before photographing them in real world settings. The final video consists of over 4,000 separate images.”

In the full post, The Octopus Project’s Josh Lambert answers a few questions about their artistic practice.


The Octopus Project Band Interview

Questions answered by Josh Lambert

How was the music video for “Whitby” conceptualized, and how did the decision come about to use so much geometry?

Initially, we wanted to do something in the vein of the 70’s Sesame Street letter/number animations — where there would be actual letters and numbers being animated in real world settings, i.e. on stairs, in a park, etc. Making a whole video with this idea sounded like a blast, but amazingly time consuming. Toto found a machine that’s generally used for scrapbooking (similar to a printer) that cuts paper into any shape you feed it. This totally saved us! We would design each “frame” in Photoshop/Illustrator, then feed it to the machine and we’d set each one up in front of the camera, take a photo, and move onto the next piece. Once we got the rhythm of things, it was pretty simple.

The decision to use so many geometric shapes was super easy — they just look awesome. We’re all drawn to that type of thing for whatever reason. We can’t get enough of it!


How long did this piece take?

We thought it would take a few days, but ended up taking about 2 weeks to shoot (the video consists of about 4,000 separate images), then another week to edit. We ended up editing in the van while on tour because we ran out of time at home.


We interviewed you a few years ago about your live-show set-up that included 8 projectors and 360 visuals. It seems you guys always grow your audio-visual creations from the ground up. Is there a specific ethos that governs this approach?

I think we’re always just so excited to tackle whatever crazy ideas we can think of, and that usually involves trying something we, or no one we know has tried before. So, we end up having to just figure things out from scratch. I would probably be bored otherwise.


What exciting things can we expect from you guys in the near future?

We just released a new record! We’re pretty darned excited about it! We’re heading out on tour in August for about 3 months, which will take us across the US and Europe. At shows, we’re running a multi-projector setup in the same realm of the 360 stuff, but it’s much more appropriate for a touring scenario — projecting onto amps and a couple of screens that Yvonne sewed together. And, of course, there are lots of geometric shapes on stage!


“Whitby” is the first single from the band’s fifth full-length, Fever Forms. You can also see the equally fascinating music video for their second single, “Sharpteeth”, on Vimeo. It too is directed by the band, and below, they have created stereoscopic trailers to pimp out their new album.


Written by
Vivian Hua 華婷婷

Vivian Hua 華婷婷 is a writer, filmmaker, and organizer. As the Executive Director of Northwest Film Forum in Seattle and Editor-in-Chief of the interdisciplinary arts publication, REDEFINE, much of her work unifies her metaphysical interests with her belief that art can positively transform the self and society. She regularly shares human-centered stories through her storytelling newsletter, RAMBLIN’ WITH VEE! In 2020, she will [hopefully] begin production on a comedic Asian-American series entitled Reckless Spirits.

Ask Vivian about MARSHMALLOWS, cuz she's gross... and being tips for being frugal while nomading!

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