Making of “Time vs. Money” Part 3 of 4, Shaun Clarke (Director)

Shaun Clarke, director of “Time vs. Money”, is someone we’ve worked with a few times now – first when he directed an interactive video for our song “How Does It Feel to Be in Love?” in 2011, and later when he worked as cinematographer on our short film “Every Little Thing You Love” in 2012.  Everything we’ve ever seen from Shaun is beautiful – he has an amazing eye, an admirable work ethic, and is an all around good dude.  He’s written some fantastic insights into the making of our newest video here, so let’s get to it:

I am a big fan of The Bynars, and “Time vs. Money” ranks up there with one my favorite songs that they have produced. I first chatted with Matt and Mike about a second collaboration back in November of 2013. While we sorted through a number of different ideas/concepts, I kept returning to the use of dance in this project. “Time vs. Money” is a dance song, and given my past work in making dance film, I felt that it could turn in to a successful project if I found the right dance collaborator.

Enter Viktor Plotnikov. I had met Viktor while working on another film project that featured his equally talented wife, Larissa. Over a cup of coffee, I asked Viktor if he would be interested in experimenting with me: choreographing and shooting a traditional ballet dance to The Bynars’ modern pop/dance/rock song. While he was skeptical at first, he decided to accept the challenge.

It took many months for Viktor, the dancers and my schedules to align in order to start production. Viktor spent a few days working with and prepping the dancers in Providence. He would send me video clips of each of the dance sequences as they came along. I appreciated that there were elements of traditional ballet, but also some funk-ed up, non-traditional sections too.

We travelled down to Providence on Wednesday, May 28th. I had only a loose concept of what I wanted to do at that point, and knew that we were going to have to improvise once we got the camera and dancers in the same room. Kirsten Evan and Alex Lantz (both members of Festival Ballet Providence) are fantastic dancers! Even for someone who still feels somewhat ignorant about the intricacies of dance, it was immediately clear from the videos that Viktor sent me, and their warm-up routines that they were talented, and would bring high level of energy and beauty to the choreography. They were also troopers throughout the production, performing the routines over and over again throughout the day.

Daniel Jacobs (camera operator) and Jean-Paul (JP) DiSciscio (lighting operator) were all- stars during the production. In order to keep the images dynamic, I insisted that the camera never be placed on a tripod, which meant that Daniel (who also graciously loaned his c300 for the shoot) was running all over the place to keep up with the dancers. For most of the piece, we also took a similar approach with the lights: instead of using lighting stands, JP would hold the lights and move with the dancers. This allowed not only the camera, but also the lights to interact with the dancers and choreography. Norman McLaren’s “Pas De Deux,” a masterpiece of dance film, heavily influenced the stark, backlit lighting approach.

Editing took me a couple of months. I would make a cut, then send it around to the crew and some trusted peers for notes. Qinshu Zuo took an evening to do the color correction on this piece, making the images really pop of the screen.

All of this work results in a minimalist piece: one camera, one studio, two dancers, two lights, black and white, light and shadow. The lighting renders the dancers almost entirely faceless. Instead, we are left to focus on the dance moves. And all of the elements (dance, camera, lighting, editing, music) combine to create something unique. At least that is my hope…

But, whether or not the piece is successful is for the audience to decide. I am just grateful that I once again got to collaborate with such talented group of artists!

– Shaun Clarke
Watch “Time vs. Money” music video.

Making of “Time vs. Money” Part 2 of 4, Kirsten Evans (Dancer)

Next on our “Making of Time vs. Money” series is Kirsten Evans, one of the dancers in the video.  She and Alex Lantz both work with Festival Ballet Providence, where we shot the video. Words that come to mind: talent, professionalism, enthusiasm, focus, stamina… they danced a full six hour session shooting this video, and brought their A game the entire time.  Kirsten has a blog called Setting the Barre where she chronicles her life as a dancer.  She posted a few entries about her experience shooting the “Time vs. Money” video.  You can read them all here – check out the excerpt below:

“What time is it?”

“You know what, I have absolutely no idea.  We’ve been in this black hole for so many hours…is it still Wednesday?”

-A and I at 3:30 pm 3 Wednesdays ago, volleying exhausted sentiments at the end of a 6-hour dance day.  The studio that we spend our lives in had been completely blacked out for our video shoot.  Dark curtains covered the big windows, the fluorescent lights were extinguished- there would be nothing for the strangely live dust bunnies to cling to but the fierce lights that spotted us, most times from behind.  With the free Seven Stars lunch (possibly the highlight of an already exceptionally interesting day) still fresh in our gracious mouths, A and I pondered the allusive hour, realized what a long time we had been working for, and exchanged an unplanned nod of pride towards each other.  We had one segment left to shoot, and it was, without a conference, our favorite.

Stepping back into the center of the studio, we took our positions for the “spinny sequence”, between a backpack-sized camera and one blinding spotlight.  As we danced our last section, the two objects moved on human legs, slowly circling around us, mimicking our revolution.  Now this is a real black hole, A and I agreed with our eyes.  Just keep spinning, one more take, and we might be released from it’s spiraling suction.

“That’s a wrap!”, the director led our celebratory applause before embarking on his round of handshakes and high fives.  It was the second week of summer and already we’d filmed a music video- talk about starting off the new season with a bang.

– Kirsten Evans
Watch “Time vs. Money” music video.
Follow Kirsten’s blog, Setting the Barre.

Making of “Time vs. Money” Part 1 of 4, Viktor Plotnikov (Choreographer)

We want to share the insights of the talented people who helped create our latest music video, “Time vs. Money.”  First up is choreographer Viktor Plotnikov, originally from the Ukraine, an award-winning choreographer who spent years performing with Boston Ballet and creating innovative choreography for a plethora of ballet productions, he is currently Resident Choreographer at Festival Ballet Providence, where we shot the video.
“This is the first time I’ve worked on a music video.  Introduced to me by Shaun Clarke, I loved the idea itself, but was a bit skeptical about ballet being in it.  In the end I totally went along with it because Shaun was so excited and sure about ballet looking great with the song.  The process was different from any other process I’ve done before.  I started with the dancers on several small sections which we called A, B, C, etc. (which is not my usual style of work) and later some derivatives such as A1 and 2 and so on. I had in mind to have all these segments able to fit in any part of the music on the time line.  When we were rehearsing, I filmed what was done and sent it to Shaun so he had an idea of what it looked like and how to film it best.
The girl in the tutu for me represents money, sort of extravagantly dressed, caring about her hair all the time and being beautiful for the sole reason of glamour.
And the guy is simply dressed, I would even say sporty – fast and agile, moving through everyday life, seeing no need to show off – representing time.”
– Viktor Plotnikov
Watch “Time vs. Money” music video.

New Music Video “Time vs. Money”

Our new music video “Time vs. Money” is here!

This video was directed by Shaun Clarke (who also directed our interactive video “How Does It Feel to Be in Love?” in 2011), and it features two extremely talented dancers, Kirsten Evans & Alex Lantz, with choreography by Viktor Plotnikov.  We could not be happier with how this video came out.  The amount of talent, time, effort, and love that went into creating this is truly amazing.  Thank you so much to everyone involved!

In the next few days, we’ll be doing a “Making of” series of posts on our website, with words from Shaun, Viktor, Kirsten and Matt on how this video and song came together, so keep an eye out.  We really hope you enjoy the video.  Please help us share it with everyone!  And be sure to download the song for free if you haven’t already.

Upcoming Shows, Video, & Facts!

JUNE SHOWS
We have some shows coming up that we’re really excited about.  First, we’re playing a FREE SHOW this Thursday 6/12 @ the Converse Store on Newbury Street in Boston, which starts @ 6pm.  Then we head to Toronto on 6/20 for our performance @ Cameron House as part of NXNE festival, and on 6/28 we’ll be at the Nashua River Brewers Festival @ Riverfront Park in Fitchburg, MA.  Here it is again, in list view:
6/12 @ Converse Store | Boston, MA (6pm, FREE!)
6/20 @ Cameron House | Toronto, ON (11pm, NXNE Festival)
6/28 @ Riverfront Park | Fitchburg, MA (2:30pm, Nashua River Brewers Festival)

UPCOMING VIDEO
We starting shooting a music video for our latest single “Time vs. Money.”  The video is directed by Shaun Clarke, who also directed our “How Does It Feel to Be in Love?” interactive video a while back.  Some beautiful stuff has been shot so far.  This video will be released sometime this summer.  Here are some behind-the-scenes photos and stills:

DID YOU KNOW?
… we were recently on the front page of the Sentinel & Enterprise
… “Dancing on a Dream” has been added to Boston City Hall’s welcome music playlist?
… we are working on another new single that we hope to release this summer?

Now you know!

New Single “Time vs. Money”

Available exclusively at our Bandcamp for pay-what-you-want download.
Donations will fund the recording & release of our next single.
The single also includes b-side “Dancing on a Dream (2014 Mix)”

We worked very hard on this over the past few months and we hope you enjoy it!  Thank you Converse Rubber Tracks for hooking us up with studio time back in February to record this.  We’re currently working on more new music, planning some other exciting projects (!),
and gearing up for our next live show: May 9th @ Middle East Upstairs in Cambridge, MA w/ Aloud, The Field Effect, and DJ Panda! Get your tickets here: http://tktwb.tw/1gT75aC

Thank you!

Matt, Mike, Andy

Recording!

We’ve been recording.  We’ve been interviewed (it’s a good one, check it out).  And we have some shows coming up in May/June.  Things are good.  How are you?

THANK YOU, 2013!

We just played our biggest show of the year to a sold out Bowery Ballroom in New York City with our pals The Front Bottoms.  What any amazing way to cap off a crazy 2013!
After starting the year off on an awkward note, saying goodbye to our friend and band mate Ben, we weren’t really sure what the future held.  But we decided to do what we knew we had to do: keep going! We added long-time friend Andy Szymcik to our line-up as a guitarist/vocalist, released our album “X vs. X” in September, received the best press we’ve ever received, and had the busiest fall on record in terms of tour dates.  So many of these 2013 tour dates were among our best shows ever, and we met some really amazing people along the way.
Thank you to everyone who made 2013 a special year!
We already have some exciting things planned for 2014, including releasing new music in the first half of the year… and playing lots more shows!  Until then…
Happy New Year & a 00111100 00110011 to y’all,
Matt, Mike, & Andy

New Single “Everyone Is Here” & Tour Dates

We hope you are enjoying our new album “X vs. X.”  Today we release another single from the album, a track called “Everyone Is Here.”  Please listen, enjoy, and share with friends. Download the track for free/pay-what-you-want here.



Next week we’re heading out for a 10-day run of tour dates bringing us to Canada and the Midwest!  Then, even more tour dates happening in November/December.  Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for photos and anecdotes from the road.  See you soon!
TOUR DATES
10/10 @ L’Escogriffe | Montreal, QC
10/11 @ The Garrison | Toronto, ON
10/12 @ The Happy Dog | Cleveland, OH
10/13 @ Township | Chicago, IL
10/14 @ The Uptowner | Milwaukee, WI
10/16 @ Foam | St. Louis, MO
10/17 @ Melody Inn | Indianapolis, IN
10/18 @ New Vintage | Louisville, KY
10/19 @ Tree Bar | Columbus, OH
11/5 @ WMBR, Live on Pipeline! | Cambridge, MA
11/8 @ Sully’s Pub | Hartford, CT
11/9 @ Parkside Lounge | New York, NY
11/15 @ 33 Golden | New London, CT
11/16 @ Tropicalia | Washington, DC
11/19 @ Middle East Upstairs | Cambridge, MA
11/23 @ Bayside Bowl | Portland, ME
12/21 @ Goodbar | Buffalo, NY
12/27 @ Bowery Ballroom | New York, NY

For more show details click here.

Thank you!

X vs. X & Tour Dates!

Our new album X vs. X is out today!  We worked very hard on these songs and are so excited to finally share them with you. Please share with friends and check out our tour dates below to see us live this fall.  We hope you enjoy it!

Purchase digital or CD via bandcamp // or digital via iTunes

TOUR DATES

9/24 @ Middle East Upstairs | Cambridge, MA
9/27 @ Lit Lounge | New York, NY
9/28 @ The Smiling Moose | Pittsburgh, PA
9/30 @ Northeastern University | Boston, MA
10/10 @ L’Escogriffe | Montreal, QC
10/11 @ The Garrison | Toronto, ON
10/12 @ The Happy Dog | Cleveland, OH
10/13 @ Township | Chicago, IL
10/14 @ The Uptowner | Milwaukee, WI
10/16 @ Foam | St. Louis, MO
10/17 @ Melody Inn | Indianapolis, IN
10/18 @ New Vintage | Louisville, KY
10/19 @ Tree Bar | Columbus, OH
11/5 @ WMBR, Live on Pipeline! | Cambridge, MA
11/8 @ Sully’s Pub | Hartford, CT
11/9 @ Parkside Lounge | New York, NY
11/15 @ 33 Golden | New London, CT
11/16 @ Tropicalia | Washington, DC
11/19 @ Middle East Upstairs | Cambridge, MA
11/23 @ Bayside Bowl | Portland, ME
12/21 @ Goodbar | Buffalo, NY
12/27 @ Bowery Ballroom | New York, NY

For more show details click here.

Thank you!