Mega-talented director, Joe Lynch, has a proven track record of working with high-end bands such as 311, Sugarcult, and Coal Chamber. Once the creator of the show, Uranium , he now has directed two videos for one of the top metal bands of the year, DevilDriver. From the fast-paced shots of “Nothing’s Wrong?” to the psychedelic 70’s look of “Hold Back the Day,” Lynch has ascended all expectation for the average metal video.
MVWire: What is the story behind the making of the first DevilDriver music video?
Joe Lynch: I met Dez Fafara, former vocalist of Coal Chamber, back in 2002. My last shoot before moving out to LA was going to be Coal chamber and I had been a fan for a couple of years. I told the bookers that if I was going to do the show, there were two bands they would have to get me: Static X and Coal Chamber. So, we did an interview with the latter. At the time, Coal Chamber was literally falling apart before my eyes. During the interview in New York City, they were openly fighting. Things were pretty volatile to begin with, and it was weird because here was a band I really loved, and they were fighting right in front of me. Since it was my last shoot, I might as well make something good out of it. I told Dez about the footage and asked if he would mind if I just cut something together. So, he told me to go ahead and do whatever. He wasn’t too enthused, you know, because I’m sure he got offers like that all the time. He gave me his number and told me that he was working on this other project, and if I wanted to be involved, that would be great. So, on the way to LA, I was literally on my laptop cutting the music video. Roadrunner liked it, though they had no clue what they’d use it for, since the album was kind of dead. I told them, “Do what you will with it.”
Meanwhile, Coal Chamber falls apart and I get a call from Dez within two weeks of my coming to LA. He says to come up to Santa Barbara, that he had a new band called DevilDriver, (named after the bells rung when the Devil is coming), and he wanted me to do something with them. Over the next six or seven months, they were recording, I would pop into the studio once in a while and shoot stills, and ended up making a photo-EPK. When it came time to Devildriver’s first video, Dez suggested to Roadrunner that I write on it, but they ended up going with Paul Brown, who had a bigger track record. About six months later, around April of last year, Dez calls me and says Roadrunner had given him an ultimatum: either he could put the money that he had left in his budget for Ozz Fest, and I’d do their music video on my own, or I could do a music video with Roadrunner and no Ozz Fest . Dez made the right decision to go with Ozz Fest , because without that exposure, there probably wouldn’t be a new album, and they wouldn’t be as strong as they are today. The fans saw that they were the real thing and not just some band riding on the success of a previous band.
Dez wanted to do the next video, even though he didn’t have the money. With DVX 100 cameras and 24P cameras, all I needed was the right concept or video strategy, and it could have a film look. The result was “Nothing’s Wrong?.” There’s probably 900 shots in the two minutes and forty seconds of that video. It was cutting so fast, it would make Michael Bay vomit! But that was the intensity that I wanted, plus I didn’t want to show the band in your typical light. So, in the video, you have the band just hanging out, joking around and making music. It was simple, effective, and it worked. We got the lights from the manager; I brought in the posters myself. The only thing I paid for was the gummy worms to keep everyone going. Roadrunner thought the video was awesome.
MVWire: “Hold Back the Day” was a great performance video with some nice effects. What was the idea behind the visuals?
JL: For “Hold Back the Day,” we wanted to do something different yet classic. Dez had shared in my belief that videos had been getting too dark and morbid. I like taking an idea and pushing it to places where a metal video would not go. Why not put the band into evil dead movies? Why not put the band back into the seventies? So, Dez and I bounced off ideas and we get to thinking about music videos we liked back in the day. We were thinking of Black Sabbath, Jimmy Hendrix and then it suddenly dawned on us that there was something you never saw in a metal video: color. Why haven’t we seen a lot of color?!? It would be great since he and Ozzy have a good personal friendship, so in a way, it would be a nice tip of the hat to the master. To my surprise, Roadrunner accepted the idea. I was skeptical because this was going to be a very effects-heavy video, and honestly didn’t have a lot of experience in that area.
I had a really good producer, who helped get Brass Knuckles involved, and had previously worked with Rory O’Donnell, an effects artist. So, I called him up, told him my idea, and asked how we could make it happen. In response, he formed Brainfart Digital , where he created all the digital side effects for the video. He was also on-hand at the shoot to supervise. We literally had eight hours of shooting altogether. It took probably four or five hours to pre-light, and we only had the warehouse until seven as a result of the meager budget. Thinking back on it now, we were about a month at post, and I’m not used to that at all. Because it was such a skeleton crew, everyone had a job to do; everyone felt like they were important and that they contributed to the video.
As we got into the video, the “retro” element was still missing. I thought it needed that “Pink Flloyd light show” kind of look. So, I finally stumbled upon Steve, who runs a company in San Francisco called Liquid Lights . I asked him if he would be interested in creating a tapestry of colors, shapes and lava-lamp effects. He agreed, and created four specific passes of lava-lamp effects and that alone made the outcome unbelievable. It was like we had really traveled back to the seventies!
My DP, Brett, suggested that we shoot HD on this one, over film or 24P DVX. Cost efficient-wise, the DVX would’ve been fine, but I couldn’t have the halo effect on everybody; I couldn’t have it looking like somebody in a garage did it.
The band needed to look like they were part of the environment shown on the green-screen behind them. Everytime the camera moved, the backgrounds had to be manipulated as well. Shooting the video on the HD Varicam was unbelievable because it enables you to make really awesome slow-motion effects. When you’re watching a band with that kind of energy, seeing them counteract and interplay in slow motion it’s a beautiful thing. I couldn’t believe this was in camera, instead of taking it to post and putting it through three or four different types of programs.
I cut the offline version myself, which was all of the performance on my Final Cut Pro system, and handed it off to Rory and the digital guys, and then I waited. Once Brainfart Digital and Liquid Lights were done with their elements, then we brought it into Brass Knuckles , who basically just cleaned it up. They added the movements in the background and basically keyed in all the shots. One thing I didn’t really take into account, since it was my first effects video, was how hard it was going to be for these guys to key out every single shot of the band. If you watch the video, the band is headbanging at a mile a minute and really just going all out. Brass Knuckles basically did a six-day job for us in three and at half the cost, it came out absolutely amazing. The video was on MTV in a week!
DevilDriver “Nothing’s Wrong?”
Director: Joe Lynch
Producer: Dez Fafara, Joe Lynch
DP: Joe Lynch, Briana Mackay, Chris Wicke
Editor: Joe Lynch
Production Design: DevilDriver
Comissioner: Lynda Kusnetz, Roadrunner
Production Company: mintflavored
DevilDriver “Hold Back The Day”
Director: Joe Lynch
Producer: Jason Faries
DP: Brett Juskalian
Editor: Joe Lynch
Additional Editing: Rory O’ Donnell
Production Design: Voislav Adronescu
FX: Brainfart Digital & liquidlights.com
Online Edit: Brass Knuckles
Comissioner: Dave Rath, Roadrunner
Production Company: mintflavored
Executive Producer: Joe Lynch