Suns of Static: Mountain Man
Suns of Static (John Callahan, Bill Cassidy, Darrin McMillan, Jordan Bulhoes) are making noise with the very recent release of their new album ‘Fall’. Today, we’re featuring the video that accompanies one of the album’s lead singles titled Mountain Man. The band’s guitarist and doer of many other things, Bill Cassidy, walked us through how the video came together, and clears up any misconception some may have regarding similarities it has with a certain Hollywood blockbuster:
We shot the footage in December of 2015. With our album only in the pre-production stage, we synced to the demo version for audio. I wanted the video to be done in time for the album release, which we anticipated to take place sometime in March (we didn’t finish until July 2016). The snow hadn’t fallen yet and temperatures seemed relatively high, so we attempted to cram the whole shoot into one day, before the snow fell. It was a chilly and partly cloudy, with the temperature somewhere around zero degrees. I thought we should all wear dark t-shirts in the video (an idea the band reluctantly went along with) so we had our crew throwing warm coats over our shoulders as soon as we had each shot. We hustled from location to location. I had each shot planned and storyboarded, and Justin Holland (our friend and cameraman) was great at quickly setting up each shot as everyone half-listened to me yell out directions. By the time we were in the sand quarry, the cold wind was slicing through our t-shirts and most of the band had lost interest in making the music video. Then came the ‘rolling down the sand’ shots. When I originally scouted the area, the sand was nice and soft. But on the day, it was frozen. Like concrete. So we quickly kicked it loose enough for us to do a couple of takes. We didn’t plan any stunts or test the ground for rocks and sticks, metal etc… we just rolled. John smashed his face into the sand two times. The look on Jordan’s face in the last sand shot as he is standing up is his real frustration, not acting. Still, we carried on with the shots.. running around, playing our instruments briefly, more running. After the running scenes, Darrin sort of ‘checked out’ and just had a blank stare on his face, shivering in the cold. As we finished the last shot of the Mountain Man walking away, the sun dipped below the trees and snow flakes started to fall.
Steve Needham played the Mountain Man. We met him through a friend of a friend of a friend. I had a picture in my mind of how I wanted the mountain man to look. I had a few guys interested in doing it, but one of them mentioned Steve, saying “He actually IS a mountain man, and does martial arts..” When I heard that, I called him immediately. An aspiring stunt man and actor, Steve was very excited to be part of the project. He put together his own costume and braved the cold with us, running through the trees, rolling around, playing banjo.
In an odd coincidence, Leonardo DiCaprio’s The Revenant movie came out before we could finish the video. We had the idea first though… and we used butterflies, not bears.