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Inside the Video: MSHVB's "Leaving Trails"

Last month, Seattle's Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band finally released its first video from last year's sprawling, feverish sophomore release, Where the Messengers Meet. The video for "Leaving Trails," like the album itself, is an unsettling kaleidoscope. As frontman Benjamin Verdoes slithers about reciting his lines, the rest of the band leers at and teases the camera, quite literally leaving trails of themselves behind as the song, grounded by the insistent drumming of Marshall Verdoes, weaves about. City Arts asked videographers Noel Paul and Stefan Moore, from That Go, how they went about creating the band's Lynchian backyard barbecue.

 

 

Mt St Helens Vietnam Band - Leaving Trails from thatgo on Vimeo.

 

How did you come to work with MSHVB?

They are friends of ours and we had wanted to work together for some time. This was the first opportunity we had.

 

Was the concept yours, or did the band bring it to you?

The concept was ours – they trusted us to come up with something that fit the track,  which was really nice.

 

If it was yours, what about that song made you think to create this video?

The song has a very circular feeling to it, so that's where the idea of the camera movement came from.

 

How in the world did you do this? I have a personal theory about a cylindrical green screen contraption?

We rented a chain-driven lazy susan and put the camera on it, then let it rotate as the band performed the song. We would measure a rough circle around the camera and tell the band to stay within that region so they'd stay in focus. We did this at several different focus points. After that we took the parts where the background and performance lined up and composited together the best bits. It was basically a really primitive motion-control rig, no green screen at all.

 

What's next for you guys?

We've both got solo projects going and we're continually pitching on new jobs together. Waiting patiently for springtime and BBQs.