by Silke Hartung

Video Premiere – Violet Highway: Desire

by Silke Hartung

Video Premiere – Violet Highway: Desire

When Auckland blues-rock three-piece Violet Highway asked us to feature their debut video, we jumped on board straight away. The video depicts a night in the life of a lonely taxi driver (lead-vocalist Jacqui Munro) , tracking back and forth from her front seat isolation to the various characters and scenarios in the backseat.

Why did you decide you wanted to create a video and how did you fund it?

We knew we had a strong song with Desire – we love performing it – it’s a crowd favourite and we were pleased with the recording quality of it.

We realised in order to push it to a wider audience it was essential to get a music video made.

Our good friend and fan of the band Tom Augustine also really wanted a chance to direct a music video, having previously directed short films. He came up with the concept for Desire fairly early on, having already picked it as his favourite of our repertoire. He presented a proposal to a friend of his in the production company Chillbox Creative and luckily for us they were inspired enough by his concept and our song to agree to take it on board, funding most of it including gear.

We’ve been very lucky regarding money – we decided Jacqui’s personal car was convincing enough as a taxi, we got the venue (a massive tennis court) for free through Ant (Deane, bassist) ‘s mum’s work and the cast mainly through Tom’s acting friends whom we paid with pizza and sushi.

How did you know you wanted to work with Tom Augustine?

As mentioned Tom Augustine is an old friend of ours (fun fact Jacqui and Tom were in a “band” together aged 9 years old) who has just moved to Austin to pursue directing. We’d been really impressed with his prior work which includes “Long Time Coming” which won the Geoff Evans Memorial Prize at Auckland Uni and is now in contention for a few film festivals.

His skills combined with the fact that he knows us personally, understands and digs the song Desire made him the perfect candidate to direct. Luckily we managed to squeeze it in before he left the country.

It was all filmed in one take, right? Can you set the scene at the shoot for us, how did that work?

Yes it was indeed – an idea that Tom and Chillbox Creative came up with and we supported, despite knowing it was going to be a mission with a total of 14 actors quickly squeezing in and out of a not particularly large car!

Basically Jacqui’s car was set up in front of a green screen, with a camera on a dolly tracking back and forth from the front to the back seat. Chillbox Creative had already spent a night driving around town filming the backdrop.

We had one test shoot to get lighting, filters and positioning right, then filmed all the within-car footage in one night. There was a crew of 12, everything from an art director to a light swinger (to imitate the effect of passing street lights), a car jiggler (to imitate on road movements) and a car door opener / closer.

The actors lined up in order of appearance and would have to jump into the car whilst the camera was on Jacqui in the front seat, get into position, act their scene flawlessy, then jump out the door and allow the next actors to get in throught the other door whilst the camera was back on Jacqui.

Meanwhile Jacqui had to react to the scene that had just happened whilst looking at the flailing limbs of the next actor(s) getting into the car. It was crazy! But we finally got it all right in one take and finished the night around 4am.

What are your plans for the next little while? Anything we should keep our eyes open for?

We’ve recently been gigging once or twice a month and writing new material. Jacqui is lucky enough to bunk off to Europe now for three weeks but once she’s back we’ll continue to write and perform with the hopes to record our next EP as soon as possible. We also want to open up our audience wider than Auckland and are hoping to start gigging in other NZ towns with a tour on the cards.

If you like this track, check out the band’s self-titled debut EP from 2015 here.

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