Is there anything better in this world than a two-person horse costume? I know you didn’t even open your mouth to answer because you know that this is in fact a completely rhetorical question, as there is absolutely not anything better. No, not even nachos. Not even nachos with real cheese AND nacho cheese. Not EVEN nachos with real cheese AND nacho cheese placed atop a bed of french fries and fed to you individually by Michael Fassbender wearing only grey sweatpants. The new White Lung video for “In Your Home” features a home made two-person horse costume, ergo it is the best video ever. The intelligent concept and the fantastic animation and totally demented imagery add to the video of course, but really you had me hello, I am a two-person horse costume. (“Hello, I love you” I whispered back, softly).
I interviewed one half of the newly minted directorial duo, Justin Gradin (who also creates all the White Lung cover art), on the way to Taco Bell this morning about the two-person horse…I mean the video (his partner Ben Jacques was unavailable for 10 am Doritos tacos).
Justin, does heaven have a ghetto?
Justin Gradin: Of course it does. It’s like this girl in Vancouver who has a sign that says
TURN RIGHT ONTO WEST PICO BLVD*
…that says “Do people starve in heaven?” and she pretends to cry all the time.
Pretends to cry?
JG: Yeah she’s not even really crying.
Okay. So Justin…
You directed this new White Lung video with your friend Ben Jacques.
How did you guys come up with the idea?
IN A HALF A MILE TURN LEFT ONTO SOUTH LA BREA AVE
JG: I just had an idea about collective consciousness and traveling through it. And we both didn’t want just a straight up, rock n roll, band looking cool video. So we just went with the collective conscious thing. And uhh…that’s it. (Laughs)
Um. Okay. How does the two-person horse costume fit into the collective consciousness thing?
JG: Well, White Lung is trying to get to the point of consciousness where these other people are, and they’re sort of traveling through this void of time.
TURN LEFT ONTO SOUTH LA BREA AVE.
JG: And uhh they’re traveling down South La Brea Ave…They had to be traveling on something, and a two-person horse costume is aesthetically more pleasing than a real horse. And easier to deal with.
What makes it aesthetically more pleasing than a real horse?
JG: Because there’s two humans pretending to be a real horse. That’s way more beautiful than an actual horse.
*whispers* The video is in black and white right?
JG: *whispers* Yes.
Why did you guys choose to do the video in black and white?
JG: Just again the consciousness thing. It just removes it from reality a step. It makes it flow better.
Are you just making this shit up right now?
JG: Yeah, that’s how you answer questions. You just make shit up.
IN A HALF A MILE TURN RIGHT ONTO WEST WASHINGTON BLVD.
JG: We chose black and white honestly because it does remove you from reality a bit. And you’re talking about collective consciousness and all these people sort of being the same, and black and white just seems to suggest that more. Washington Blvd.
JG: Yeah, fuck color.
Okay. What is a music video from your youth that really impacted you?
JG: A music video?
No, a two-person horse costume. Yeah, a music video.
JG: One music video that I remember really liking as a kid was the Nirvana “Come As You Are” video because they reference the cover of the album in it. They have that baby in the video, which I always loved that they did that. We actually did that in this video. We took part of the Deep Fantasy cover and sort of chopped it up and animated it.
Mish Way’s mom?
JG: Yes, and the poodle.
JG: Yeah, it’s pretty cool.
This is the first music video you guys made together. Do you guys plan on making more?
Okay. I don’t really have any more questions.
IN 1.4 MILES TURN LEFT ONTO FAIRFAX BLVD.
JG: We have a cardboard sign that says “We Will Make Videos For Bands…For Money”.
Oh. Tell me some funny or interesting behind the scenes things about the video.
Like, you playing the drums.
JG: Oh. So funny story off the top of my head here, Yasi: One of the girls who was going to represent one of the band members didn’t show up, so we got a friend of another actor in this video to fill in as the drummer, but she said she couldn’t fake the drums at all. So we put a green dress over my head, and we did the…what do you call that?
I don’t know that there’s a name for it. Arms-behind-the-other-person-thing-guy?
JG: So yes I played her arms basically. It turned out looking pretty funny. You almost don’t even notice it though. Another funny thing is that the guy who was supposed to be the ass end of the horse didn’t show up because he probably realized he would be the ass end of the horse. The front end showed up, because all you have to do is look cool. No one wanted to be the ass end, so 45 min I had to be bent over with my face in another man’s ass, with my arms around his waist, while White Lung individually sat on my neck and I ran on the spot. Pretty, pretty interesting stuff.
JG: I don’t what else that happened that was funny. Oh, Christy (artist Christina Kenton who is featured in the video). Christy’s footage in that video (she’s the girl watching, who is witnessing the whole thing). When we were setting up the lights we realized everyone should come a bit later, but since she doesn’t have a cell phone, she was already on her way down. She was also really nervous about doing it, so she had started drinking pretty early. Also all her shots were at the end, so she was drinking all day. So by the time we filmed her, she was so drunk that “left” and “right” were starting to become an issue. At the end of the video she was wasted. All we said to her was smile and then don’t smile. And she did.
TURN LEFT ON FAIRFAX AVE.
JG: Okay. See ya.
*Because I am dedicated to accuracy in journalism, I have included the incredibly loud Google Maps directions that were booming over the entire interview, which really added to my personal understanding of “the collective consciousness” referenced throughout.
You can find White Lung on Facebook and Tumblr and on tour this fall (dates below). You can find Justin making art and tending to his ant circus. You can find that two-person horse costume in my room, where it will live forever after we are married in a small ceremony in Big Sur this fall.
White Lung Tour:
07-22 San Francisco, CA – Rickshaw Stop
07-23 Los Angeles, CA – Los Globos
07-25 Niigata, Japan – Fuji Rock Festival
09-02 Boston, MA – Great Scott
09-03 Brooklyn, NY – Glasslands
09-04 Washington, DC – DC9
09-06 Raleigh, NC – Hopscotch Festival
09-07 Gainesville, FL – The Atlantic *
09-08 Atlanta, GA – 529
09-09 Nashville, TN – The End
09-10 Chicago, IL – Subterranean
09-13 Hudson, NY – Basilica Soundscape
* with Merchandise