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.

Ω

Written by
Vee Hua 華婷婷

Vee Hua 華婷婷 (they/them) is a writer, filmmaker, and organizer with semi-nomadic tendencies. Much of their work unifies their metaphysical interests with their belief that art can positively transform the self and society. They are the Editor-in-Chief of REDEFINE, Interim Managing Editor of South Seattle Emerald, and Co-Chair of the Seattle Arts Commission. They also previously served as the Executive Director of the interdisciplinary community hub, Northwest Film Forum, where they played a key role in making the space more welcoming and accessible for diverse audiences.

In 2017, Vee released the narrative short film, Searching Skies — which touches on Syrian refugee resettlement in the United States — and co-organized The Seventh Art Stand, a national film and civil rights discussion series against Islamophobia. 2022 sees the release of their next short film, Reckless Spirits, which is a metaphysical, multi-lingual POC buddy comedy for a bleak new era, in anticipation of a feature film.

Vee is passionate about cultural space, the environment, and finding ways to covertly and overtly disrupt oppressive structures. They also regularly share observational human stories through their storytelling newsletter, RAMBLIN’ WITH VEE!, and are pursuing a Master’s in Tribal Resource and Environmental Stewardship under the Native American Studies Department at the University of Minnesota.

View all articles
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Written by Vee Hua 華婷婷
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x