Friday, 21 August 2009

Evile video shoot. Infected Nations. Shepperton Studios. Warehouse 7.

Smoke. Lot’s of smoke. And a cube. A really big fucking cube. A big cube big enough to fit lots of smoke and a thrash metal band. Welcome to the Evile video shoot for their upcoming single Infected Nations off the new album by the same name.

An early meet at Waterloo station finds me running the length of it to make the 9.42 am train with Talita, Evile’s press officer, Julie, their manager and Tom roadie to the metal massive. I just make the train as it pulls out and by the time we hit Shepperton, the middle of nowhere I have pretty much woken up. I can’t complain though, Evile have been at the studio since 8.30 am. Ouch.

Studio F, where all the magic making is happening is basically a massive empty warehouse. In the middle, a 15 ft Perspex box has been erected, and inside that…Evile. There are 4 huge lamps beaming down from above the cube, with a camera mounted on a trolley, and one on a crane that swings about while Evile pretend to play, so as to catch different angles from all sides of the cube.

There are about a dozen people working behind these cameras, the director, the assistant, runners, grips and god knows. All studiously nit picking and pouring over every detail. Muttering amongst themselves whilst squinting into their lenses, pointing and agreeing and moving stuff, taping stuff and then squinting again.

When we arrive, Ben’s drum kit is being assembled inside the cube. He is busy gaffa taping the symbols to deaden and muffle their sound, and a studio hand is putting dead skins on his drums. The rest of the band, Ol, Matt and Mike are wandering around aimlessly plucking away on their guitars and bass, chatting and generally killing time till they are called for again.

We catch up briefly and then go sit at the side, out of the way and get ready to watch as the guys all walk into the box before another studio hand tapes up the opening behind them. Why? For the smoke! A smoke machine pumps in a blast of smoke and within seconds you cannot see the band at all. As the smoke clears, silhouettes appear, holding guitars, a bass and sitting behind an almighty drum kit. There are shadows of the guys all distorted from the lighting and the whole set up looks badass mother fucking ninja sex cool! Already I can’t wait to see the final cut and the thing hasn’t even been made yet.

There are many stops and starts, as goes with video shoots. The band start, the filming starts and then…cut. Something gets shuffled and it’s back to square one. Within an hour we all know the lyrics and riffs and beat. See, this still isn’t any hardship though, the song rocks, and as I said, the video is proper dark.

At noon we start getting calls from extra’s who are beginning to turn up to play the role of ghostly ghouls that will eventually end up hurling themselves in to the box at the end of the video after much zombie walking and banging around the shop.

Originally, Evile had asked their friends to do the extra work and initially had the full quota, but as it got closer and closer to the day people inevitably end up dropping out due to other commitments and so come the morning of the shoot we were in dire need of a handful more.

We ended up with the required fifteen which included a couple of U.K thrash band Mutant, the guitarist from Juggern0rt, a whole bunch of London based friends from facebook, Tom the roadie and me.

Our outfits for the day were massive black cloaks with huge hoods that had been borrowed from a Harry Potter film and black tights over our faces. Sweet! We soon all get in to it after some initial trepidation and could be found fucking about like monsters and zombies for about an hour, then we could be found sitting in the hallway outside the studio looking piss bored.

The extra’s were awesome, a few of them had books but for the most part they all just chilled out chatting with each other, about metal mainly and were total soldiers to the cause. No complaining or winging, fucking troopers the lot of them.

We had taken a break for lunch and hit the canteen, proper school dinner grub for all. So everyone is chatting away, shovelling food down their throats when it suddenly becomes apparent that a couple of the guy’s friends have managed to pick up a random stray on the way to the studios and have no idea who he is but are quite sure that he is not entirely compus mentus. So, off I go to investigate. Ha.

After some awkward silences instigated on my part, he leaves. Turns out he just tagged along, when I asked him what he was supposed to be doing that day he replied “drinking”. WTF. Care in the community at it’s finest. Freaks and food over, it’s back to the film set darlings.

More of the same really eh, that’s video shoots for you, lots of hanging around doing nothing, feeling a tad nervous for your upcoming ghoul debut but equally trying not to fall into a deep staring in to space coma. Eventually, it’s the turn of the ghouls. The Evile massive have been filmed from every angle and the video is in need of some ghostly figures creeping around with a menacing manner about them.

The director calls in two, then four and then all of us, she directs us to move slowly like zombies towards the box of Evile and then mock thump and bang on the Perspex walls but not too hard or the whole thing will collapse! We do this a couple of times, then get to shove our heads through cling film which is imitating the Perspex walls of the box. I got to head butt my bit of cling film but it took too long to break through and I’m pretty sure I got relegated to the bench. Ouch. Goddamn stage fright.

Suffocating slowly in our tights, reminiscent of all great failed bank robbing head gear, and sweltering under the heavy cloaks, every one is sweating heavily and agreeing we feel mildly chuffed that the poor Harry Potter cast will be having to don these at some later date.

I, at this point had to bid my farewells and leave the shelter of Shepperton studios back to the reality and grime of London and you will never guess what I fucking missed….they got to ram the Perspex in! They got to charge it, ram it and collapse it! On to the band! HA! Fuckin A. cannot wait to see this video. It is going to be the stuff of legends for fucking sure.

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