The Horrors’ Sea Within A Sea by Douglas Hart
David Knight - 26th Mar 2009
To herald the welcome return and new musical direction of The Horrors, an epic video by a resurgent Douglas Hart.
Douglas uses old-school effects - involving magnets! - to give an edge to a classic Velvets-at-The Factory vibe, and turns a regular performance vid into a momentous eight-minute wig-out.
In fact it nods at lots of great rock and roll happenings through the ages - including to good old Jesus And Mary Chain and early Primal Scream, in which Douglas was a prime mover back in the day.
So what goes around, comes around (again) and the Horrors have discovered a kindred spirit. Douglas is doing their next one too.
Douglas Hart on making the video for The Horrors' Sea Within A Sea
"Having the luxury of meeting the band to talk over the idea, to look at photographs, to look at movies, did not happen on this job - when does it ever! I did have a phone conversation, and they said that they wanted something colourful and psychedelic - and that the song was eight minutes long!
"It's not uncommon for the 'P' word to be used in briefs from bands and record companies. The challenge becomes how to create something psychedelic without resorting to the cliché of trapping the band in a giant lava lamp.
"So instead of soft undefined swirls of colour we started with sharp graphic architectural images and both brightly coloured polka dots. I then ran these hard images through a regular, non-flat screen TV with a cathode ray tube.
"While I reshot the images for projection I ran magnets around the edge of the TV. This bends the actual cathode rays away from the screen and along the magnetic fields of the magnets... it also monkeys around with the colours. This was a trick used by very early video artists - before anyone invented machines to colourise and terrorise TV and video images.
"We also talked about seeing our favourite bands performing on the kind of shows that they didn't fit in, and how the contrast of a presenter who obviously hated the band added to the excitement of the performance - we were both big fans of Public Image Ltd on American Bandstand.
"I tried to find someone who looked like he could work on Sky News. So many people have said "I know that guys face...he's on..." and they name some show or network. He is, in fact, a friend's father.
"I'm glad that they didn't do a video edit, as it gave me a chance to build some dynamics. We could build up the rhythm of the back projections and the rhythm of the cut over the eight-minute duration. This video was a great example of using old production methods (the magnets on the TV) to give an aged look. It's a look that many bands want, especially since the birth of Youtube, because they search out their favourite bands and fall in love with the look and feel of the medium of the clips.
"The actual images we projected were easily created using Final Cut Pro and After Effects. So we combined the best of both worlds to create a non-lava lamp video that is proud to be associated with the 'P' word."
David Knight - 26th Mar 2009