Dead Register Release Music Video "Grave"
Updated: Mar 18, 2019
1. You just released your music video for the song ‘Grave’ off your most recent album “Fiber”. Who is that awesome lady that is the main character in the video?? HA HA. But no really, I know April has a background in film, so how did you come up with the ideas for the video, location, script, etc?
HA, indeed! If by “background in film,” you mean the couple semesters of film class I took in college almost two decades ago, then sure ;) I watch a lot of movies – does that count? Earlier in the year, our favorite thrift store buddy offered us an industrial laundry cart overflowing with mannequin torsos and heads for 25 bucks (what!?! YES). I tucked them away in my attic and brain, knowing I could do something badass with them at some point. When we started talking about Grave, I kept seeing these images of a woman slowly crawling through a field of dirt and mannequins. I needed a physically-aware actress who’d be into weird shenanigans. Insert: “that awesome lady that is the main character in the video.” Having access to her body and mind opened up a whole other level of creative freedom. I laugh evilly. Conceptually, I wanted to explore the nihilistic themes present in the song. I also felt that the character’s plane of existence should be slightly ambiguous. I started looking into methods of disassociating from reality such as time/motion effects and projections. I’m great at creating random abstract scenarios. There’s a perpetual hornets’ nest of visuals in my skull. Stories, not so much. I’d come up with a slew of scenes and imagery from which Chvasta and Justin helped me stitch into an actual story. Mr. Chv commanded that the band be playing in the video, so we tried to integrate ourselves into the story in a more interesting way. I wrote out the script from there. We chose locations largely based on what was close by/free/where we wouldn’t get murdered or arrested: random city corners, my front and back yards, spaces of some fine folks around town let us invade.
2. You did most of the filming and editing yourself, how long did the whole project take you, and are you relieved it’s finally done? How did you manage to get the rest of the project done, and who was involved?
Oh. Dear. I’ve been immersed in videoland for the last 3-4 months. I can’t even begin telling you how many hours I’ve worked on it. I look back and know for certain I’ve lost my mind. I set out to make something simple when we began kicking the idea around in the spring. The project ended up being the absolute opposite of simple. The fuel to get it done come from the facts that A) I’m a stubborn bitch, and B) I’ve got a band behind me that I can’t let down. More importantly, this would have never come to fruition if not for the insanely wonderful friends involved. It touches my cold black heart to have so much support for my outlandish endeavors. Everyone who was a part of it was there because they wanted to be. This was a no-budget video. We used the money from selling our couch to buy the cast and crew pizza. I should probably thank people in order of who had to deal with my bullshit the most: Mr. Chvasta the Assistant to Everything and more • Emily Harris our favorite slave and camera owner • Justin Griffith for conceptualizing, basement usage, and camera work • Nikki Staton Griffith for basement, makeup, set dressing • Kim Wyllie Calloway for makeup, set dressing, camera work • Mark Malek the shrouded iPod button-pusher • Chad Williams the handsome drumsmith • Kadria, Allison Trice, Eric Searle, Xak Daum, Dan Caycedo, Danny Ryann, Chad Widner, James Nichols, Christina Abdelnour, Ben Braunstein, and Lisa Clark: our wonderful “live” mannequins • Carolyn Baldwin and Dan Ranier for our album release show clips • The Spindle for their storefront • Ted for the use of Ted’s Church.
3. I remember a long time ago Chvasta asked me to help describe the sound of your band, and on your Facebook page you are self-described as “Post-Goth, Electro-gloom, Doom-Pop, Death-Rock, Gloom-gaze, Post-punk, Blackened-Pop, Atmospheric Metal” so is that your final answer? Ha Ha. What are some influences for you as a band musically?
SADNESS. I’m not thinking about other people’s music when I’m in Dead Reg. I’m just in DR mode. Admittedly there are certain facets of music I’m drawn to that I’m sure leak out subconsciously. I love the hell out of huge bass frequencies. Give me some hard-hitting old school drum n’ bass; give me some Author & Punisher. Any kind of ambient and/or harsh noise tends to resonate well with me. From the nasty, annoying and gritty, to the cicada chorus in the woods. Been digging on Ben Frost a lot lately. I keep putting on The Angelic Process lately too. The sonics and mood take me to a comfortable place. I love hearing beautiful tones and textures break and crumble apart. I love the feeling of playing Chopin on the piano. I’m a forlorn romanticist at heart.
Sound? We are the heaviest post-goth band that I’ve ever heard. We essentially have 2 bass player (synth/string), Avril also plays high, guitar-like textures, and I bounce between low bass and bassVI leads/textures. Mixed with some tastefully beats/tomwork from Chad, I’d say define our sound as “a deep, crushing wash of swirling emotion”. A handful of zines have described us as heavy post-punk with gothic tendencies. That makes sense for today.
4. So far you have released a music video for ‘Fiber’ and for ‘Grave’, any chance you might be releasing anymore?
I’m completely (Roy) batty. But not as sexy. My magic 8 ball answer is: it’s quite likely. I could always use more practice.
I’m game for a simple easy video that “ol’ amateurish me” could edit together. Perhaps even a “throwaway” “live” video that could be stitched together from live footage. Conversely, I’d love for some mastercraft surrealist to build us a stop motion video. That’d be tops.
5. The album has gotten some good recognition, but you guys don’t tour much. Any chance that you might hit the road at all?
YES. 2017 we intend to promote this album on the road, as much as humanly possible. We’re working now to get some some winter/spring dates in-place, and trying to fill in the gaps with some road warrior weekends in the meantime. Playing live is my most favorite thing to do. Folks need to see/feel us live.
6. So Chvasta and April, you are married, live together and play in a band together. How do manage to not kill one another?
You can’t kill the undead. Or do they call it post-dead these days? I can’t keep up. Well anyway, he does his best to not fuck with my pigeons, and I try not to mess with his rubber ducky. Sometimes shit goes down and it’s an explosive rainbow of dirty bath bubbles and wing feathers. Then you know it’s nap time. Or coffee time. We drink coffee together and bitch about everything, often. It keeps us in stasis.
We’ve been hanging out for 19 years, so…I truly don’t have to think about it. Our relationship is pretty much on autopilot, and I make time to check in from the haze every week or two to make sure we’re still close to the same page. The most difficult part is getting dressed. “Oh, look... we’re wearing the same band t-shirt/design today with the same black pants and shoes”. NO. Somebody’s got to change.
7. I personally can feel the heavy weight of sadness in pretty much ALL of the songs on “Fiber”, the kind of feeling any Goth kid sitting in a dark corner would silently love. Where does a lot of the inspiration come from for the lyrics? And how do you figure out how to match that up with the instrumental portions?
I read that as “…Goth kid sitting in a corner silently in love.” It’s not Friday, and you’re not in love. And those lyrics make my ears bleed.
The lyrics on Fiber touch mostly on relationships, love, and loss. Not necessarily romantic. Grave is about living life, looking back and wondering if things could have been done differently, doubt, hopefulness, hopelessness, uncertainty, generative-ness… An analysis of “the now”, rather the “post-now”?
When I write, I mostly compose the “base bass” line first, then add at least 3 layers. Those lines turn into bass leads, synth textures, and usually the vocal melody. This process seems to be how I create the most efficiently.
8. What is your fondest memory of filming this music video? What was the hardest part about it?
I’ll start with the hard stuff. One of them being that we had to do pre-production for the projection/TV shots, which meant filming and editing twice – once for the material that were to be played inside of the shots, and then again for the shots themselves. The process of editing was a giant smelly bear. But the biggest gut-wrencher for me was getting ready to film the sanctuary scenes. We had a dozen extras in addition to our full crew, and I needed to make sure our ship ran super tight and on schedule. I’m not into wasting people’s time. Seeing as how this is only my second video to date, it was a new experience to direct and manage that many bodies in addition to being in the video itself. Somehow… it totally worked! Crazy. And that makes those difficult scenes also the fondest memories. My pre-planning paid off. I was pleased with witnessing my schemes come to life.
My fondest memory was finishing the 5 hours of shooting with sweaty makeup covered mannequin volunteers… and the stack of pizzas being delivered immediately after the last take. PERFECT. That pizza was so incredibly delicious. I love pizza.
Also, my favorite part of the video was an homage to Silent Hill. It’s the only brief moment of color in the entire video. Let’s see if you see it. It’s ridiculous and hilarious. I love Silent Hill.
9. Any last words?
Thank you, Emily, for entertaining all our antics. Thank you for wanting to make some art with us and being a part of this collaboration. You have my deepest of appreciations.
We have awesome friends. I hope folks can take 7 straight minutes out of their day to experience this dandy DIY short film accompaniment to our “most hopeful” song, Grave.