Exclusive: Behind the scenes of Big Whup’s newest video

L.A.’s Big Whup is most known for their quirky style, and their ability to mix jubilant and up beat indie-pop like music with darker more metaphorical lyrics, and that all comes across clearly in the song “Boniz Heart.”

Director Kate Gill stepped in to film the “Boniz Heart” video, and I was there to get the inside scoop.

“For this song I was inspired to incorporate a lot of movement,” says Gill, “And from there I thought, why not involve hula hoopers and dancers? Choreography really helps give life to the song visually.”

Using tons of over saturated color and lots of movement, Gill casts Big Whup as dictators from history, and incorporates the theme of a heart throughout the video. It’s as visually overwhelming as you’d expect.

Director Kate Gill explains the “Boniz Heart” video she shot for Los Angeles’ Big Whup:

How long have you been working on this video?
We started working on this video at the end of June, but of course most of the work was put in during the last two weeks of prepping before the shoot.

There were a lot of hula hoops in this video, where did you get them all? Haha, yes there were a lot of hula hoops! My Mom is a 1st grade teacher, and the PE teacher at her school was my PE teacher in elementary school. So luckily my Mom asked her if we could borrow the school’s hula hoops for the shoot and she said yes! You never know what your friends, family, and past relationships and experiences can lead to. Everyone involved with the video—and there were a lot of people—were all very generous and helpful to us, especially since we had virtually no budget.

Who was the best hula hooper in the band?
Hmmm, that’s tough. Everyone had their moments of brilliance. I saw Rand and Drew both have some fantastic sets of hooping.

Who was the worst?
Well no one was horrible, and we came up with easier and fun solutions—Geoff opted for some neck hula hooping, and Morgan did some nice arm hula work!

Do you hula hoop regularly?
I do hula hoop fairly regularly in our living room. My roommate started the idea of doing it for exercise, but my friend Matt and I are the ones who will hula hoop and sweat for over an hour straight without any breaks. It’s pretty funny. I like to do squats sometimes to get the legs going, and I also got some pretty sexy hula hoop skills. I think I should start hula hooping in public more!

I saw a weird mixture of costumes on this set. Please explain the theme of the movie in detail for me…
I have a really hard time explaining this video succinctly. Basically the song talks about this Leviathan character, dictating and controlling this other person’s life. The lyrics don’t tell a specific story and can be a metaphor for a lot of different situations people get into in life, whether talking about political leaders who rule as a dictator, or how your past can dictate and ruin your future, or a bad relationship where one person has the power and the other doesn’t.

We decided the band would be the dictator character, so we took historical figures and gave the costumes a little Big Whup twist.

When the band first arrives to the park, it’s like they arrived on fresh earth. The Hula Hoopers in the park and the ballerinas in the dance studio represent the people they decide to “colonize”or manipulate into their power. They give them hula hoops and helium balloons to get them in their favor. Since the song is so fun and jubilant sounding, we decided to use these kid like images throughout the video and have a lot of happy, seemingly innocent images, until the song changes musically. At the end the lyrics “Flesh will tear us apart, my only bone is my heart” are repeated and the band members destroy a heart shaped pinata, which is juxtaposition-ed next to the dancers and hula hoopers going crazy now that the dictators have left them.

The music video has both light and dark in it, comedy and drama, and really represents the bands jubilant sound mixed with their darker lyrics and meaning. I think in general people will laugh at this whimsical and surreal world we created for the video, but it can also be considered a satire of what happens when the wrong person has too much power over people.

How long have you  been directing videos?
I started directing in college, and my first big project was a short documentary that I shot in Paris of an avant garde dance company. Since then, I wanted to really try and develop my skills as a director. Every project teaches me something new about myself and how to direct effectively, and this time was no different. I feel like this music video was my most successful so far, so I hope the end product shows that!

Are there any other videos you’ve worked on that you’re proud of?
I am pretty proud of my thesis film for school called The 14th. It’s a comedy set on Valentine’s Day and has some dancing and other fun visual things in it as well. Of course there is a lot I would change about it now as time goes on, but being it was my first real attempt at a narrative (short) film, I think I did a great job.

What is your favorite music video by someone else right now?
I love anything and everything Michel Gondry, and my all time favorite of his is for Cibo Matto’s “Sugar Water.” It’s genius.  My favorite dance video is Justin Timberlake’s “My Love.” But probably the video that makes me wish I had made it, and I enjoy watching almost everyday is the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ “Heads Will Roll.” It is incredible and is beautiful, includes dance, but is also dark. And also there is lots of glitter. I love glitter.

To hear Big Whup’s “Boniz Heart” click here

Read an interview with Big Whup

View Big Whup’s Ultimate Naked videos

See Big Whup TONIGHT, at the Downtown L.A. Art walk:

When: Thursday, August 12, 2010 8:00 PM
Where: 6TH STREET WAREHOUSE (1269 E 6th street, Los Angeles CA 90013)

Presented by i can be cheery, How To Be a Microwave, Summer Fun Time Society and So Simple.

$5 at the door. Doors open at 8pm. SFTS photo booth. Tarot readings by Lord Akira. & VEGAN PIZZA by JEREMY!

9:00pm Summer Twins
9:45pm Slumber Beast
10:30pm Big Whup (Last show for two months!)
11:15pm Halloween Swim Team (EP Release!)
12:00am Social Studies
12:45am So Many Wizards

All Ages

To RSVP click here

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